NFL Fantasy football: Rivers a reliable option

Charging back: Among the players ready to rebound this season, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah believes Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers is “poised to have a huge year.”  Though Rivers posted his lowest QB rating and completion percentage since 2007 last season, the talent surrounding him bodes well for a successful 2012 campaign. Robert Meachem replaces Vincent Jackson as the Bolts’ deep-threat, while Eddie Royal provides a reliable slot option the team has lacked in recent years. Antonio Gates is reportedly healthier than he has been in some time, and Malcom Floyd will provide yet another option out wide. Even after a “down” year, Rivers finished 9th in 2011 among fantasy quarterbacks, his lowest total the last four years. His upside and track record make the eight-year veteran one of the better values, projected as a low-end No. 1 QB in fantasy drafts.

Bad with the good: According to Pro Football Focus, Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson ranks fourth among receivers in dropped catchable passes the last three seasons. The list also includes other boom-or-bust players like Randy Moss, Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Marshall. Despite the drawbacks to his game, the Cal product is still one of the more explosive receivers in the league. His lack of consistency and poor performance last year make him safest taken as a No. 2 or 3 WR in fantasy leagues. The team as a whole seems re-invigorated, so the potential for Jackson to perform better than his ADP is there.

A new day: Another player Daniel Jeremiah expects to bounce-back in 2012 is Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman. After finishing 2011 ranked 27th in scoring, the Bucs front-office brought in Vincent Jackson, Dallas Clark and drafted Doug Martin. Though the team will feature a “ground and pound” style offense under coach Greg Schiano, Freeman should benefit from not having to “force” passes. He will also be aided by having what many on the team consider to be one of the deepest wide receiving corps in the league. This will be a very important season for the fourth-year quarterback, and after reportedly dropping 20-pounds, few are doubting his commitment. He should still be considered a No. 2 QB in fantasy land, but with all the added weapons and the ability to score with his feet, Freeman could prove to be a steal in fantasy drafts.

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