Antonio Gates TE SD 6 Days

Gates caught three passes for 28 yards and a touchdown on three targets in Sunday's preseason game against the 49ers.

Meanwhile, Ladarius Green had no receptions on one target in the first half. Whether or not Green makes good on his potential this year, Gates is locked into a key role in the offense. A breakout by Green wouldn't preclude Gates from having a fine season of his own, as the Bolts figure to be one of the league's better passing teams, and they don't have an impressive group of wideouts. A good portion of Green's snaps will likely come with Gates also on the field, as was the case last season. That said, the 34-year-old Gates is a far cry from the 27-year-old version of himself.

Antonio Gates TE SD 23 Days

Despite the growth of Ladarius Green, Gates remains the starting tight end in San Diego and will likely still get the vast majority of the targets this season, especially in the red zone, ESPN.com reports.

Gates has been the most targeted receiver for the Chargers two of the last three seasons. The Bolts are smart to bring the young and dynamic Green more into the fold this year, and they will likely feature both tight ends on many occasions, but Gates is still the top dog. When it comes to total yards and more importantly, touchdown grabs, count on Gates still coming out on top for at least one more year barring injury of course.

Antonio Gates TE SD 1 Month

Antonio Gates (personal) rejoined the Chargers Wednesday.

Antonio Gates TE SD 2 Months

Antonio Gates is an excused absence at this week's mandatory minicamp.

Gates is believed to be dealing with a serious illness in his family, but it's not like the 11-year veteran needs these practices anyway. He's going to be the starting tight end once again despite slowing down drastically last season. Now at age 34 in a run-heavy scheme with Ladarius Green breathing down his neck, Gates is not a recommended TE1. Over the final eight games of last year (including playoffs), he averaged 3.0 catches for 27.8 yards and scored one touchdown.

Antonio Gates TE SD 8 Months

Antonio Gates managed two catches for 10 yards in San Diego's Divisional Round loss to Denver.

The Chargers got nothing going in the air in the first half, going into the break with one net yard passing. Gates finally caught a ball with under nine minutes left in the third quarter, gaining five yards. Gates slowed considerably down the stretch of his age-33 season, failing to top 50 yards in eight consecutive games to close out the year, including playoffs. Gates turns 34 in June. We suspect he'll return for 2014 at a $5 million base salary, but it's not guaranteed with Ladarius Green coming on. Gates certainly won't be a recommended re-draft fantasy pick.

Antonio Gates TE SD 8 Months

Antonio Gates was held to one reception for five yards in the Chargers' Wild Card round win over the Bengals.

As San Diego managed six first-half pass attempts compared to 20 runs, Gates was a non-factor with zero catches through two quarters. He got his lone reception early in the third quarter before San Diego milked its lead for the final two frames. Ladarius Green played a larger passing-game role in Sunday's victory, finishing with a 3-34-1 line. Gates has now been held to 50 receiving yards or fewer in seven straight games.

Antonio Gates TE SD 8 Months

Antonio Gates caught four balls for 31 yards and a touchdown in the Chargers' Week 17 win over the Chiefs.

Gates finishes the regular season with solid numbers across the board -- 77/872/4 -- but his production slowed rather dramatically down the stretch, and Gates turns 34 in June. With Ladarius Green emerging as a dangerous threat at tight end, Gates is not going to be an upside pick in 2014 re-draft leagues. He's becoming a better real-life player than he is in fantasy.

Antonio Gates TE SD 8 Months

Antonio Gates had three catches for 42 yards in Sunday's Week 16 win over the Raiders.

Gates was held out of the end-zone again the week and did all of his damage in the first two quarters. He wasn't even targeted in the second half, instead being used as a blocker for Ryan Mathews. Gates has just three touchdowns this season and hasn't topped 60 receiving yards since Week 10.

Antonio Gates TE SD 8 Months

Antonio Gates (hamstring) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Raiders.

Gates didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday for rest purposes. He's averaging just four catches for 38 yards over his last three games and will continue to be a low-end TE1 when San Diego takes on Oakland in Week 16.

Antonio Gates TE SD 9 Months6 Comments

Antonio Gates caught two passes for 23 yards in San Diego's Week 15 win over the Broncos.

Gates' catches were his only two looks on a night where the Bolts dialed up only 19 pass attempts. Both of Gates' grabs moved the chains on third down, but the veteran tight end has now cleared 6.2 fantasy points just once in his past nine games. Owners need to do better for the final week of the fantasy playoffs in Week 16.