Manning Week 11 is here. The San Diego Chargers will travel to Denver. Are the fantasy choices too easy?


Peyton Manning vs. Philip Rivers

Is this too easy? Rivers bad. Peyton good. 

Manning has reverted to his MVP form. He has made everyone better. For the season Manning has 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has a league-leading passer rating of 108. 

The Chargers' defense has formidable safeties. Chances are Quentin Jammer will be shadowing Demaryius Thomas. This will be bad news for Thomas, but just another day at the office for Manning. 

Are you high? This isn't even a question, play Manning.

Last week I questioned whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and your fantasy team would see good Rivers or bad Rivers. Rivers responded with 337 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. So the Buccaneers glimpsed bad Rivers. Your fantasy team benched good Rivers.

And hence is the problem with Rivers. He simply cannot be trusted. 

The Broncos' defense has 10 interceptions in nine games. They are the sixth best total defense in the NFL. This will make Rivers bad, really bad. For both the Chargers and your fantasy team.

Sit Rivers. 

Running Backs

Willis McGahee vs. Ryan Mathews

Mathews  was listed as questionable with a neck injury. His coach indicated the injury could impact how many snaps he sees during the game. 

Mathews has owned the Broncos. He has gone over 100 yards in three of the four meetings. And yet, for the season he averages 4.2 yards. He has only seen the end zone once. 

In the last four games the Broncos' defense has allowed one rushing touchdown.

Sit Mathews.

McGahee has come into some fumbling issues. He has also averaged 6.5 fantasy points in the last two games.

The Chargers' defense is allowing a miserly 82 yards per game. This is the lowest per game total in the NFL.

Sit McGahee

Wide Receivers

Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker vs. Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander

If you trust Manning, then you have to trust he will get the ball to somebody. As mentioned earlier, chances are Thomas will be jammed up by Jammer. But in the last meeting Decker was targeted five times more than Thomas. 

Thomas is high-risk, high-reward. One big play and your fantasy day could be made. 

Decker is slower and steadier. He is averaging 12.5 yards per catch. He has seen the end zone seven times this season. While he was relatively quiet last week versus the Carolina Panthers, don't count on that being a trend.

The only Denver wide receiver to see end zone last week was Brandon Stokley. Don't count on that being a trend.

Thomas or Decker is the classic Sophie's Choice, with less implications.

Choose wisely and play Decker.

The problem with the Chargers' wide receivers is that they are dependent on Rivers and he on them. A classic dysfunctional relationship. 

Champ Bailey will shut down Floyd. Step up Alexander. Last week in the loss to the Buccaneers he did just that. Alexander had five catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. And 80 yards came on one play. 

Sit Floyd. Play Alexander. 

Tight Ends

Antonio Gates vs. Joel Dreessen

If it is between Gates and Dreessen you are going with Gates. But tight ends being what they are this fantasy season, Dreessen may be serviceable. Dreessen has been an end zone target. He has four receiving touchdowns. And with Manning there is always a chance.

Gates on the other hand is rewarding the patient fantasy owners. Gates' has scored in two consecutive games. And for the best news, the Broncos have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. 

Play Gates. You have stuck with him this long, it is time he rewards you.


Ordinarily I do not endorse a defense, but this match-up has promise. Bad Rivers and tentative Mathews versus a team that loves turnovers and dislikes Rivers and the Chargers. 

If you need a defense, play Broncos.

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