Rivers has spent his entire pro career with the Chargers and
quietly amassed some pretty good numbers for a quarterback with
such an ugly throwing motion – 59,271 yards, 397 touchdown
passes, 95.1 quarterback rating and a 123-101 career record. However,
2019 was a difficult and disappointing season for the former North
Carolina State star as the team had Super Bowl aspirations and
went 5-11 and he threw 20 interceptions (nine on deep throws)
against just 23 touchdowns, his fewest since 2007.
He’s known as a stand-up guy, a good character attribute,
but not a good physical attribute when you are behind a porous
Chargers’ offensive line. He’s about as mobile as
a sloth and getting slower which led to 66 sacks for the past
two season. Meanwhile, his arm strength continues to diminish
after 7,591 passing attempts. Hence, the team decided not to spend
the approximately $25 million required to bring him back for another
season and let him walk in free agency.
Rivers in Indianapolis
After 16 seasons with the Chargers, Rivers will join his new
team for the 2020 season - Indianapolis. However, it’s just
a one-year deal, so for Rivers, it’s amass wins for the
Colts or ride off slowly into the sunset.
The good news is that offsetting the quarterback’s lack
of mobility is he’ll be standing behind the best offensive
line he’s ever known. Quenton Nelson, Anthony Castonzo,
Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski and Braden Smith all played 16 games
and more than 1,000 snaps and ranked No. 3 in PFF’s offensive
line rankings for 2019. In addition, despite the short time he’ll
have to learn the offense due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rivers
goes into the season familiar with his head coach Frank Reich
(his OC in 2014 and 2015) and OC Nick Sirianni (his QB coach in
2014-15 and WR coach in 2016-17).
The Colts defense was pretty good last season until the calendar
turned to December yielding just over 20 points per game over
the first 11 contests yet their record was just 6-5 because the
offense struggled averaging 22 points per game. Jacoby Brissett
averaged only 196.1 yards per game in 2019 and that was not enough
to keep opposing defenses honest.
Reich and Sirianni will trust Rivers to throw more than they
did Brissett, though not deep down the field. Despite his diminishing
arm, he is still a bigger threat than Brissett. This combination
should produce more wins for the Colts, but it doesn’t bode
well for Rivers’ fantasy value.
In the two season under Reich in San Diego, Rivers threw almost
as much to his backs and tight ends as wideouts (656-567 or 53.7-46.3
ratio). That’s a bit too much dumping off to be a top-10
fantasy quarterback. By contrast, the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks
in 2019 posted a 59.4-40.6 percentage WR-to-TE/RB target ratio.
Add in the best run-blocking OL and Mack’s talent and Rivers
won’t be letting it fly as often as he has in the past (averaged
582 attempts the past five season).
Rivers has averaged between 20.4 and 22.4 FPts/G the past seven
seasons and he’s likely to continue at that level, but unfortunately
that isn’t top-10 production. The bottom line is that the
2020 edition of Rivers will not be a plug and play quarterback
and you will need another decent fantasy option to pick and choose
and when to sit and when to use Rivers.