The Los Angeles Chargers certainly have the talent to explode, but can they actually piece it together? We can draft them all on Underdog Fantasy with promo code 'UNDERBLOG' to match your first deposit up to $100. We have the biggest fantasy football tournament of all time ($15M) right now.
It was a tiring 2022 season with the same problems appearing again. The Chargers were 20th in injury luck. They were 31st in average depth of throw. They were 30th in big play runs. And were 27th in rushing EPA allowed. The offensive issues could be solved this year, however. Injury luck can swing in their favor, and more importantly, new OC Kellen Moore will probably tap into more downfield passes to maximize Justin Herbert's wicked arm talent. If Moore is in fact a big schematic upgrade, then this offense has elite potential. They were top-5 in both neutral pace and neutral pass rate.
3-WR Sets (8th in snaps, 69% of snaps)
WR: Mike Williams --> Jalen Guyton
WR: Quentin Johnston (R) --> Joshua Palmer
SLOT: Keenan Allen --> Derius Davis (R)
TE: Gerald Everett --> Donald Parham
2-WR Sets (18th in snaps, 25% of snaps)
WR: Keenan Allen --> Joshua Palmer
WR: Mike Williams --> Quentin Johnston (R)
SLOT TE: Gerald Everett --> Tre McKitty
INLINE TE: Donald Parham --> Hunter Kampmoyer
RB Usage (2nd in expected half PPR)
GOAL LINE: Austin Ekeler --> Joshua Kelley
PASSING DOWN: Austin Ekeler --> Joshua Kelley
Offensive Line (top 10 unit)
LT: Rashawn Slater (stud returning from injury)
LG: Zion Johnson (2022 1st-round returner)
C: Corey Linsley (good returning starter)
RG: Jamaree Salyer (good season at LT)
RT: Trey Pipkens (mid returning starter)
Justin Herbert only had his top-2 WRs on the field together on 22% of his snaps last year per 4for4's John Daigle. He also only had his stud LT Rashawn Slater for 14% snaps. Throw in the serious rib injury that cut his rushing production in half, and we have a down fantasy season (QB18 per game) on a down 6.8 yards per pass attempt. Things will play out better this year, similarly to what happened in 2021 when he had four 30+ fantasy points games as the QB3 per game. Herbert is priced in between right now, leaving some upside on the table. More deep shots will increase the YPA and his mediocre career 4.8% TD rate. He's my favorite +1000 or longer MVP pick.
31-year-old Keenan Allen turned back the clock once healthy last year. After 6-straight seasons of a lowering yards per route run, he spiked back to 2.1 YPRR last year. He averaged 14.1 expected half PPR points in healthy games (WR6) and produced as the WR12 in fantasy points over replacement per game. Age, injury, and target competition concerns are valid, but so is Allen's history of beating ADP. He can afford a decline in yards after catch at a Round 4 cost. ... Mike Williams struggled, finishing as the WR22 per game while also missing time. His aDOT dropped to 12.7 yards downfield as defense's played more two-high shells, but the real issue was target volume. In their four games together (Weeks 14-17), Allen had a 29% target share to Big Mike's 19%. In theory, Williams would benefit from the playcalling change the most, but he needs to be healthy for it to matter. He's not at 100% yet from last year's back injury, an issue he's faced for a half decade. Williams was the WR9 in 2021. ... 1st-round rookie Quentin Johnston competes with Joshua Palmer (career 1.2 YPRR) for No. 3 duties. Our video on Johnston is here, but in short, I view him as an incomplete role player with some versatility. He'll be a low-volume deep threat in this offense, as they maximize his decent athletic traits and iffy skills versus press. His route running and hands require development, so Palmer could mix in more than the market thinks. Johnston is a dart throw "better in best ball" selection as long as Keenan and Big Mike are healthy. Palmer was the WR52 in this role last year, taking advantage of both of their injuries for most of the season.
The Chargers might've had the worst blocking TE group in the NFL last year. It'll be a spot to improve this year, but it's the same depth chart returning. Gerald Everett was the TE15 per game last year on a decent 1.4 YPRR, while scoring 1.6 fewer TDs than expected on his usage. We know who Everett at this point in his career, but at least there's TD upside in this offense with little competition behind him. He'll be accompanied by BD Donald Parham (career 1.4 YPRR), who is practicing right now after scary injuries. He signed a $1.2M contract this offseason. Everett is making $8.2M in a contract season.
Chargers were last in PFF run blocking grade but are replacing the weak spots with legit first-round talent this year. Austin Ekeler should have an easier time ripping off big plays, but it'll be almost impossible to keep up this elite usage. He was the RB1 and 2nd overall player in fantasy points over replacement per game last year and the RB3 in 2021. There's nothing in his advanced metrics suggesting he's lost a step versus his career averages, but this is the haunted age-28 season. The Chargers will ride him out in his contract year, offering very little complement help behind him. Joshua Kelley was the No. 2 in all phases before he missed time last year, while 2022 4th-rounder Isaiah Spiller couldn't make the field as a 21-year-old. Perhaps OC Kellen Moore finds value in a familiar face in Zeke later on. I'd like the move for real life purposes. If they stay put, Ekeler is a late Round 1 target in hopes he can hold up just one more year.
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RB2 Austin Ekeler (9.2 overall) --> Buying
WR19 Keenan Allen (38.0) --> Mixing in
WR24 Mike Williams (44.3) --> Buying
QB7 Justin Herbert (55.1) --> Buying
WR42 Quentin Johnston (81.3) --> Only in stacks
TE18 Gerald Everett (158.7) --> Buying
WR92 Joshua Palmer (211.3) --> Only in stacks
RB71 Joshua Kelley (214.7) --> Mixing in