Gates did not catch his only target in Sunday's 31-20 win over the Bills. Gates only played in 11 offensive snaps as the Chargers raced out to a substantial first half lead. The veteran tight end is expected to be used sparingly, but with a difficult matchup against the Rams next week, Gates could find himself on the field more as another receiving option.
Gates caught two of his three targets for 16 yards in Sunday's 38-28 loss to the Chiefs. It almost seemed like a foregone conclusion Gates would be a healthy inactive Week 1 as the veteran tight end registered just three days of practice prior to Sunday's contest, so it was a genuine surprise to see the 38-year-old not only play but participate in 40 percent of the team's snaps against the Chiefs. Part of that, however, was likely predicated on the game script, as the Chargers trailed throughout the majority of the second half, rendering starting tight end Virgil Green's strong suit, run blocking, inessential. Gates proved late last season that he can still post fantasy-relevant numbers despite his advanced age, but that fact is almost entirely predicated on the team's willingness to operate with a single tight end dominating playing time. So long as Gates and Green (44 snaps) continue to split the workload, neither player is worth starting in your fantasy lineup.
Gates is not among the Chargers' Week 1 inactives Sunday against the Chiefs. The fact that Gates only recently re-joined the Chargers could lead to him being eased into the mix, but even in a potentially limited role in Week 1, the 38-year-old tight end gives QB Philip Rivers a familiar red-zone weapon to look for.
Though Gates has just three days worth of practice to prepare for Sunday's season opener against the Chiefs, he hasn't ruled out playing in the contest, ESPN's Eric D. Williams reports. "I've always been optimistic about playing in a game, whether I was injured or not here -- it didn't matter," Gates said. "So, I think I'm well aware of the preparation that needs to be put in throughout the week to go play a game at the highest level possible. With that being said...it just depends on how I feel leading up to Sunday." Gates' late arrival to the mix could lead to him being eased in, but once he's deemed up to speed conditioning-wise, he figures to fill a key role in the Chargers offense, notably as a red-zone weapon for QB Philip Rivers. The team had been prepared to move on from the 38-year-old tight end, but a serious knee injury suffered by Hunter Henry in May paved the way for Gates' return.
Gates' role in Sunday's season opener against the Chiefs has yet to be determined, Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. "I don't think you can just throw a guy in the game -- I don't even know if he's going to play," coach Anthony Lynn said of the recently re-signed tight end. "I've got to see what type of shape he is in and go from there. Definitely, he would be on a pitch count." It's therefore not a big surprise that Virgil Green is listed ahead of Gates on the team's initial depth chart, but once the 38-year-old is in game shape, he figures to serve as a steady red-zone threat for QB Philip Rivers, with Hunter Henry having suffered a torn ACL in May.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/23||@Los Angeles Rams||28||10.00|
|4||09/30||San Francisco 49ers||22||8.00|
|15||12/14||@Kansas City Chiefs||31||14.00|
|3 Year Avg||76||46||498||5||28||10.83||79|