With the beginning of the NFL season in less than a week, many fantasy football leagues are finally starting to hold their drafts. Waiting until now allows fans to reduce the risk of drafting players that get injured in training camp. With that said, are there any Chargers worth taking with a coveted draft pick? If so, what round would be the ideal time to draft them? These are the Chargers’ best fantasy football options.
Many likely would expect quarterback Justin Herbert to be the top choice here. However, Ekeler is actually a top fantasy option at running back. Especially in PPR (points per reception) leagues, Ekeler’s role in the Chargers offense allows for him to generate a large amount of fantasy points. In 2019, Ekeler had the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs, with 217 in PPR leagues. In 2020, Ekeler regressed in points for several reasons. He only played 10 games in 2020 due to a hamstring strain, but now he is fully healthy. Also, without an offseason in 2020, he was never able to develop any chemistry with Justin Herbert until mid-season.
It is unclear whether he will be able to play another full season, but his production if he stays healthy cannot be understated. With that said, picking Ekeler should be a judgment call for fantasy football fans. It all boils down to how confident one is that he will stay healthy for all or most of the season. If he stays healthy, then he is worthy of a high-round pick. However, picking him could backfire if he misses extended time due to injury.
Projected draft location: Late 1st round – Early 2nd round
Though Herbert has received extensive media coverage due to his accolades from his rookie season, Herbert still doesn’t get as much attention for fantasy football. This is mostly due to the quarterbacks that tend to be the focus of every fantasy league. Quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers receive most media attention for fantasy football production. All three, along with others like Dak Prescott and Kyler Murray, are fantasy workhorses. However, that is not to say that quarterbacks outside of these five are not worth a pick. If fans wait in the draft to secure their quarterbacks, they can use earlier picks to secure elite skill players. For example, if someone waits until the fifth round to draft Herbert, they could use their first four picks to secure running backs and wide receivers.
Fans must keep in mind that Justin Herbert was a top-10 fantasy quarterback last season in a horrible situation. His offensive line was ranked dead last in the league. Also, he had no offseason during his rookie year. Lastly, and most importantly, he was thrown in as the starter without even knowing he was starting until 30 seconds before the game started. With a drastically improved offensive line, a whole offseason to build chemistry with teammates, and more time to mentally prepare to be the starter, Herbert is slated to have a breakout year, which is crazy to think about, considering how well he performed last season.
Projected draft location: Mid 5th round – Early 6th round
Justin Herbert was not the only player who was impacted by a subpar situation in their fantasy production. Keenan Allen, the longtime star receiver for the Chargers, had a relative down year due to the issues listed above. With no offseason and no training camp to build chemistry with Herbert, Allen went into the season being just one of many talented receivers on the roster. However, with a full offseason, Allen has a chance to set himself apart from teammates as the primary target. Allen has the potential to be a sleeper fantasy pick for the 2021 NFL season. Even so, expect Allen to continue to be an early wide receiver off the board.
Projected draft location: Late 2nd round – Early 3rd round
The Chargers have quite a few talented players at each skill position. Some honorable mentions for this list would be Mike Williams and the Chargers Defense/Special Teams. Mike Williams could serve as a solid flex in deep leagues or as a backup to plug in during a starter’s bye week. The Chargers D/ST is set to have a major glow-up this year with Derwin James’s return from injury and coach Brandon Staley’s defensive schemes. However, these 3 listed above are the 3 main players that will be highly sought after in every league. These are the Chargers’ best fantasy football options.