San Diego Chargers
Week 1: at Kansas City
Week 2: Jacksonville
Week 3: at Seattle
Week 4: Arizona
Week 5: at Oakland
Week 6: at St. Louis
Week 7: New England
Week 8: Tennessee
Week 9: at Houston
Week 10: bye
Week 11: Denver
Week 12: at Indianapolis
Week 13: Oakland
Week 14: Kansas City
Week 15: San Francisco
Week 16: at Cincinnati
Week 17: at Denver
San Diego could start the season at 9-0 with New England as their first real test in week 7, but you have to like their chances at home against a team traveling across country. There could be a surprise in week one as KC is always a tough place to play, but shouldn’t be a match for a veteran led team in the Chargers. They’re only real tests in the second half of the season are a road games against Indy and Cincinnati that will have a playoff feel to them.
Quarterback: Philip Rivers has consistently been a top 5 fantasy QB. Don’t worry about Vincent Jackson holding out or the loss of LT. Rivers will continue to produce and is worth a late 2nd round pick in most fantasy drafts.
Running backs: Ryan Matthews is a stud rookie out of Fresno State. The Chargers were so high on this guy they traded up to get him and didn’t think twice about losing LT. With the weak schedule he’ll get plenty of action and will put up some solid numbers. He’s should be available in most drafts until the middle rounds and someone might even pull the trigger on this kid early. I think if you pick him up in the 8th-10th round you’ll have yourself quite a steal. If you’re keen on him then I’d follow him in the preseason, but also in mock drafts to see where he’s going. From there you’ll have a pretty good idea if you can wait or if you need to pick him up a round or two earlier.
Darren Sproles should be watched closely. If Matthews signs early and establishes himself as the starter then Sproles won't get enough touches to warrant a draft pick as his running production will go down this season. If Sproles looks to be the starter, then he's worth a spot on your roster, but he shouldn't be your #1 or #2 RB.
Wide Receivers: Vincent Jackson will be a #1 in pretty much every league. His contract will get worked out and he’ll have plenty of time to get ready for week 1.
Malcom Floyd will be a solid #3 WR or add good depth to your bench. He might not be drafted in some leagues, but by round 12 or 13 he’s a solid value pick.
Tight End: Antonio Gates is one of the few TE’s that is a star in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean you should draft him in the 3rd or even 4th round. If someone picks a TE in the 4th round (it happens) other owners get nervous and pull the trigger and by the 5th round you have 5 or 6 TEs picked even though you have a ton of holes on your roster and a ton of talent on the board. As much as I like Gates, he’s not someone I pick in round 4 or 5. Last year he was the 3rd best TE behind Clark and Davis. To put his point production into perspective, the 49ers Defense scored more points than Gates and no one was picking them in the 4th round. This is about value. He’s a great TE and a starter on every team, but just be patient and don’t pull the trigger too quickly on a guy that’s real value is in the 7th or 8th round.
Defense: The chargers D was pretty average last year. Not great, not horrible. Three of their first 4 picks in the draft this year were on the defensive side so you know they want to improve. Merriman hasn’t been the same since he’s had to play juice free and a suspect secondary leaves them open to the big play. They wouldn’t be my top choice, but are good enough to make them your starting D because they’ll have plenty of help with a weak opening schedule.
Kicker: Nate Kaeding led all kickers last year in fantasy points. If you have the first pick in the 16th round-he’s your man.