Los Angeles Chargers Helmet

Fantasy Football Projections: Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers is the very model of fantasy consistency. The veteran signal caller has been cranking out 4300+ yard, 30 TD seasons on a yearly basis for the past half decade and it doesn’t look like that will change in 2018. Rivers has averaged 4366 yards, 30 TD, and 16 INT over his past ten seasons making him that warm comfy safety blanket for a fantasy owner to snuggle up in and not have to worry. This is one of the simplest calls of the year – take Rivers as your starter later in drafts and you’ll be just fine.

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Rivers will be handing the ball off to the human puzzle that is Melvin Gordon. On paper, Gordon should be a three-down workhorse and a star in the league but in three NFL seasons he’s only eclipsed 1000 yards one time and he’s never finished with a yards-per-carry over 3.9. This makes the runner very much volume dependent which has worked to his favor given the lack of competition in the Chargers backfield. The arrival of Austin Ekeler in 2017 may change that. Gordon has to improve his rates to maintain his fantasy value. Ekeler is a versatile change of pace playmaker who can contribute across all phases of the offense and his role should grow in his second season in LA. Gordon is still only 25 so I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet, I have him as a solid RB2 with upside for more and Ekeler I’m stashing as a late-round handcuff, particularly in PPR formats.

Catching the ball for the Chargers will be Keenen Allen, fresh off his triumphant return to fantasy relevance in 2017. Allen is a catch machine rattling off 102 grabs for 1393 yards in 16 games last year, all career highs. Allen is the clear cut #1 option for Rivers in 2018 and he’ll be joined by returning flanker Tyrell Williams and second-year breakout candidate Mike Williams, as well as veteran Travis Benjamin. Tyrell has been an emerging weapon for L.A. over the past few seasons averaging 56 catches for 894 yards and 6 TD. He’ll serve as the big play, over the top game breaker for Rivers and carries fantasy value with him as such. Mike Williams is all upside and could convert that upside into actual production this year. Allen is a WR1, Tyrell Williams is a WR3 and Mike Williams is a wait-and-see stash. Travis Benjamin is waiver fodder.

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Antonio Gates is once again the most important name for the Chargers when it comes to tight end, but this time it’s for different reasons. L.A. had been poised to turn over the feature role at tight end to Hunter Henry but a season-ending injury to Henry has left Virgil Green as the last man standing. Green is an excellent blocking tight end who can contribute as a pass catcher but he’s not capable of providing the safety net Rivers has been accustomed to for years with Gates. Gates has yet to retire and is currently jobless, making him an obvious option to help the Chargers weather 2018. I expect Gates to return to his former team and as the only viable pass-catching option at the position, he’ll have some value even at 38 years old.

2018 Projections

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Philip Rivers QB 375 595 4460 29 14 10

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Melvin Gordon RB 290 1180 9 55 495 3 1
Austin Ekeler RB 85 410 2 35 360 2 1

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Kennen Allen WR 95 1120 8
Travis Benjamin WR 30 450 3
Tyrell Williams WR 55 825 6
Mike Williams WR 45 600 4
Virgil Green TE 20 215 2
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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
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Ben Stecker