Quarterbacks without receivers

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I was trying to work out a trade for San Diego star quarterback Philip Rivers the other day, and his current owner claimed he wasn't worried that "all" his receivers were hurt, that good quarterbacks find a way no matter who is at the other end of the pass.

And I wondered if that was true, or if losing one or two of your top receivers, or four in the case of Rivers (Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, Antonio Gates) should lower his fantasy value.

Can Rivers, who averaged 351.8 yards and 20.6 fantasy points over the first five weeks with only Jackson missing from his arsenal, rebound from his 249- yard, 11-point performance of Week 6 if he's throwing to Patrick Crayton, Craig Davis and tight end Randy McMichael?

Is it a coincidence that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hasn't thrown more than one touchdown in a game since Randy Moss was traded to Minnesota?

Was it also a coincidence that the week Andre Johnson was inactive, Matt Schaub went 16-for-29 for 192 yards?

I think not.

Will Peyton Manning's numbers suffer if Dallas Clark's wrist injury is season- ending? Probably not, because he still has three excellent receivers in Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon.

I think that the Philadelphia Eagles, who will lose DeSean Jackson for a few weeks due to a concussion, still have two good receivers in Jeremy Maclin and tight end Brent Celek to allow Kevin Kolb to post solid fantasy numbers and Aaron Rodgers has plenty of talent to absorb the loss of Jermichael Finley.

But back to the original question of whether Rivers can continue to perform at a high level without his first string receivers.

I believe the team will turn more towards their backfield as receivers as well as running the ball. Darren Sproles will be a much more active participant in the offense and will likely have decent fantasy value. But I also believe that you won't see Rivers crack the 300-yard mark until he gets at least two of the four receivers back in uniform.

The good news is that the Chargers face the Patriots, Tennessee and Houston in their next three games before a bye week and all three have shown a vulnerability versus the pass. Houston is ranked last in pass defense at 306.2 yards per game, while New England is ranked 29th and Tennessee is ranked 23rd.

While Rivers won't be able to carry your fantasy lineup for the next three weeks, he shouldn't hurt it either. Barring further injury, he and the Chargers should be ready to shine come fantasy playoff time.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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