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NFL Arizona Cardinals

Philip Rivers will still be a top quarterback in fantasy football

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers finished his 2011 season with 4,624 yards, 27 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. San Diego had offensive line problems which were fixed in the last six games of 2011 as Rivers had 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Some fantasy owners may be hesitant to select Rivers over other quarterbacks because Vincent Jackson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the off-season and he led San Diego in receiving yards as well as touchdown receptions last season.  This could be a mistake because Jackson missed 11 games during the 2010 season, and Rivers led the NFL with 4,710 passing yards.  Rivers also had 30 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions that season.

When Jackson played in 2010, he was hit or miss because he had three touchdowns in five games, but all of his touchdowns were in one game against the San Francisco 49ers, and Jackson did not catch a pass in a game against the Indianapolis Colts.  Legedu Naanee was Jackson’s primary replacement in 2010.  Naanee was on pace for 37 receptions, 594 yards and two touchdowns if he played the entire season.  Robert Meachem signed a four year deal over the off-season, and his worst season in terms of receptions and receiving yards when he got significant playing time happened last year as he caught 40 passes for 620 yards, but he also had six touchdowns.

Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd were first and second in receiving yards and touchdown receptions on San Diego’s roster in 2010. Gates missed six games while Floyd missed five to go along with Jackson’s 11, so San Diego’s first, second and third leaders in receiving yards from 2009 missed 22 games in 2010 and Rivers still led the league in passing yards.  Mike Tolbert was the primary running back for San Diego in 2010.  While he was tied for sixth in the NFL with 11 rushing touchdowns, he had 735 yards on four yards per rush attempt.  Ryan Mathews will be the primary running back in 2012 and he had 1,091 rushing yards on five yards per attempt in 2011. This should take more pressure away from Rivers than Tolbert did, which will make Rivers more dangerous than he was in his monster 2010 season.