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NFL fantasy football: Philip Rivers’ comeback season is legit

Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers

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WEEK 5 OUTLOOK

Bye weeks: Vikings, Steelers, Buccaneers, Redskins.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Broncos at Cowboys: Cowboys QB Tony Romo, RB DeMarco Murray and WR Dez Bryant are among the top 10 at their positions.

GAME OF THE MEEK

Chiefs at Titans: Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles is the only must-start. The Titans turn to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

WR Josh Gordon, Browns: The Bills have allowed the most yards to wide receivers, an average of 234 per game.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew,
Jaguars:
This is MJD’s last stand. The Rams have allowed the most rushing yards to
running backs.

QB Michael Vick, Eagles: After two average games, he could have a big one against the Giants, who have allowed a league-high 10 touchdown passes.

PLAYERS OF THE MEEK

Dolphins wide receivers: Since allowing seven touchdown passes in Week 1, the Ravens have allowed one in the last three games.

QB Matt Schaub, Texans: In the last three games, the 49ers have allowed an average of 168 passing yards with two touchdowns.

RB DeAngelo Williams, Panthers: The Cardinals rank second in run defense and are allowing only three yards per carry.

WEEK 4 PICKS

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

WR Anquan Boldin: 5 catches, 90 yards, TD

Ravens running backs: Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce: 9 carries, 24 yards total

QB Tony Romo: 244 yards, 2 TDs

PLAYERS OF THE MEEK

WR Andre Johnson: 9-110

RB Chris Johnson: 15-21

QB Eli Manning: 217 yards, TD, INT

Updated: November 3, 2013 6:24AM



The bye weeks are here, and at some point you’re going to need a quarterback. Look no further than the Chargers’ Philip Rivers.

His re-emergence is hard to swallow for those who were burned by him the last two seasons, after his 4,710-yard, 30-touchdown season of 2010. But there are signs this is legit. Perhaps the most telling is Rivers’ 8.4 yards per attempt, which is near where it was during his glory days. It was 8.7 in 2010 and a career-high 8.8 in 2009. It was a career-low 6.8 last season.

The difference is how Rivers has reached that number. He’s softening defenses with underneath throws, then hitting them with a big play. That’s what happened Sunday against the Cowboys. Of Rivers’ first eight completions to tight end Antonio Gates, seven went for no longer than nine yards. The ninth went for 26 yards. The 10th was a
56-yard touchdown.

After regressing under Norv Turner, Rivers is flourishing under new coach Mike McCoy, who guided the Broncos’ fourth-ranked offense last season. McCoy’s offense has many of the same principles as Bears coach Marc Trestman’s system. Like Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Rivers has more freedom to audible, and his primary goal is to get rid of the ball quickly.

The supporting cast is a concern, but Rivers is making everyone look good with a completion percentage of 73.9, second in the league to Peyton Manning. His 11 touchdown passes are also second to Manning. His 1,199 passing yards are seventh. And after throwing 35 interceptions in the last two seasons, he has two this season.

But enough real numbers. Rivers is racking up fantasy numbers, too. He’s third overall and among quarterbacks in standard scoring (88 points) behind Manning and Drew Brees. He has three games with more than 25 points. And in the next three weeks, he’ll face subpar defenses in the Raiders and Jaguars.

After a Week 8 bye, he’ll face the even-worse Redskins.
(Week 9 is Manning’s bye, so plan ahead if you own him.) And because the Chargers’ defense has its own problems, Rivers might find himself in some shootouts.

Here’s the big question: If you have a top quarterback and Rivers as a backup, should you consider trading your starter to fill a need and hitch your wagon to Rivers?

Rivers has taken to McCoy’s offense. I’d suggest you take to Rivers.

Email: jagrest@suntimes.com

Twitter: @JeffreyA22



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