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2020 Los Angeles Chargers Fantasy Preview | Stats, Rankings, SOS and More

2019 Chargers Stats

Total Offense: 5,879 yards (10th)

Offensive Touchdowns: 36 (22nd)

Total Points: 376 (21st)

Rush Attempts: 366 (28th)

Run/Pass Split: Run 38% / Pass 62%

Projected Win Total

The Chargers over/under for wins is currently at 7.5 going into a season where there is a major franchise change. Phillip Rivers was the only quarterback that started a game last decade for the Chargers. Now that Rivers is in Indianapolis, the Chargers sit in an uncertain quarterback room. Preliminary reports are that veteran, Tyrod Taylor is the lead dog in the quarterback room. It will be interesting to see how 6th overall pick, Justin Herbert, will translate to the NFL and subsequently perform against a tough AFC West. With this major change, going .500 seems like a reasonable goal for Los Angeles, but on offensive talent alone, the Chargers may reach as high as ten wins.   

Chargers Fantasy Strength of Schedule 

SOS is measured by calculating the fantasy points allowed by each team’s opponents to determine who has the easiest and most difficult fantasy schedules (rank #1 has the easiest schedule).

QB: 12th

RB: 18th

WR: 14th

TE: 21st

Chargers Fantasy Passing Game

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Justin Herbert

WR: Keenan Allen, Joe Reed, Jason Moore

WR: Mike Williams, K.J Hill, Tyron Johnson

TE: Hunter Henry, Virgil Green

The Chargers have always been a team that has had a strong passing game. This is due in part to a decade of hall of fame quarterback play, but they regularly have had good receivers. Keenan Allen is entering his eighth season on the Chargers and barring injury is expected to perform at a Pro Bowl level. Allen has been a consistent 1,000 yard receiver and one of the best route runners in the NFL. Over the last three seasons, only DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas have caught more passes than Allen. With Allen being one of the premier receivers in the NFL, he should be a solid safety blanket for Taylor and Herbert. 

Mike Williams is a very intriguing receiver for the Chargers this season. Over the last three seasons, Williams has averaged 9.8 yards per target. With both Taylor and Herbert possessing a stronger arm than Rivers, it seems likely that Williams will be used to stretch the field and go up for jump balls. With Allen and Hunter Henry working the middle of the field, Williams should have opportunities to run deep on go and post routes. Think of Williams as a potential high end WR2. 

The third head of the three headed Chargers receiving monster is tight end, Hunter Henry. Henry will be able to be a major contributor catching crossing and curl routes in the middle of the field. Henry will also be extremely effective in the red zone as his 6-5, 250 lb frame is likely to pose a problem for many defenses. Ever since he was drafted, Henry has seemingly had a high potential among all NFL tight ends.

Tight ends have seen success with Taylor at QB, most notably Charles Clay. Clay recorded three seasons of over 500 yards with Taylor at Buffalo, in a receiving corps that included Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. Similar to Allen, if we see Herbert take over under center, Henry may be used as a safety blanket. Herbert has shown that he likes to throw to his tight ends, as he and tight end Jacob Breeland connected for 74 receptions in 4 seasons together at the University of Oregon. 

Other sleeper picks for the Chargers passing game are Joe Reed and Virgil Green. The Chargers drafted Reed in the 4th round of the 2020 draft. He could be a day one starter due in part to his versatility. Reed can line up on the outside, slot, and in the back field, as well as return kicks and punts. Virgil Green is a journeyman tight end, who may make an impact in the red zone. Green is primarily a blocking tight end, who is big enough to win a couple jump balls in the endzone.   

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Chargers Fantasy Running Game

RB: Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelly

2020 Offensive Line Rank: 30th

The Chargers seemed to believe in Austin Ekeler so much that they let Melvin Gordon go in the offseason. Ekeler faces almost no competition in the backfield, with Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelly behind him. Jackson may be used to spell Ekeler every now and then, but I don’t expect him to see a lot of work outside of that. Ekeler’s value as a rusher is going to come completely as a result of minimal competition.

Ekeler has been an effective rusher, but has made his fantasy money with his receiving skills. Ekeler is the best receiving back since Matt Forte and he has proved it consistently over the last couple of seasons. Going with the theme of safety blankets, Ekeler might be the most used safety blanket used for both Taylor and Herbert. I fully expect Ekeler to finish as a top 8 RB this year, and definitely has the potential to be a top 5 back, based on exceptional receiving abilities and opportunities as a workhorse back. 

As of recently, Justin Jackson has been getting first team reps with Ekeler over Joshua Kelly. Jackson’s opportunity as the number two back stems from him being on the Chargers and in the NFL longer than Kelly. Like most number two backs, behind workhorse backs, Jackson’s value will come as a handcuff to Ekeler. If you plan on drafting Ekeler, make sure that Jackson is on your radar as well.

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