Antonio Gates stayed with the Chargers this season after signing a two-year contract extension, and he should once again be considered a No. 1 Fantasy option in the majority of leagues. He'll be 36 in June, but Gates still continues to produce at a high level. He was suspended for the first four games in 2015 and also sat out Week 7 against Oakland with a knee injury, but he still finished with 56 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns on 84 targets. If you project that over 16 games, Gates would have had 81 catches for 916 yards and seven touchdowns, which makes him a Top 10 tight end in all formats. We hope he can hit those stats again, and he could benefit with Ladarius Green (Steelers) gone, even though Hunter Henry was added in the draft. Gates should be considered a No. 1 Fantasy tight end worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues.
The Chargers have agreed to terms on a two-year extension to keep Gates with the team, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Gates, who turns 36 in June, will thus return for a 14th season with the Chargers, after catching 56 passes for 630 yards and five TDs in 11 games in 2015. Meanwhile, it's unclear if fellow tight end Ladarius Green will return to the team, but in any case, when healthy, Gates remains an integral part of the team's passing offense and on the fantasy radar.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said he wants Gates to stick around in San Diego and eventually retire with the team, ESPN.com reports. Gates and Ladarius Green are both set to become unrestricted free agents, and while the latter seems likely to find a new home, it's pretty clear that the Chargers want to re-sign their future Hall of Famer. When healthy, Gates was easily the more productive player last season, posting a 56-630-5 receiving line in 11 games. There is some chance the team brings both tight ends back, as Gates has often handled limited snap counts when banged up the past few seasons.
Gates secured three of five targets for 34 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Broncos. The 13-year veteran closed out the season on a positive note, recording his first touchdown reception since Week 12 versus the Jaguars. After a fast start to a season that began in Week 5 due to his four-game suspension for violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy, Gates dealt with hip and knee injuries that appeared to slow down his 35-year-old body for a stretch of time. He rebounded nicely with 76-and-88-yard receiving efforts in Weeks 14 and 15, respectively, before finishing out the campaign in relatively quiet fashion. Over the final two contests, Gates secured five of seven targets for 45 yards, along with his aforementioned Week 17 touchdown. Despite the late-season downturn, the former Pro Bowler appeared to show enough at various points in the season to indicate that he can still serve as a borderline-No.1 tight end, or as the savvy veteran component of a two-tight end system. Whether his playing opportunity will come with the Chargers in 2016 is currently very much in the air, as Gates heads into the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
Gates had just two catches on two targets for 11 yards in Thursday's 23-20 overtime loss in Oakland. Dontrelle Inman, Danny Woodhead, and Malcom Floyd led the team in targets Thursday, and fellow tight end Ladarius Green even outpaced Gates with six targets. The Chargers will have a long break before the season finale next Sunday in Denver, so hopefully the veteran tight end can use that time to recharge and finish the season strong.
Gates secured six of nine targets for 88 yards in Sunday's 30-14 victory over the Dolphins. The veteran tight end came through on what could have well been the final home game for the Chargers in San Diego, posting his highest yardage total since tallying 95 yards against the Packers in Week 6. Gates also notched six receptions for the third straight week, and his 14.7 yards per catch represented his highest total in that category in 2015. The 13-year veteran figures to continue as Philip Rivers' top target over the final two games of the season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||@Kansas City Chiefs||5||5.67|
|4||10/02||New Orleans Saints||33||12.38|
|13||12/04||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11||6.50|
|17||01/01||Kansas City Chiefs||5||5.67|
|3 Year Avg||100||67||774||7||42||11.55||119|