San Diego turned a lot of heads last year in the competitive AFC West. Phillip Rivers had a bounce back year and Ryan Matthews finally came into his own. What does 2014 hold for the Chargers?
Star: Keenan Allen (WR)
13 Stats: 71 catches-1053 yards-8 TDs
Why He’s a Star: The rookie from Cal started the year off slowly, but when he was given a chance, he ran with it. While quickly becoming a WR1, he put up excellent numbers for a rookie receiver. I’d expect with a year under his belt and more chemistry with Rivers that his catches and yards will increase. He may not surpass 8 TDs though. He’s a borderline WR1.
Avoid: Antonio Gates (TE)
13 Stats: 77 catches-872 yards-4 TDs
Why to Avoid: Gates put up a lot of catches and yards for a TE in 2013 but struggled in the TD department. Phillip Rivers now has more options with the above-mentioned Allen and tight end counterpart Ladarius Green. Also, San Diego has turned more into a rushing team with Ryan Matthews and newly arrived Donald Brown. Gates is possibly a TE2 and nothing more.
Sleeper: Ladarius Green (TE)
Why He’s A Sleeper: Green only had 17 catches last year, but he turned those catches into 376 yards. He has tremendous big play potential and will start to see the field just as much or more than Antonio Gates. Green should be a TE2 with the potential some weeks to put up TE1 numbers.
IDP to Watch: Manti Te’o (LB)
13 Stats: 41 tackles-20 assists
Why: Te’o garnered more headlines last year for a fake girlfriend rather than his play. He struggled with some injuries and missed three games. When he did play, he put up pedestrian stats. However, the former Notre Dame product has another year in the Charger system and may see some nickel and dime work. If this is the case, Te’o will be a LB3 with the possibility of being a LB2.