San Diego Chargers Team Profile 2016

San Diego Chargers Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

After starting out 2-2 in 2015, the Chargers went 2-10 for the remainder of the NFL season. The team had its worst season since 2003 with that 4–12 record. Mike McCoy became the head coach of the San Diego Chargers on January 15, 2013, and had winning seasons in 2013 and 2014.

2016 Team Outlook– The Chargers have had to watch the Denver Broncos win the AFC West Division for 5 years in a row now. QB Peyton Manning is about to announce his retirement, so every team has a shot at winning the division in 2016. With an aging quarterback, the Chargers will treat this year as the “must-win” season, before the rebuilding starts in 2017.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook–

QB– Philip Rivers 160 consecutive starts ranks 4th all-time among NFL quarterbacks. and for active QBs, only trails NYG QB Eli Manning. In early 2015, there were speculations that Rivers wanted out of San Diego, but he ultimately signed a four-year contract extension on Aug. 17, 2015 with the team that will keep him with the team through 2019. He was the #9 QB for 2015. UPDATE: Kellen Clemens re-signed 1-year, $1.065M deal with SD.

RBs– “Out” with RB Ryan Mathews (who was drafted by the Chargers in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Chargers-12th overall)…..and “In” with Melvin Gordon (who was drafted by the Chargers in the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft-15th overall.) In a crowded backfield now in Philadelphia, Matthews ended 2015 as the #33 overall running back with 685 total yards and 7 TDs. In an uncrowded backfiled, Gordon ended 2015 as the #51 overall running back with 833 total yards and 0 TDs. The Chargers fell to 30th and 31st ranked run offense, over the past two years. Gordon- Dec. 12th, 2015….”I’m going to be better. This whole team is going to be better. I can promise you that. This record will not be the same next year. I promise you.”

WRs– In 2015, Utter-Fantasy wrote…”the Chargers have no shortage of talented wide receivers on their roster. For fantasy owners, they may have too many WRs and TEs catching passes from QB Rivers.” Oh, what a difference a year can make! Injuries, free agency, old age and retirement has turned a crowded San Diego receiving corps into an almost empty one. Every tight end for the Chargers is headed for free agency, and the only dependable wide receiver San Diego has right now is Keenan Allen. UPDATE: former CLEV Brown Travis Benjamin signed a 4-year, $24M deal with SD.

TEs– TE Antonio Gates, TE Ladarius Green and TE David Johnson are all free agents. Gates will likely re-sign with San Diego, which is good, he should eventually retire a Charger. Gates is 36 years old however, and it’ll be tough for him to be productive for all 16 weeks in 2016. Ladarius Green hasn’t been the tight end San Diego had hoped he’d be, so they will likely let him walk. There are some interesting tight ends available in 2016 Free Agency, and NFL.com has the top 2 prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft as Hunter Henry TE, Arkansas and Nick Vannett TE, Ohio State. UPDATE: Antonio Gates re-signed a 2-year, $11M deal with SD and Ladarius Green signed a 4-year, $20M deal with PITT.

K– Nick Novak entered 2015 as the San Diego place kicker, but undrafted free agent Josh Lambo won the Chargers’ job in early September. Lambo ranked #19 at season’s end, hitting 26 of 32 field goal attempts. ( Novak went onto to kick for Houston, playing in 13 games)

DEF– San Diego was near the bottom as a defense in 2015 ( ranked #28) while Denver, who is their in AFC West Division, was #1. If San Diego wants to take advantage of a wide open division that is any team’s to win in 2016, they cannot be #32 vs the run….again. The San Diego defense needs a major Meg Ryan-ish face lift on their defensive line and in their secondary.

2015 San Diego Fantasy Surprises–
RB Melvin Gordon was high on most fantasy football owner’s draft board in the fall of 2015. The rookie running back was being drafted before Todd Gurley, Lamar Miller, Latavius Murray, Doug Martin and I could name a lot more. He ended the season with 0 touchdowns, and ended many fantasy football owner’s chances of winning a fantasy championship in 2015. The NFL suspended Chargers TE Antonio Gates for the 1st 4 games of the 2015 season, for violating the league’s PED policy. This was 6’6″ TE Ladarius Green’s opportunity to take over the position and score big for fantasy football owners. He did not.


2016 Free Agents that San Diego Needs to Address–
  TE Antonio Gates, TE Ladarius Green, TE/FB David Johnson, RT Joe Barksdale, SS Jahleel Addae (RFA), DE Ricardo Mathews, DE Kendall Reyes, OT Chris Hairston, FS Eric Weddle, CB Patrick Robinson

2016 NFL Draft– The immediate needs of San Diego are fixing their defense and help on their O-Line. The Chargers finished with the 25th overall defense in 2014 and got even worst in 2015. San Diego needs a safety and they will need 2 new corners, especially if they lose free agent CB Patrick Robinson. The Chargers will likely sign free agent wide out talent, but they could also address the position after first selecting players for their defense – SAN DIEGO’S 2015 DRAFT

Did You Know– The San Diego Chargers are one of just five NFL teams that  have never drafted a Heisman Trophy winner in the NFL Draft.

Team Home Page: www.chargers.com

All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Pittsburgh Steelers Team Profile 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Mike Tomlin became the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach on January 22, 2007, which will make 2016 his 10th year. Tomlin has never had a losing season with Pittsburgh. Despite key players suffering serious injuries, the Steelers had another winning season in 2015, with a 10-6 record. It wasn’t enough to top Cincinnati, who won the division with an even better record of 12-4.

2016 Team Outlook – Over the past 10 years, Baltimore has won the AFC North Division 3 times, Cincinnati has won it 3 times and Pittsburgh 4 times. The team not mentioned here is Cleveland. It’s been 29 years since the Browns won an NFL Division title ( 1989- and it was the AFC Central then.) Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have been taking turns winning the division since 2013…so with the Bengal’s title in 2015, the edge goes to Pittsburgh in 2016.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-

QB– The Steelers got into trouble in 2015, then same way the Dallas Cowboys did. When their star quarterback went down, there wasn’t a strong back up quarterback on the roster that could carry the team. Ben Roethlisberger only played in 12 games last season, and only 13 in 2012. He’s a big quarterback who often takes big hits. He has been increasingly prone to injury, but when healthy, Big Ben is a top 5 QB in the NFL.

RBs– For some fantasy football owners, Le’Veon Bell’s two game suspension was a blessing in disguise. (reduced by the NFL from a three-game suspension for being a first-time offender of league policy) Many avoided selecting LeVeon Bell in fantasy football drafts because of the suspension, and unfortunately for Bell, he suffered a season-ending torn MCL in the game vs Bengals. In Week 9, RB DeAngelo Williams became the #1 Waiver Wire pick up. –Week 9 Waiver Wire– ( (While Bell was on suspension Weeks 1 & 2, Williams proved he could fill in with 224 total yards and 3 TDs) Williams ended 2015 as the #4 RB in the NFL, and will return as Bell’s back up in 2016. ( On Mar. 1 st , 2016, LeVeon Bell had been cleared to begin running.)

WRs– Antonio Brown was drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. 21 wide receivers were selected in that draft, before Antonio Brown was selected by the Steelers with the 195th overall in the 6th round. 3 wide outs from the Pittsburgh Steelers ranked in the top 40 in 2015. Brown was #1, Martavis Bryant ranked #32 and Markus Wheaton was #40. (Antonio Brown was the #1 WR in 2014 as well) UPDATE: NFL suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant a minimum of one year for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

TEs– Heath Miller, who QB Ben Roethlisberger has called the best tight end in the NFL, has called it quits after 11 years in the NFL. On February 19, 2016, Miller announced his retirement from football and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jesse James, drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft, will likely be the starting tight end for Pittsburgh Week 1, 2016. UPDATE: Steelers sign former Charger TE Ladarius Green

K– Shaun Suisham missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. Suisham was replaced by Chris Boswell, who did well for Pittsburgh, converting 29-of-32 field goal attempts. His 90.6% field goal percentage was 7th best in the NFL. Both Suisham and Boswell will compete for the position in 2016.

DEF– In 2015, it was a whole lot easier to pass against Pittsburgh, than it was to run against them. Pittsburgh’s 2015 group of corners has one of the weakest in the NFL, and now depleted due to CB William Gay, CB Antwon Blake, and CB Brandon Boykin all free agents. The Steelers were 5th vs the run, and held teams to under 95 yards rushing on average per game.

2015 Pittsburgh Fantasy Surprises– If you grabbed RB DeAngelo Williams in  fantasy football drafts last fall, either as RB LeVeon Bell’s handcuff or simply as  a starter for the first 2 games of the season ( Bell was suspended) you were rewarded with the #4 running back for 2015. Williams has 1174 total yards and 11 TDs. Last year QB Roethlisberger was talking up WR Markus Wheaton as a player ready for a breakout season. Many fantasy football owners fed on this, and selected Wheaton over WR Bryant in their fantasy drafts. Bryant and Wheaton’s numbers were very close at season’s end, but Bryant played in 5 less games.

2016 Free Agents that Pittsburgh Needs to Address–  QB Bruce Gradkowski, QB Michael Vick, RB Jordan Todman, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, LT Kelvin Beachum, OG Ramon Foster, CB Brandon Boykin, NT Steve McLendon, CB William Gay, SS Will Allen, ILB Sean Spence, CB Antwon Blake, FS Robert Golden, DE Cam Thomas

2016 NFL Draft– Pittsburgh’s immediate needs are addressing most positions on defense, especially at cornerbacks and safety. The Steelers did not have a legit No. 1 corner going into 2015, and must get at least one for 2016. Protecting QB Roethlisberger starters with their O-Line and they have holes, thanks to free agency. The Steelers also need a quarterback to groom and back up Roethlisberger. PITTSBURGH’S 2015 DRAFT

Did You Know– Steelers’ fullback Rocky Bleier was drafted in 1968 and played his rookie season for the team before being drafted again, this time by the United State Government, and sent to Vietnam. After being wounded in Vietnam, Bleier had trouble even walking without pain yet came back to work his way into NFL shape and star for the Steelers through the 1980 season.

Team Home Page: www.steelers.com

All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS