Los Angeles Chargers 2021 Fantasy Preview
Los Angeles Chargers
2020 Record: 7-9
2021 Over/Under: o/u 9.5
2021 Divison Odds : +500
2021 Super Bowl Odds: +3500
As you prepare for the fantasy season, whether it be your home league, a big money squad or with us at Champions Round, we want you to be as prepared as possible heading into the season. And most of all we want to see you win!
The Chargers should be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season. Most of that improvement will take place due to the new coaching staff, led by Brandon Staley. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a healthy defense, led by Derwin James and Joey Bosa, and a 2nd year QB who is coming off of the best statistical rookie season by any QB in NFL history.
The Chargers offense should flourish with Justin Herbert at the helm and a healthy Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen. Throw in a revamped offensive line and you have the recipe for a big leap forward offensively, even if Herbert regress a bit.
The defense should be much improved with Staley at the helm and with James back in the fold. Can they be good enough to slow down the Chiefs and win the AFC West? Doubtful. But the Chargers are talented enough to make the playoffs this season.
Champions Round “JUICE” Projections
2021 Expected Record: 10-7
2021 Expected Points Per Game: 26.2
2021 Expected Points Allowed Per Game: 23.3
Justin Herbert - Rank: QB9
JUICE Projections: 415-639 Passing, 65% Completion, 4403 Passing Yds., 31 TD, 13 INT; 271 Rushing Yds, 4 Rush TD
Herbert had a ton of success in 2020 with the deep ball and also succeeded when the pocket was collapsing. Both of those rates are unsustainable. That being said, his offensive line is better, his coaching is better and he’s in Year 2. I expect Herbert to have a very good season. Maybe not perhaps a top 5 fantasy season, but close. If the former Oregon QB continues to score rushing touchdowns, he could be a league winner. If not, you’re looking at a solid top 10 QB with limited upside beyond that.
Austin Ekeler - Rank: RB11
JUICE Projections: 172 carries, 826 Rushing Yds, 9 Rush TD; 69 receptions, 491 Receiving Yds, 3 Rec. TD
Ekeler dealt with injuries in 2020, but when healthy was once again a PPR monster. This should be a big year for Ekeler and his connection with Herbert in the passing game should be a bright spot for the Chargers. He’s a RB1 for sure and worthy of a late first round pick in redraft.
Joshua Kelley - Rank: RB45
JUICE Projections: 152 carries, 654 Rushing Yds, 4 Rush TD; 15 receptions, 95 Receiving Yds, 1 Rec. TD
Justin Jackson - Rank: RB74
JUICE Projections: 54 carries, 227 Rushing Yds, 2 Rush TD; 14 receptions, 86 Receiving Yds
I project Kelley to have a very big role as the second leading rusher, but wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of those carries spread around to all three backup RBs, including rookie Larry Rountree III. Jackson may be on the cut line for the Chargers, as well. I wouldn’t invest too heavily in any Chargers backup RB.
Keenan Allen - Rank: WR16
JUICE Projections: 95 receptions, 1057 Receiving Yds, 9 Rec. TD
Allen is one of the best WRs in fantasy football and is a PPR monster. If he improves his depth of target and is able to convert in the red zone, he could have a top 5 fantasy season at receiver. If he just puts up an average Keenan Allen season, he should still be a top 15 receiver.
Mike Williams - Rank: WR52
JUICE Projections: 52 receptions, 676 Receiving Yds, 5 Rec. TD
Jalen Guyton - Rank: WR81
JUICE Projections: 34 receptions, 496 Receiving Yds, 3 Rec. TD
Tyron Johnson - Rank: WR97
JUICE Projections: 28 receptions, 400 Receiving Yds, 2 Rec. TD
Josh Palmer - Rank: WR136
JUICE Projections: 17 receptions, 210 Receiving Yds, 1 Rec. TD
Who’s the second WR for the Chargers? Mike Williams is in line for that role and there’s been a lot of offseason hype about him having a breakout season. It’s possible. He’s going to get a lot of targets early in the season. However, his injury history makes me concerned for his year long outlook. I don’t know if I would buy his stock.
Meanwhile, Guyton, Johnson and the rookie Palmer are competing for limited targets. One of them could break out, especially if Williams is hurt. Guyton and Johnson both played well in 2020, while Palmer is drawing rave reviews in camp. Your guess is as good as mine as to which of the three will become a big time target for Herbert.
Jared Cook - Rank: TE23
JUICE Projections: 43 receptions, 446 Receiving Yds, 4 Rec. TD
Donald Parham - Rank: TE45
JUICE Projections: 16 receptions, 198 Receiving Yds, 3 Rec. TD
Cook is familiar with OC Joe Lombardi and the offense he’s bringing over from the Saints, hence why the Chargers signed him. I expect Cook to be a valuable red zone piece and a good TE option in best ball and if you punt on TE. Meanwhile, Parham is a giant target who could emerge as a breakout player. He’s great in the red zone and has a nice connection with Herbert. I like a late round Parham flyer in deep leagues.
TL;DR 2021 Los Angeles Chargers
- Justin Herbert has top 5 QB upside, but beware of regression
- Keenan Allen, if healthy, has top 8 WR potential
- Watch out for the Chargers 3rd receiver. That player could be a breakout candidate. My odds are odd Guyton.
- Jared Cook and Donald Parham should produce decent numbers. Could be best ball darlings.
Thanks for reading and good luck in your drafts! Next Up: the Miami Dolphins!