The Chargers skill players have been considered some of the best to own in fantasy football under the Phillip River era.
His gunslinging style of play led to some big-play touchdowns and lots of catches to go around. It also led to a lot of turnovers, and cost the Chargers some games in Rivers’ career. Chargers fans adore and respect Rivers for his consistency and his trash-talking style of play, he will be missed and hopefully, he is successful in Indianapolis.
For the first time, in 14 years, the Chargers will have a new quarterback at the helm.
Tyrod Taylor is the presumed starter this year and should play most of the season, with the Chargers process to take their time with new rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.
While this offense will be vastly different from the Rivers-led offenses in the past, there still might be some solid fantasy football options in this new offense.
These projections will be based on 12-team PPR leagues.
Tyrod Taylor // QB
The journeyman quarterback has played for a lot of teams in his career, but the Chargers staff signed him back in the 2018 offseason to a team-friendly 2-year deal, this was Telesco’s way of preparing for the departure of Rivers. Taylor was the QB up in Buffalo for 3 years, at the same time Anthony Lynn was the RB coach, and then promoted to offensive coordinator. What the Chargers love about Tyrod is his ability to limit turnovers, he is only behind Aaron Rodgers in all-time interception percentage in his career, and he is a great runner, both of which are polar opposites to Phillip Rivers. It has been clear in fantasy football that QBs that can get mobile and run create more fantasy value.
While Tyrod may be considered a “game-manager”, his ability to run the ball in the run-heavy offense that Lynn is building, allows him to have fantasy value over guys that aren’t mobile, such as Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins, and Phillip Rivers. He most likely won’t get close to QB1 territory, but if you play a 2-QB league, and want to stack your roster and wait on your second QB, Tyrod would be a good option.
Draft Range: QB29, late-round flyer.
Projections: 3,300 passing yards, 20 TDs, 4 Int, 750 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs. Finishes the season as a QB2 due to starting the whole season, with the rushing aspect of his game.
Austin Ekeler // RB
Ekeler broke out last year, while there were several analysts that were down on him, he stepped into the starting RB role during the Gordon holdout and absolutely dominated on the field and for fantasy football rosters. The Chargers rewarded his great season with a contract extension, a 4-year deal worth $24.5 million dollars. He was used as the main running back, but where he really excelled was in the passing game. Rivers used him in the slot and on screens, which is where most of his success came. He was one of the most efficient ball carriers in the open field, and even when Gordon came back, Ekeler still dominated in PPR leagues.
With the Chargers new offense converting to a more run-based approach, it is likely that Ekelers’ number of catches and receiving yards might go down, but he should still receive the same amount of touches, he will just be carrying the ball more. He is a very talented running back and the Chargers will find ways to get him the ball somehow, which still makes him a valuable fantasy football asset, especially in PPR leagues. Don’t sleep on this PPR monster, who should be the focal point of the entire Chargers offense.
Draft Range: RB14, going in 2nd & 3rd rounds and outside RB1 territory in drafts.
Projections: 875 rushing yards, 5 rushing TDs, 75 receptions, 700 yards, 4 receiving TDs. Finishes the season as RB8, he gets close to last years production, but the new offensive pace caps his ceiling.
Hunter Henry // TE
Hunter Henry is one of the most balanced tight ends in the NFL, however, he is rarely considered the be one of the top tight ends due to his injury history. Henry missed the entire 2018 season and had his 2019 season cut short by a helmet to the knee which broke his kneecap.
He has been in the league for 4 seasons but only has played in 41 of the 64 possible games. The Chargers franchise tagged him this year, and the 2020 season will be his opportunity to earn an extension from the Chargers. He took over for Antonio Gates, and became one of Phillip Rivers’ favorite targets. With the tight end happy QB gone, Henry will need to build repour with Taylor.
While in Buffalo, Taylor lacked talented tight ends, but Charles Clay had at least 525 receiving yards all 3 years of having Tyrod as his QB, and averaged 4-5 TDs. Henry will obviously be on the field for his blocking ability, but he could be a great security blanket for Taylor if he can stay healthy.
Draft Range: TE7, going in the 7th or 8th round after the premium tight ends go early.
Projections: 55 receptions, 650 receiving yards, 6 TDs. Finishes the season at TE12 pretty close to his ADP, but with the uncertainty of his health and the change of offenses, he could fall farther.
Keenan Allen // WR
Allen has been one of the most consistent players on the Chargers offense since he was drafted in 2013. He had two injuries in 2015 & 2016, but since then he hasn’t missed a game in 3 years. He is coming off one of his best seasons where he caught 104 passes, 1 yard shy of 1,200 yards, and 6 touchdowns. He has been a PPR monster since he stepped into the league, and many fantasy football players are shying away from Allen this year, due to the QB change.
Rivers and Allen had some of the best chemistry of any duo in the NFL, Allen is still the best route runner in the NFL and has great hands no matter who is throwing him the ball. Allen finished last year as WR6 overall, and he is currently being drafted at WR20, which is fantastic value.
While Tyrod was running the show in Buffalo, Sammy Watkins had one of his career seasons where he had 60 receptions, 1,050 yards, and 9 TDs. Allen is much better than Watkins, but this also shows that Tyrod can support a WR even with his conservative playstyle.
Draft Range: WR20, going in the 4th or 5th rounds. He would make a solid WR2 on any team, with clear WR1 upside, in PPR formats.
Projections: 85 receptions, 1,100 yards, 8 TDs. He finishes the season as WR10 in PPR formats, outproducing the WR20 ADP he currently has.
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