FACT: Philip Rivers is drafted too late in virtually every Fantasy football draft, providing good value and supporting the late-QB strategy.
FACT: The last time Philip Rivers threw for fewer than 4,000 yards in a season, Sam Darnold recorded 22 solo tackles and two sacks – as a sophomore in high school. (2012, when Darnold also had a 102.8 passer rating, with 3 TDs and no INTs as a part-time QB.)
FACT: The second-to-last time Philip Rivers threw for fewer than 4,000 yards, Sam Darnold was in the fifth grade.
You don’t need to tell me that Philip Rivers is great and if you have him on your team this year, congrats on at least a winning record, if not top standing in your league.
Now go trade Philip Rivers. Need a reason to? Here are a few:
- He has a career high in passer rating: 115.1, and has never been higher than 105.5 with a career average 95.4 passer rating;
- His TD% (touchdown percentage among attempts) is 7.7 percent, also a career high, against a 5.3 career average, and 4.9 percent last season.
- He has already thrown more than half the touchdowns that he did last year (15 in 2018, 28 in 2017). Clearly, he can top and probably will top 28, but will the current pace continue?
- His completion percentage (68.6 percent) would be his second highest all-time (69.5 percent in 2013, which was at least 3.0 percentage points higher than any season in his career.)
But the biggest reason you need to move Philip Rivers and why he’s going to tumble back to form:
- He is the ONLY NFL QB who’s passer rating is actually higher under pressure than it is with no pressure. That’s an incredibly impressive feat through six weeks, as he has a 115.9 rating under pressure and 114.7 rating when clean. Among QBs making all their teams starts, Kirk Cousins owns the next highest rating under pressure, 92.6. (Side note, Josh Allen has a 14.9 rating under pressure.) Cousins, Rivers and Drew Brees are the only QBs with a 60+ percent completion rate under pressure.
Pro Football Focus rates the Chargers O-line as the 20th best through six weeks. Philip Rivers is going to continue to spend significant time under pressure and it will not end nearly as well as it has so far. While Tom Brady is showing that aging quarterbacks *can* get better, it’s not the case 95 percent of the time. Injury is a real possibility for Rivers. Aging QB + mediocre (bad) O-Line = Big Risk.
Philip Rivers is a wonderful player and he will continue to provide value at QB all season. But in weeks 7-17, I would bet that production would be as a QB2. Trade him as QB1 overall now and get a top player at a skill position in return.