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Los Angeles Chargers Fantasy Football Team Preview - QB, RB, WR, TE Outlooks

Joshua Palmer - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Welcome to my 2024 fantasy football preview for the Los Angeles Chargers as part of my team-by-team fantasy football outlooks series. We have moved on to our second team in the AFC West, the Los Angeles Chargers. Like our previously covered AFC West team, the Denver Broncos, the Chargers are another team in transition. While Denver is working with a new starting quarterback, the Chargers have a new coaching system. This offseason, they hired Jim Harbaugh as head coach, and he hired his long-term offensive coordinator, Greg Roman. These two employed one of the most run-heavy offenses with the San Francisco 49ers. Their run-heavy tendencies have continued at Michigan, Buffalo, and Baltimore. However, they've never had a quarterback quite like Justin Herbert.

The question becomes how much of their run-heavy system was implemented because it best fits their team's talents and how much is a take-lock approach. Will they be as committed to the running game with someone like Herbert? There's plenty of turnover at the running-back position with Austin Ekeler no longer on the team. That doesn't compare to the turnover they're experiencing at receiver and tight end, where all of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Gerald Everett have since moved on. How will all of these moves impact the fantasy football value of their current players? We'll be discussing that here.

There are so many places fantasy managers can find ADP rankings, all of which differ to some extent. I used the ADP from FantasyPros, which can be found here. If you want to invest in your fantasy football leagues, consider subscribing to our premium account. Our premium tools can help you dominate your fantasy leagues. If you'd like to purchase our premium tools at RotoBaller, use promo code "BOOM" at checkout for a 10% discount.

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Fantasy Football Quarterback Outlook

Justin Herbert: QB15, ADP 98

The fantasy community is concerned about some of the offseason moves the Chargers have made and those negatively affecting Herbert's fantasy value. The concerns are valid, too. After losing Mike Williams after the first three weeks of last season, Herbert averaged 18.3 PPG, which would've finished as QB13 last year. In 2022, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen missed 11 games combined, and Herbert finished as the QB16 with a 16.9 PPG. It's important to note that in those 29 games, Herbert averaged 39.2 passes per game.

During Jim Harbaugh's four-year coaching stint in San Francisco, the team averaged just 27.9 pass attempts per game. Now, granted, his quarterback was Colin Kaepernick, who has never been known as a great passer. It was also 10+ years ago, and the NFL has changed quite a bit since then. Harbaugh's coaching preferences aren't the only concern fantasy managers have.

Greg Roman was San Francisco's offensive coordinator during Harbaugh's four years as head coach with the 49ers. Roman also served as the offensive coordinator for the Bills from 2015-2016 and the Ravens from 2019-2022. These six teams averaged just 30.1 pass attempts per game. The pass attempt per game averages for Harbaugh and Roman are far from the 39.2 Herbert averaged from 2022-2023. That's just one part of the concerns.

The other major concern is his pass-catchers. He had Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, Gerald Everett, and Keenan Allen the past few seasons. Going into the 2024 season, Herbert will be downgrading to Gus Edwards, Josh Palmer, Quentin Johnston, Ladd McConkey, and Hayden Hurst. However, even though the passing volume will decrease, these two have a knack for scoring points.

  • 2011 (SF with Harbaugh as the HC and Roman as the OC) - 11th in points scored (Alex Smith as QB)
  • 2012 (SF, both) - 11th in points scored (Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick as QB)
  • 2013 (SF, both) - 11th in points scored (Colin Kaepernick as QB)
  • 2014 (SF, both) - 25th in points scored (Colin Kaepernick as QB)
  • 2015 (BUF, Roman as OC) - 12th in points scored (Tyrod Taylor as QB)
  • 2016 (BUF, Roman as OC) - 10th in points scored (Tyrod Taylor as QB)
  • 2019 (BAL, Roman as OC) - 1st in points scored (Lamar Jackson as QB)
  • 2020 (BAL, Roman as OC) - 7th in points scored (Lamar Jackson as QB)
  • 2021 (BAL, Roman as OC) - 17th in points scored (Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley as QB)
  • 2022 (BAL, Roman as OC) - 22nd in points scored (Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley as QB)

Despite these valid and reasonable concerns, Herbert has been one of the most prominent passers in the NFL since he was drafted. We discussed his fantasy ranking from Weeks 4-13 when working with just Allen, Everett, and Ekeler; he finished with a 19.8 PPG average from Weeks 1-13. That would've been QB5 last year. In 2021, he was the QB2; in 2020, he was the QB9.

In his first three seasons in the NFL, Herbert had thrown 14,089 yards and 94 touchdowns. Herbert is, without a doubt, one of the best passers in the NFL. Unfortunately, in the past two seasons, he's dealt with a revolving door at receiver and hasn't received the most support from his defense and special teams. Even his team's running game has been lackluster and has left the Chargers' entire identity essentially Herbert vs. the world.

This new-look Chargers team will have a more balanced offense, which will certainly decrease pass attempts but could also result in a major increase in efficiency. Over the past two seasons, Herbert has had a 3.9% touchdown rate and a 6.8 yards per attempt average.

However, all of the 49ers quarterbacks during Harbaugh and Roman's four seasons averaged 7.4 yards per attempt and a 4.6% touchdown rate. In Roman's four years in Baltimore, all quarterbacks combined for a 7.0 yards per attempt average and a 5.3% touchdown rate. Based on their results with less accomplished passers, we should expect Herbert's efficiency numbers to revert to his first two seasons in the NFL, when he averaged 7.4 yards per attempt and a 5.4% touchdown rate.

However, there is some risk involved with Herbert. His pass-catchers are all young and unaccomplished. In six seasons, Hayden Hurst has only once gone over 500 yards. In his three seasons in the league, Josh Palmer has never had more than 800 yards. Quentin Johnston is coming off one of the more disappointing rookie seasons in recent memory. D.J. Chark is washed. Ladd McConkey is a second-round rookie who never had more than 800 yards in his collegiate seasons.

On top of that group of pass-catchers, the entire offense will be learning a new system. A completely new system at that. Kellen Moore's 2023 offense was more of a spread offense with lots of motion. Harbaugh and Roman's offense will likely look completely different, and incorporating a new offense will take time. Getting comfortable in that new scheme takes even more time.

There are so many accomplished quarterbacks in the NFL. If we list them off, it's wild. Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, C.J. Stroud, Jordan Love, Joe Burrow, and Brock Purdy. Then we have the electric runners, Anthony Richardson and Jayden Daniels, for fantasy football. That's 12, so the conversation for Herbert starts at No. 13.

However, there's still Tua Tagovailoa, who has Mike McDaniel in the same system with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. He led the league in passing yards last season. There's Caleb Williams, a defined generational prospect with arguably three No. 1 receivers on his team in DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, and Rome Odunze. There's also Trevor Lawrence, who has arguably the best group of pass-catchers in his career and has some sneaky rushing ability. That encompasses our 13-17 range of passers. Having Herbert ranked in the middle of that group, considering his pass-catchers and coaching change, is fair.

Verdict: Fair Price on Justin Herbert

 

Fantasy Football Running Back Outlook

Gus Edwards: RB39, ADP 123
J.K. Dobbins: RB50, ADP 158
Kimani Vidal: RB52, ADP 165

Harbaugh and Roman are masters at implementing a strong running game. It's just who they are. It's what they've always done. The Chargers now employ two of the best young tackle duos in the NFL, and their offensive line is more suited to carry out their vision of moving the ball effectively and efficiently on the ground.

Harbaugh and Roman, as previously mentioned, were the head coach and offensive coordinator, respectively, of the 49ers from 2011-2014. Roman then became the offensive coordinator for the Bills from 2015-2016 and became the Ravens offensive coordinator from 2019-2022.

Year Team Rush Attempts Rushing Yards Rushing Touchdowns
2011 49ers 498 (3rd) 2,044 (8th) 14 (12th)
2012 49ers 492 (7th) 2,491 (4th) 17 (6th)
2013 49ers 505 (3rd) 2,201 (3rd) 18 (4th)
2014 49ers 470 (9th) 2,176 (4th) 10 (21st)
2015 Bills 509 (2nd) 2,432 (1st) 19 (1st)
2016 Bills 492 (2nd) 2,630 (1st) 29 (1st)
2019 Ravens 596 (1st) 3,296 (1st) 21 (1st)
2020 Ravens 555 (1st) 3,071 (1st) 24 (1st)
2021 Ravens 517 (3rd) 2,479 (3rd) 18 (9th)
2022 Ravens 526 (7th) 2,720 (2nd) 14 (20th)

It's fair to say some of those numbers are inflated by running quarterbacks (Kaepernick, Taylor, and Jackson), but even without the quarterbacks included, these numbers are incredibly high and encouraging. The problem for fantasy managers is determining which running back to trust.

Edwards has received 8.3-12.5 carries per game throughout his career, averaging 10.1 attempts per game. His career average equates to just 172 carries over 17 games. Even if his highest carry-per-game average came back in 2018, it would have amounted to just 213. He's never recorded 200 carries in a season, and he's never had more than 825 rushing yards. However, he has four seasons with a yards per carry average better than 5.0. The other concern for Edwards is that he has just 30 receptions in his five-year career and has never had more than 15 targets in a season.

Dobbins was a highly regarded prospect and put together an impressive rookie season, finishing with 925 scrimmage yards. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry and looked like one of the best pure runners in the league. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL, LCL, and hamstring meniscus in 2021. He returned in 2022 after missing the first two games but had a second knee surgery late that season to remove scar tissue. Then, in 2023, he tore his Achilles. These two injuries are devastating for a running back, and it's fair to wonder if he can take the beating that comes with playing running back.

Even if he shows he can do that, we still need to question what kind of player he is after those injuries. How much explosiveness did he lose? Like Edwards, Dobbins has been a virtual no-show in the passing game. He's averaged 1.46 targets per game, equating to just under 25 over 17 games. You could argue Dobbins is the most naturally talented back on the roster. The question is, is the talent still there due to his significant injuries?

Vidal is a sixth-round rookie out of Troy. He did, however, have the second-most rushing yards in the country last season. Among 80 running backs with at least 140 carries, Vidal ranked 27th in yards per carry, third in PFF rushing grade, 31st in yards after contact per attempt, second in broken tackles, first in carries to gain 10+ yards, and second in first downs.

Over his final two seasons at Troy, Vidal had 2,788 yards on 526 carries, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and scoring 24 touchdowns. Over four collegiate seasons, he had 112 targets, 91 receptions, and 693 receiving yards. He posted a 31.5% dominator rating, which was 73rd percentile. It's fair to question the level of competition he faced, but Vidal was incredibly efficient in college.

Verdict: Throw Darts on All Three (None of the prices are high enough that we should be completely out, and we should be wanting to invest in this ambiguous backfield with the history that Harbaugh and Roman have running the football.)

 

Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Outlook

Ladd McConkey: WR43, ADP 95
Joshua Palmer: WR58, ADP 135
Quentin Johnston: WR67, ADP 152

These prices are outrageous. Let's first start with Josh Palmer. Mike Williams tore his ACL in Week 3 and missed the rest of the season. Palmer missed Weeks 9-14 and Week 17, so he played 10 games last season. In seven of those, he operated as the No. 2 starter opposite Keenan Allen. Including Week 3, when Williams tore his ACL midway through the game, Palmer had 55 targets, 34 receptions, and 564 yards in those eight games.

If we extrapolate these per-game averages across 17 games, Palmer would have finished with 117 targets, 72 receptions, and 1,198 yards. Herbert also missed three of those seven games. He averaged 10.5 half-PPR PPG during these contests, which would have been the WR32, tied with Zay Flowers last season. Palmer had just one week in those eight contests where he finished lower than his current receiver ranking. He finished as a top-40 receiver in six out of eight games, which included two weeks where he finished as the WR11. For the remaining two weeks, he was WR78, which came in Week 8 in a game he left early and would miss Weeks 9-14 and be WR46 in Week 16.

In Weeks 3-18, Palmer had an 18.2% target share. In Weeks 15-18, when Allen was out of the lineup, Palmer's target share increased to 19.6%. That was without Herbert. If we anticipate the Chargers' pass attempts per game average dropping to 33, which would have ranked 22nd last season, and give Palmer a 20% target share, he will finish with 113 targets.

Given the lack of quality or known pass-catchers behind Palmer, he could flirt with a 22% target share. That would mean 123 targets. Palmer's career yards per target average is 7.8; with 123 targets, he'd finish with 963 yards. In 2023, he averaged 9.5 yards per target, equaling 1,169 yards on 123 targets. Palmer is unlikely to be a league winner, meaning a top-20 finish, but he could certainly be a top-36 receiver and a WR3, which would be a solid return on a WR58 investment.

Palmer's upside is somewhat capped because he's been in the league for three years and has yet to have a pace at a 1,000-yard season, although he did come close last year. He averaged 58.1 yards per season, which equates to 988 yards over 17 games. As stated above, it would be unwise to expect him to suddenly become a top-24 receiver. WR3 status is within reach, especially if McConkey stumbles as a rookie. However, McConkey possesses top-24 upside, making him worth the admission price. Due to the lackluster talent around him, there's very little standing between McConkey becoming Herbert's No. 1 target in the passing game this season.

Due to the talent at Georgia and its focus on the running game, his collegiate stats don't initially pop off the page. However, he has three straight seasons of a 2.00+ yards per route run average before finishing with an average of 3.26 in his final season. He's also displayed a knack for getting yards after the catch, averaging six or more yards after the catch per reception in all three seasons. While he didn't get the volume due to the offensive system and Brock Bowers, he was incredibly efficient with his opportunities.

While we may not know what kind of NFL player McConkey is, that unknown is a positive because it could be anything. It could mean he's the next Amon-Ra St. Brown. That's not likely, but the point is we cannot easily write off his upside, or lack thereof, as easily as we can Palmer's, which makes him an appealing target.

McConkey could potentially have a Jaylen Waddle-type rookie season. In his rookie season, Waddle was competing with Mike Gesicki and DeVante Parker. Josh Palmer and Quentin Johnston will fill those roles. Palmer and Gesicki are solid but nothing special. Parker and Johnston are the busts. Waddle had 140 targets, 104 receptions, and 1,015 yards that season. Like Waddle, McConkey is an incredible athlete, scoring a 9.34 on the RAS (relative athletic score), which included a 4.39 40-yard dash. McConkey is an easy buy.

That brings us to Johnston. After the disastrous rookie season, the fantasy community is largely out on Johnston despite being attached to Herbert and first-round draft capital. Considering just how poorly his rookie season went, that's understandable. With Allen, Williams, and Palmer under contract last year, Johnston's rookie season certainly looked like it was designed to be a redshirt season of sorts.

However, due to multiple injuries across the board for all three players, Johnston was thrust into a role he wasn't ready for, and it showed. He mustered just a 13.6% target rate and looked invisible on the field outside of a few poorly timed drops. He averaged just 0.92 yards per route run and 6.4 yards per target, ranking 89th and 83rd, respectively. Unfortunately, the tape and the data agree on just how bad Johnston was.

While it's generally bad practice to write off a first-rounder entirely based on their rookie season, you can make a strong argument in this case. However, the fact remains that Johnston was a former first-round pick for a reason. McConkey is a rookie. While solid and dependable, Palmer isn't great and isn't a No. 1 receiver. This depth chart has plenty of opportunities waiting, and his quarterback is still Justin Herbert. I'm not saying we should be buying all over the place, but his price is fair considering his draft capital, depth-chart opportunity, and quarterback.

Verdict: Buy Ladd McConkey and Joshua Palmer, Fair Price on Quentin Johnston

 

Fantasy Football Tight End Outlook

Hayden Hurst: TE38, ADP 254
Donald Parham Jr.: TE42, ADP 283
Will Dissly 

Both players are free, and there's a good reason for that -- you get what you pay for. In six seasons, Hurst has only once recorded more than 500 yards receiving. He's only once had more than three touchdowns. He's only caught 50 or more receptions twice. He's only finished with more than 40 targets twice. His target share has been below 10% in four seasons. The other two, Hurst had a 14.6% and 14.9% target share.

Hurst isn't very good. The numbers indicate that, but he is known for being a quality blocker. That skill set will keep him on the field in Harbaugh and Roman's offensive scheme. Being on the field, catching passes from Herbert, and competing for targets with an ambiguous group of pass-catchers is good. Hurst isn't going to be a top-12 tight end. He's not a top-15 tight end, but depending on how the touchdowns shake out, Hurst could be in that TE16-TE22 range. Given his current ADP, it's not the worst dart throw.

Parham is a 6-foot-8, 237-pound monster of a target. However, he has yet to have 50 targets, 30 catches, 300 yards, or five touchdowns in any season. He's never hit just one of those marks. He's almost exclusively been used as a pass-catching tight end, but as you can see from the numbers, he hasn't been effective in that role. He's a poor run- and pass-blocker, which is unlikely to jive with what Harbaugh and Roman plan on incorporating.

It's surprising to see Dissly, the lowest of the Chargers tight ends, drafted. He's younger than Hurst and way more well-rounded than Parham. However, his career production is just as poor as the other two. In six seasons, Dissly has never had more than 40 targets, 35 receptions, 300 yards, or five touchdowns. He's been almost as big of a zero in the passing game as Parham, but Dissly is one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. While Hurst lost playing time last year in Seattle, Dissly had been a constant thorn in Noah Fant's side in Seattle. His blocking kept him on the field, and fantasy managers should expect more of the same in 2024.

It shouldn't be surprising if Dissly leads Chargers tight ends in snaps played, leading to more routes run. At the end of the day, none of these tight ends will be fantasy-relevant outside of being a streamer-worthy, touchdown-or-bust play in a plus matchup. I'd rather roll the dice on Hurst and Dissly in that role just because of their expected playing time.

Verdict: Buy Hayden Hurst and Will Dissly, Sell Donald Parham Jr.

 

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Michael Florio's Football Show - Podcast RotoBaller Network

Florio's Football Show: Anthony Richardson Love with Lawrence Jackson!

This week Michael F. Florio is joined by Lawrence Jackson of NBC Sports. Lawrence explains why Anthony Richardson is his QB1, Chiefs receivers, expectations for Jayden Daniels and some of his favorite targets and sleepers. Lawrence also gives advice to first-time fantasy football players and new content creators. Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller Radio... Read More


Jordan Love - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Targets, NFL Injury News

Top Fantasy Football Dynasty Players For Each Team: NFC North

With NFL camps underway, it feels like the season is right around the corner. Personally, I've been eating up the highlights out of camp waiting for the season to start. Although it’s important to keep a level head, watching rookies and breakout candidates making spectacular uncontested catches is always fun. We have a lot of... Read More


Tank Dell - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Fantasy Football No. 3 Wide Receivers to Target in 2024 Drafts

In the dynamic world of fantasy football, finding hidden gems can be the key to a championship season. While top-tier wide receivers often dominate the headlines and early rounds of drafts, savvy fantasy managers know that the third wide receiver on a team's depth chart can offer league-winning value. These No. 3 wideouts frequently fly... Read More


Trevor Lawrence - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Jacksonville Jaguars Football Team Preview - QB, RB, WR, TE Outlooks

Welcome to my 2024 fantasy football preview for the Jacksonville Jaguars as part of my team-by-team fantasy football outlooks series. This new 32-part series will dissect each NFL team through a fantasy football lens. We'll look at each of the four primary positions—quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end—and identify each player's value at their... Read More


jaylen waddle fantasy football rankings news NFL DFS lineup picks

Five Fantasy Football Bold Predictions - 2024 Fantasy Football Outlook

As we gear up for the 2024 fantasy football season, it's time to make some fearless predictions. We're not talking about safe bets. We're diving into the realm of the bold, the brave, and the downright controversial. These are the kind of predictions that'll either make you look like a fantasy football savant or have... Read More


Arizona Cardinals 2024 NFL Schedule: Opponents, Game Times, TV Info for Regular and Preseason

Though last year's 4-13 record doesn't look very pretty on paper, it's probably fair to say that the Arizona Cardinals enter 2024 with some controlled optimism. Many analysts expected the Cardinals to be the NFL's worst team by a wide margin in 2023, as first-time head coach Jonathan Gannon took the reins of a changing... Read More


Dak Prescott - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings (QB)

    Fantasy Football Rankings by NFL Position ALL - QB - RB - WR - TE - DEF   Quarterback (QB) Rankings Articles On this page you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings for quarterbacks (QB) and the NFL season. All of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings analysis, advice and articles related to the quarterback position appear here. Our fantasy football rankings articles include analysis on numerous league formats... Read More