If there was anything for Chargers fans to feel good about following Monday night's collapse (obviously there wasn't, not really, but let's just fake it), then the reemergence of Antonio Gates was that thing. Gates hauled in six balls on 10 targets, visiting the end zone twice and finishing with 81 receiving yards. And he nearly decapitated Denver's Mike Adams. He totaled 20.1 standard fantasy points in Week 6, which represents 58.4 percent of his year-to-date scoring. Better late than never, I suppose.
Gates has seen seven or more targets in every game he's played this season but one (Week 4, at KC), so we can't really blame his slow start on a lack of opportunities. He hasn't exactly faced a murderer's row of opposing defenses, either (Oak, Atl, KC, NO, Den). But we're talking about a player with a tremendous history, great rapport with his (very sketchy) quarterback, and the man is healthier than he's been in years (we think. It's the NFL, so you never know). Clearly his big game against the Broncos was a nice sign.
It would be nice if San Diego could put another competent receiver on the field other than Gates and Malcom Floyd, but Vincent Brown (ankle) isn't quite yet ready to practice, and he's not eligible to appear in a game until November 1. (You might wanna add Brown now, by the way. His services are needed, urgently). Gates will get a string of unintimidating defenses after the bye — Cle, KC, TB, Den, Bal, Cin — so his schedule shouldn't scare you off. If he continues to see 7-10 targets per week, the end-of-year numbers will look just fine.
Below, you'll find the full Week 6 target leader board, ready for immediate use...
• Rams receiver Brandon Gibson had a mostly excellent day in Week 6, making at least one highlight grab (a sideline one-hander). For however long Danny Amendola is sidelined, Gibson gets a value boost. St. Louis will likely need to throw all afternoon against Green Bay this week.
• Brian Hartline had his only targets negated by penalties on Sunday, but he was on the field. He just didn't make his way into the box score. After Miami's bye, he's facing a potential match-up with Antonio Cromartie, so you might want to find an alternative.
• Cedric Peerman drew an unexpectedly significant target total in Sunday's loss, and he'll no doubt see additional work in the weeks ahead, with Bernard Scott (knee) on IR. He's still little more than a desperation heave for deep-leaguers, however.
• Note the target and reception totals for Adrian Peterson in the Week 6 loss to Washington (8, 7). All-Day currently ranks sixth at his position in total targets, having caught 20 balls on 23 chances. He's on pace to set career highs in both looks and catches this season, becoming a greater PPR asset than most of us had expected.
• Donnie Avery isn't actually catching a huge percentage of the balls thrown his way, but he's getting plenty of opportunities (47 targets for the year, 12 on Sunday). With so many useful fantasy receivers on bye this week (Julio, Roddy, Bowe, Maclin, D-Jax, Decker, Demaryius, Floyd, Eddie [expletive] Royal), Avery will probably land higher in my ranks than anyone's comfortable with. Apologies in advance.