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Mike Nowak/Los Angeles Chargers

2024 Fantasy Football Preview: Los Angeles Chargers


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Player Outlooks (2024)

 

QB Justin Herbert: Herbert is a tough player to rank this season, as he’s been a borderline top-five quarterback, has undeniable talent, and will have more stability under Jim Harbaugh. On the other hand, quarterback is loaded, Los Angeles won’t have Keenan Allen or Mike Williams, and the Chargers will want to run the ball under Harbaugh—probably pushing Herbert to being more of a borderline QB1/QB2. The path to remaining at least a midrange QB1 would be extreme efficiency and increased production as a runner, but the projected decrease in volume and uncertainty at wide receiver is reason to take other options over Herbert in fantasy drafts.

 

RB Gus Edwards: Edwards had his career derailed a bit after suffering a torn ACL in 2021 that forced him to miss the entire season and then part of 2022, but he bounced back last year with the best season of his career—exploding for 13 touchdowns for a front-running Ravens squad. Going from John Harbaugh to Jim Harbaugh might not change things much in terms of the desire to run the ball with Edwards as an early-down grinder, but the Chargers seem to have more competition for carries, so the veteran hitting in the touchdown department is key for his outlook as a FLEX.

 

RB J.K. Dobbins: Dobbins has simply been unable to stay healthy with nine games played over the past three seasons, and a torn Achilles suffered last year is likely the toughest one yet to bounce back from. For his part, the former Ohio State star—who rushed 134 times for 805 yards (6.0 YPC) and two touchdowns as a rookie—said in April that “the Chargers are getting a guy that’s gonna be healthy from now on,” and maybe the poor injury luck for both Dobbins and the franchise will be reversed this year. If it’s just a two-man backfield with former and current teammate Gus Edwards, finishing as a low-end RB2/FLEX is possible.

 

RB Isaiah Spiller: Spiller is a guy that could make it a full-blown committee, and we believe in his talent as a well-rounded back that won’t turn 23 until August. At Texas A&M, Spiller showed workhorse potential and a very impressive pass-catching skillset, so he might be able to earn a solid role based on merit under Jim Harbaugh—especially if J.K. Dobbins can’t stay healthy.

 

RB Kimani Vidal: Vidal being selected by the new regime (as a sixth-round pick) is notable, and he’s drawn plenty of hype with some thinking he could earn a significant role this summer. We aren’t quite as high on the rookie with Isaiah Spiller—talked up by running back coach Kiel McDonald last month—hoping to make a leap, but Vidal is a name to monitor.

 

WR Ladd McConkey: McConkey was apparently a favorite target for Justin Herbert at OTAs, and it’s not surprising considering what he showed at Georgia as an extremely advanced route runner that can attack all three levels of the field. Our full scouting report for McConkey can be viewed here, but his downfield ability shouldn’t go overlooked with the rocket-armed Herbert, and the rookie is worth considering as a WR3 option.

 

WR Joshua Palmer: Palmer has a path to being the No. 1 target for Justin Herbert and should benefit from the built-in chemistry that newcomers Ladd McConkey and DJ Chark Jr.—plus Quentin Johnston—don’t have with LA’s quarterback, so he could easily be ranked as the top wideout for the Chargers. But as stated, decreased volume is expected under Jim Harbaugh, and even though they no longer have Keenan Allen or Mike Williams, competition for targets should still be there for Palmer, and we’re expecting a balanced overall offense.

 

WR Quentin Johnston: Last year, we explained that Johnston is more of a finesse player despite his size at six-foot-three, and he shouldn’t be written off with some needing more time than others to adjust to the NFL game. That being said, Johnston was drafted by the previous regime (one that was more inclined the throw the ball), and Jim Harbaugh isn’t the type of coach to hand out playing time based on a player’s draft status. Fortunately, it sounds like the new coaching staff has a much better idea of how to use him with “easy” touches to get the ball in his hands, so it’s up to Johnston to take advantage of his opportunities this summer.

 

WR DJ Chark Jr.: Los Angeles would probably like for Quentin Johnston to earn a starting job alongside Ladd McConkey and Joshua Palmer, but if not, Chark can have a sizable role as a vertical threat for Justin Herbert—who is very willing to uncork the deep ball. Weekly consistency would still be the question mark for Chark, so he could be a better flier in best ball drafts or when bye weeks kick in.

 

WR Derius Davis: Davis is safe on the roster after being a Second-Team All-Pro punt returner as a rookie, but he had minimal contributions as a pass-catcher with just 66 yards on 15 receptions (17 targets) in 2023. The lack of efficiency combined with Quentin Johnston seeing more designed touches makes Davis an unlikely candidate to make a massive leap in Year 2.

 

WRs Brenden Rice and Cornelius Johnson: Rice and Johnson were each selected in the seventh round of the 2024 NFL Draft, and we thought both could have been taken early on Day 3—so they’re firmly on the radar ahead of training camp. The son of all-time great wide receiver Jerry Rice, Brenden is coming in with a chip on his shoulder, while Johnson has the advantage of being a top-tier blocker for the position.

 

TE Will Dissly: Los Angeles signing Dissly to a three-year, $24-million contract speaks to the smashmouth approach they want to have offensively, but there is also untapped potential as a receiver and touchdown threat for the soon-to-be 28-year-old. For those who don’t remember, Dissly had a 30/413/6 line in the first eight healthy games of his career, and he’ll be prioritized more in LA than he was in recent seasons with Seattle.

 

TE Hayden Hurst: Hurst also signed with the Chargers in the offseason, and he was receiving TE2 buzz in Carolina this time last year. Similar to running back, we’d expect somewhat of a committee at tight end, but Hurst caught 56 passes in 2020 and 52 passes in 2022, so perhaps will see enough playing time to be a fantasy factor in his age-31 campaign.

 

TE Donald Parham Jr.: The six-foot-eight Parham will face the prospects of being the No. 3 tight end this season, but he’s never really been the top guy—and hitting in the red zone is where he could potentially pay dividends. So far in his career, Parham has scored 11 touchdowns on 67 receptions, and it’s easy to imagine Jim Harbaugh being enthralled by his size.

 

Other Notes

 

Best IDP value: CB Asante Samuel Jr.

Samuel will be entering a contract year if he’s not extended over the next couple of months, and he’s been extremely underrated due to Los Angeles not living up to expectations as a team. The former Florida State standout has recorded two interceptions in each of his first three seasons, and the playmaking ability is there to came away with a handful of picks in 2024.

 

Stat to know (via draft guide)

After beginning his career with 69 touchdown passes in 32 games across his first two seasons, Justin Herbert has thrown for 45 touchdowns in 30 games over the past two seasons.