The Chargers are set to get their future Hall of Fame tight end back in week 5 in their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. Antonio Gates was suspended earlier in the Summer due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs. The news regarding the 13th year veteran took many by surprise.
San Diego has started the year 2-2 and will surely receive a boost on offense with the return of Gates. Last season he was 2nd on the team in receiving yards and led the team with 12 touchdown grabs, the most for him since 2004. Gates may not return the ability that he showcased last season as he is now 35 years of age, he may now start sliding downhill at this point in his career.
Regardless, he remains a big weapon for Philip Rivers and a reliable security blanket. The combination of Rivers and Gates have the most TD connections of any QB-TE tandem in NFL history.
With 99 career touchdown receptions, Gates needs just one more to get to 100. Watch for him to achieve that milestone in his season debut on Monday Night Football.
Antonio Gates returning is great news for fantasy owners who picked him up the past week or so in anticipation of his return. While I don’t think he’ll play at the level he did last season, he remains a tremendous redzone threat and should benefit as Rivers’ top option at that level of the field. With the underwhelming year it’s been for TEs as a whole, Gates is a must start in your TE slot.
If there’s any player that will suffer due to Gates’ return, it’s Ladarius Green. Green has been a starter for some fantasy owners and has been more than serviceable with the absence of Gates, but his stock plummets as he falls back to the #2 TE spot on the Chargers.