Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 4/3/12
It is tough to tell what the San Diego Chargers are doing with their franchise at this point therefore making it hard to predict how they will do in 2012.

The team is not looking too good. Phillip Rivers had an off year, injuries plagued the team and many expected that Head Coach Norv Turner would be fired.

Then moving into free agency they lost running back Mike Tolbert to the Carolina Panthers and No. 1 receiver Vincent Jackson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

To replace Jackson, the Chargers added former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem.

The 27-year-old was inked to a four-year deal worth just under $26 million, including $14 million in guaranteed money.

Similar to Jackson, Meachem’s yards per catch average is higher than most at over 16 yards per catch for his career.

Despite only starting in 25 games over his career, Meachem has caught 141 passes for 2,269 to go along with 23 touchdowns.

Meachem spent five seasons in a New Orleans offense that is loaded with wide receivers. Now that he is in San Diego he will have the opportunity to take over as the number one receiver and become a household name.

The changes made in both San Diego and New Orleans have not only impacted the two franchises, but the world of fantasy football.

After a subpar performance in 2011, Phillip Rivers’ fantasy stock was already spiraling downwards. To add on to that, Rivers lost his top receiver Vincent Jackson, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  

With Meachem replacing him, Rivers fantasy stock certainly will not be as high as it was going into 2011. This should be great news for people who like to focus on running backs and wide receivers early on as Rivers could wind up being a steal.

Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Brown will have their stock rise. Brown had a couple of solid games last season leading many to believe that he will get more targets. Floyd could wind up being taken a lot earlier than expected given that he will have a shot at being the No. 1 receiver.

Ryan Mathews stock will also rise, but not because of the addition of Robert Meachem. San Diego lost running back Mike Tolbert in free agency and will have to rely on Mathews who will see more carries, specifically around the goal line.

Antonio Gates is the one who benefits most from this when it comes to the fantasy football world. What Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were able to do last season made many fantasy owners aware of the importance of having a good tight end.

You could easily make the argument that Gates was already Phillip Rivers’ number one target, but with Jackson now gone there is no argument that Antonio Gates will be Rivers number on target and if he is healthy, will have a solid 2012 campaign.  

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