2020 Fantasy Football Los Angeles Chargers Preview

by Mike Bonni
2020 Fantasy Football Los Angeles Chargers Preview

This is the 2020 Fantasy Football Los Angeles Chargers Team Preview but first, let's get 2019 out of the way.

Coming into 2019 the Chargers had very high expectations after having a 12-4 record in 2018. They ended up losing to eventual super bowl champions the New England Patriots in the divisional playoffs. After that debacle, the Chargers went 5-11 in 2019, which is nowhere near what they were expecting. Phillip Rivers had trouble turning the ball over, and it didn't help that Melvin Gordon's holdout was disruptive from the start of training camp.     

In the 2020 draft, the Chargers drafted the future of the franchise Justin Herbert. Can he take the job from Tyrod Taylor? Or can Tyrod Taylor bring them back to the playoffs? 

Now let's get to the 2020 Fantasy Football Team Preview of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Will the key trio of Ekeler, Allen, and William’s fantasy value suffer from either QB's play? 

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2020 Quarterbacks Fantasy Football Preview

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  • Tyrod Taylor
  • Justin Herbert

The Chargers haven’t seen a new face at the QB position since 2006. Phillip Rivers for 14 years started every game for them. 2020 is going to be a whole new story with two players battling it out for the starting gig.

The presumptive starter going into the season is Tyrod Taylor. During his three-year starting career(15-17) for the BIlls, he had a 92.8 average passer rating. Meanwhile, during those three years Tyrod had averaged 2,952 yards, 17 touchdowns, six interceptions, and a 62.7 completion percentage, while also being QB16 in 2015, QB8 in 2016, and QB16 in 2017 in fantasy according to FantasyPros.

As for 2020, Taylor is currently going as QB29. I believe if he starts the whole season he could easily outperform that mainly because of how dangerous he is with his feet still. I see him being right around the low QB2(13-25) range maybe even at the top of the QB2 list. 

The other QB fighting for the job is former Oregon Duck QB, Justin Herbert. He was a star in Oregon leading them to a Rose Bowl win in 2020. While also earning himself the MVP award in that game.

Herbert coming into the season is listed as the backup to Tyrod Taylor, although there is a consensus that he will end up taking the starting job at some point.

Herbert is being ranked as QB35 at this time according to FantasyPros. This puts Herbert just six spots behind Tyrod Taylor. I believe Herbert can take the job and easily outperform where he is currently ranked, he can reach the mid-tier of the QB2 range easily. Herbert has a strong arm, while also flashing some wheels on him too which is always helpful in fantasy. 

Running Backs

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The Starting job now belongs to Austin Ekeler enjoying an absolute monster breakout year. Ekeler wasn’t the most threatening running back on the ground, carrying the ball 132 times for 557 yards and three touchdowns.

Most of his damage came in the receiving game, where he was a beast. First and foremost, he caught the ball 92 times out of 108 targets. While also adding 993 yards and eight touchdowns. In addition to those stats, Ekeler had five or more targets in the passing game 12 out of the 16 games. The downside to all of this is he only had four games with ten plus carries. 

According to FantasyPros, Ekeler ended up being the RB6 averaging 16.4 points per game in 2019.  As for 2020, he is the RB13 according to FantasyPros. It’s hard for me to see Ekeler not getting at least ten to twelve carries a game while also maintaining his five-plus targets in the passing game. With that being said Ekeler can manage around 17-20 touches per game, whereas last year Ekeler only had 15 plus touches in seven games. Ekeler can be a top-ten running back in PPR formats, so don’t be afraid to pick him in the late second round.

As for Justin Jackson, he only carried the ball 29 times for 209 yards. With Melvin Gordon leaving there are now 160 vacated carries. For Justin Jackson, this should mean more work for him, but that is not a given. Is he draftable? No, but I believe he can be a solid bye week fill-in. As for Joshua Kelly, I don’t see him making much of an impact this year.  Keep him off your radar for now.

Wide Receivers

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The wide receiver core, led by Keenan Allen, had a solid year catching 104 balls(second among receivers) off of 150 targets(fifth among receivers) for 1,199 yards(fifth among receivers) and six touchdowns(22nd) in 2019. Last year he finished the year as the WR8 with a 13.1 average according to FantasyPros half point-scoring.

As for 2020, Keenan Allen is being ranked as the WR20 with Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert at the helm now. With a healthy Hunter Henry, and an offense led through the running backs I believe Keenan is going to have trouble reaching the 150 targets he had in 2019 or even cracking the top ten in fantasy wideouts. I see him ending up in the WR3 range. I would avoid him in drafts and let one of your draftmates take him based on name alone. Don’t be that guy.

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The Other Wide Receivers

The other fantasy-relevant widout on the Chargers is deep-threat specialist Mike Williams. Williams enjoyed a mild breakout season last year in terms of real football.  He ended up the year with 49 catches for 1,001 yards with a staggering 20.4 yards per reception.

As for fantasy football, those stats didn’t translate into success if you had him on your team. He only averaged 9.1 fantasy points per game, putting him at WR38.

As for 2020 Mike Williams’ numbers are going to take quite a dip, I don’t see him replicating that YPR mark, and that is where he did most of his damage. I would leave Mike Williams off your draft radar unless you can get him in the late rounds or even off the waiver wire, he could end up being a decent bye week fill-in. I see him being a WR four or five at best.

As for the other receivers, it looks like the third wideout is going to be Andre Patton.  If Allen and Williams don’t have much value, there is absolutely no reason to be thinking Patton will provide fantasy value.

Tight Ends

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The Chargers drafted Hunter Henry in the second round of the 2016 draft with the intention of him being the heir apparent to Charger great, Antonio Gates. He hasn’t lived up to the hype necessarily. The injury bug has been around Hunter Henry his whole NFL career never playing a full season, 15 being his best in his rookie season.

Last year he suffered a knee fracture and was only able to play 12 games, and he missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL, so as you can see he has a tough time staying on the field. 

In his 12 games last year Hunter Henry caught 55 balls for 652 yards and five touchdowns putting him as the TE9 with a 10.2 average in 2019.

As for 2020 Hunter is being ranked as the sixth tight end. This year I believe he can be the one bright spot in terms of receiving on this Charger team. With that being said, I believe Hunter Henry should be a top ten tight end. With a full season there is a good chance he can bust into the top-five in tight ends, so don’t be afraid to draft him anywhere after the seventh round. Good chance he goes past the tenth round, and if that's the case, you can get a steal in the double-digit rounds with Hunter.

As for backup tight end Virgil Green I don’t see him providing much fantasy value this year.  Last year he only caught nine balls for 78 yards.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, the Chargers, in terms of real football are in a transition year moving on from Phillip Rivers to Tyrod Taylor or until future franchise QB Justin Herbert is ready. This will hurt the fantasy value of one the most consistent fantasy wideouts the past three years, Keenan Allen. I don't see him reaching the highs he has had those past few years and will likely see a major drop off, along with the other receiver Mike Williams, his value will be dropping too.

I believe Ekeler and Hunter Henry will be the only players that will provide you with good fantasy value. The Chargers are leaning more towards in run-heavy scheme which helps Ekeler, so if you can snatch him up in the third round consider yourself a lucky duck.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2020 season.

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