Will J.K. Dobbins Bounce Back? | 2024 Los Angeles Chargers Fantasy Football Draft Guide

by Mark Strausberg
Will J.K. Dobbins Bounce Back

The Los Angeles Chargers have a lot of questions to answer this upcoming season. For Fantasy, we are interested in questions like will J.K. Dobbins bounce back? How will they replace Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, We'll answer that and some of your other Charger-related fantasy football questions in our 2024 Los Angeles Chargers Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

Last season was a disappointing one for the Los Angeles Chargers. Yet, optimism is high with the hiring of Jim Harbaugh on the heels of his Michigan Wolverines winning the National Championship. However, this division still belongs to Kansas City. And until that changes, the Chargers won't be looking at any home playoff games, if they see any playoff games period. Patrick Mahomes is 8-2 in his career against the Chargers. Meanwhile, Harbaugh is 3-1 against Kansas City and perhaps we should postulate if Harbaugh has the recipe to BBQ KC?

How Jim Harbaugh assembles his pieces and what he gets from them will be fun to watch. It might even be more fun to watch than the Chargers themselves. Don't be surprised if this team is fairly conservative and tries to run the ball most of the time.

But the Charger with the highest upside is Justin Herbert. So let's start our 2024 Los Angeles Chargers Fantasy Football preview with some questions and answers about his receiving options.

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Will J.K. Dobbins Bounce Back? Or Are We Looking At A Dreaded RBBC?

In our Baltimore Ravens Draft Guide, the Chargers were referred to as "Baltimore West". It's a fair moniker as not only are both coached by one of the Harbaugh boys, but there seems to be an express lane between former Ravens and now Chargers as well. Greg Roman was once the Ravens OC and now finds himself the OC in LaLa Land. And he is now followed out of the Big Crabcake into the City of Angels by former Raven RBs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards.

So it makes way too much sense to look at the last year that both Dobbins and Edwards were healthy and in the backfield together, which also just happens to be while Greg Roman was the offensive coordinator, back in the 2020 season. That season Edwards rushed 144 times for 723 yards while Dobbins was the more efficient runner, toting the rock 134 times for 805 yards. The good news is they combined to score 15 TDs. The bad news is that (sigh), yes, we are looking at the dreaded RBBC.

And we haven't even discussed popular dynasty pick Kimani Vidal. I am not worried about Vidal eating into either of the former Ravens running back time early in the season, but don't be surprised if this becomes a three-headed monster by the end of the season.

How Will The Chargers Replace Keenan Allen and Mike Williams?

Ask most Charger fans how the Charges might replace Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. At least the smart ones are likely to look at you askance. Because let's be honest, finding two WRs to give you a combined eight TDs isn't that hard. As talented as that duo is, they haven't helped the Chargers reach the postseason too much lately.

But it's worth looking at what the Chargers WR corps will look like this upcoming season. LAC drafted Ladd McConkey in what might be a perfect fit. He was one of the more polished WRs in this draft with some of the best route-running ability. However, he is also a willing blocker, which is key when you are a WR in Jim Harbaugh's system.

The rookie should start immediately, meaning that Josh Palmer or Quentin Johnson could be looking at even fewer snaps this upcoming season. Industry opinions differ, but Palmer is the safer bet to be the more consistent option. Should Johnson eliminate drops from his profile, he could easily become the franchise WR whom Los Angeles was expecting when they drafted him 21st overall. Johnson will absolutely have bigger weeks than Palmer and I wouldn't be shocked to see him have a 3-TD 200-receiving yard day this season. But those few highs will likely be outnumbered by quite a few lows.

Other Options?

I also like rookie Brendan Rice to make some noise and can be had late in your dynasty rookie drafts. But he will also be battling with the recently signed DJ Chark Jr., who interestingly is the only receiver on the team with a 1,000-yard season in his career. Yet he too is unlikely to be in the starting lineup and see much action outside of 3-WR sets.

What the Chargers lack in a clear number one receiver they will try to make up with a handful "close to number one" receivers. The likelihood of any one receiver stepping up and eclipsing 1K yards this season is limited. However, the totality of Herbert's receiving corps should get him close to 4K passing yards this season. And that's despite the Chargers likely to run the ball more often, which brings us to our next question.

Will There Be A TE On The Chargers Worth Drafting?

It seems like a lifetime since Antonio Gates was scoring TD after TD for the Chargers as the last couple of years have been a bit of a hole at TE for the Chargers. And this year doesn't look much better. Your top three candidates to be Justin Herbert'top TE are Will Dissly, Hayden Hurst, and Donald Parham. Bleah, ugh, and meh.

And you can assign any of those adjectives to any one of those players. I still love Donald Parham's upside. Don't be surprised to see him develop as a red zone target and score half a dozen TDs this season. But I'd bet on at least 10 weeks where he has little to no value and unless you know when those weeks are and aren't, he isn't going to be very useful. Hayden Hurst brings a little more consistency, but this is his fourth team since 2020. I don't foresee his age-30 season suddenly being a breakout.

That leaves us with Will Dissly. He's probably the Charger TE you want, but I use the term "want" very loosely. Dissly has started at least 14 games each of the last three seasons, including a career-best 38 targets in 2023. If you are comfortable with him giving you the 300+ yards he had that season, go ahead, and grab him.

But I will not leave any of my drafts with a Charger TE. I suggest you don't either.

Final Thoughts

So much can go wrong with the Los Angeles Chargers this season. But sooner or later this team will actually remain healthy. And there is enough upside on this team that the Los Angeles Chargers might shock some people this season.

Bad puns aside, there is definitely some electrifying talent on this team. The problem is there might be too much talent on this team. Between an RBBC, plus a WR corps that is more like 4 WR2/3 and no WR1, I expect a lot of this talent to cannibalize itself.

I'd grab Justin Herbert after ten quarterbacks have gone off the board as I like him to be a top dozen QB this season. But outside of Herbert, I'll likely be staying away from most of this team. However, this team is still talented and I will be gobbling them up in my best ball leagues. They're a bit of a fantasy conundrum right now, but in best ball leagues you can use that to your advantage.

Will JK Dobbins bounce back? I hope so, but I'm not betting on it happening. But there is just enough fantasy goodness on this team that if you see players falling a few rounds past their ADP, I would snatch them up.

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