Antonio Gates TE SD 24 Days

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 6 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 6 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 6 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 7 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 7 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 7 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.

Antonio Gates TE SD 7 Months

Antonio Gates caught 4-of-6 targets for 50 yards in the Chargers' Week 14 win over the Giants.

Ladarius Green only saw one target and finished without a catch, so it wasn't as if another tight end was draining Gates' production. Philip Rivers simply spread the ball around, with Gates leading the team in targets and no Chargers pass catcher exceeding 59 yards. Gates will continue to be a low-end TE1 when San Diego takes on Denver in a potential Week 15 shootout.

Antonio Gates TE SD 7 Months2 Comments

Playing through a hamstring injury, Antonio Gates caught five passes for 41 yards in San Diego's Week 13 loss to the Bengals, also losing a fumble.

Gates lost another fumble, but it went down as a Philip Rivers interception because the ball never hit the ground. It was another dud of an afternoon for a player who hasn't posted more than 62 yards since Week 5. Gates is on pace for a solid 85/968/5 line, but that's largely due to the work he did in September. He's on the TE1 borderline for the fantasy playoffs.

Antonio Gates TE SD 7 Months

Antonio Gates (hamstring) is active for Week 13 against the Bengals.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Gates "doesn't know how long he can go." He's a dicey TE1 for Week 13, and best left benched if you have a viable alternative. Inactive for the Chargers are LT King Dunlap, WR Eddie Royal, OLB Jarrett Johnson, SS Brandon Taylor, NT Kwame Geathers, OT Willie Smith and QB Brad Sorenson.