Fantasy Football Retrospective: Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers has called it a career, so here's a look at what he did from a fantasy football angle.

Philip Rivers, Fantasy Football
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday morning, Philip Rivers announced his retirement after 17 NFL seasons-16 with the Chargers and one with the Colts. Now the debate can really start over whether he’s a Hall of Famer or not, with nice numbers but zero Super Bowl appearances in his career.

River is fifth all-time in passing yards (63,440) and passing touchdowns (421), with an epic consecutive start streak (240 in the regular season, 252 including the playoffs). But I’m shifting to Rivers’ legacy as a fantasy football quarterback.

Rivers waited two years behind Drew Brees after landing with the Chargers in the 2004 NFL Draft (technically via a trade involving Eli Manning), before stepping as the starter in 2006.

Starting there, here are Rivers’ fantasy finishes each year.

2006-QB8
2007-QB16
2008-QB3
2009-QB8
2010-QB5
2011-QB9
2012-QB21
2013-QB6
2014-QB12
2015-QB12
2016-QB14
2017-QB8
2018-QB11
2019-QB18
2020-QB20

Rivers finished right in line with his preseason fantasy ADP and on the lower-end of optimistic projections in 2020-as a QB2.

Philip Rivers’ Fantasy Legacy

Splitting his 14 seasons as the Chargers’ starter equally, Rivers was a top-10 fantasy quarterback five times in his first seven. In the last seven, he was a top-10 fantasy quarterback just twice (top-12 five times though).

Rivers was essentially a weekly fantasy starter in 10 of his 15 seasons as a starter. And he nearly finished there (less than two points away from top-12) one other time. If we widen out to two-quarterback formats or targeted use as a streaming option, Rivers was a relevant fantasy option each and every year he was a starter.

When or if he gains entrance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is a separate conversation. But Rivers will get a bust in the fantasy football Hall of Fame, with little or no waiting period required.