AFC West: Players who can be game changers

Join us as TTR Game Changers takes a tour through all 32 teams, identifying one player from every squad that I believe has a great chance of being a game changer in 2012.  To see the full series click here.

Kansas City Chiefs – Knowing the challenge of knee injuries from first-hand experience, I am concerned for the Chiefs this fall.  A large part of their future rests on the surgically repaired knees of Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki.  Furthermore, we don’t know how they will handle the rigors of  the season.  Perhaps it is overly optimistic to believe Jamaal will retain his trademark explosiveness that has led to a career rushing average of 6.1 yards per carry, but I think that even in a rotational work-share type of role, that Jamaal Charles will once again terrorize opposing defense, starting in 2012.San Diego Chargers –  I think that for a long time A.J. Smith has been given too much credit, and perhaps kept his job for too long.  The talent erosion in San Diego over the last five years has been awful, and the personnel decisions in the draft and free agency have primarily backfired on a once loaded team.  The Chargers are a team with a mix of the oft-injured and aging players, that appear to be on the decline.  That is why I think it is amazing that Philip Rivers gets so little credit for what he continues to do with this team.  Yes we saw him struggle last year, but he helped this team make a strong push at the end of the season, it was just too little too late.  I expect this team to continue to struggle as the defense will still be their Achilles heal.  They will still struggle on offense too, but Rivers will  carry this team on his shoulders yet again as one of the lone bright spots in San Diego. Read more…

San Diego Chargers: 2012 NFL preview

After a disappointing 2011 season where the San Diego Chargers finished 8-8 despite being loaded with talent and experience, the team is anxious for the 2012 season to begin. The AFC West will likely be a very competitive division as the Raiders continue to gel and the Broncos await the chance to experience life with Peyton Manning at the helm, so the Chargers are wise to get their affairs in order.

The Chargers were able to add a small fleet of big bodies in April’s NFL Draft, led by outside linebacker Melvin Ingram. Coach Norv Turner will return for his sixth season at the helm, and the vast legion of Bolts fans in Southern California and elsewhere are expecting at least 10 wins.

Veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers and perennial Pro-Bowler Antonio Gates will power an offense that has been able to put points on the board consistently since the former arrived in San Diego in 2004. It is true that Gates has been slowed by injury in the past few years, but he recently said that he is back to full form. His route running skills and incredible knack for finding the holes in any defensive formation have made him the favorite target of Rivers in past years, and the upcoming one should be no different.

Read more here…

Fantasy Football value picks for the 2012 season

Jamaal CharlesToday we’re taking a look at eleven players who, I believe, are currently being undervalued in the marketplace. Should these following stock prices hold steady until August, I’m betting that you’ll find some excellent draft day value in a few of the names listed below.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers: Since 2008, only Drew Brees has amassed more passing yards (19,553) than Philip Rivers (17,597). But a 20-interception campaign in 2011 that contributed to the San Diego signal-caller’s worst QB rating in five seasons will have many owners wondering if Rivers is capable of rolling up the stat lines necessary for a championship run. I’m willing to gamble that last season was more of a fluke than an emerging trend.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Remember this guy? Charles wrecked his knee in Week 2 last season and was lost for the year, which will have his 2012 draft stock lower than a Jamaican in a limbo contest. Peyton Hillis was added to the depth chart and dual-threat back Dexter McCluster is entering his third NFL campaign, but you can’t afford to sleep on the guy who came 65 total yards short of hitting the magical 2,000-yard mark in 2011.