Chargers 2018 san diego chargers Fantasy Preview

The 2017 Chargers were defined by two different seasons -- B.B. (before bye) and A.B. (after bye). In the B.B. season, the Chargers were 3-5 -- Philip Rivers was the QB11 and Keenan Allen the WR19. In the A.B., Rivers and Allen jumped to the QB3 and WR1, respectively, and the Chargers went 6-2. It was a classic tale of two seasons for the Chargers in their first year in Los Angeles. Rivers threw for 4,515 yards and 28 touchdowns to 10 interceptions en route to his seventh Pro Bowl selection. Allen snagged a career-high 102 receptions and 1,393 receiving yards to go along with six touchdowns. Both players were excellent fantasy options, particularly in the B.B. season. Outside of Rivers and Allen, running back Melvin Gordon and tight end Hunter Henry had consistent, useful seasons. Gordon was the RB5, totaling 1,581 all-purpose yards and 12 total touchdowns while Henry was the TE12 with 579 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Gordon's backup was undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler, who miraculously scored five total touchdowns on just 74 total touches. Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin slotted in behind Allen at wideout and both finished the season with four touchdowns and over 500 receiving yards. First-round pick Mike Williams was expected to compete with them for snaps alongside Allen, but a back injury in rookie camp held him out until Week 6 and he was unable to find his rhythm all year. Chargers legend Antonio Gates, at age 37, still caught three touchdowns, but finished as the TE29. He's just a backup tight end option at this point in his career. On the other side of the ball, the Chargers had a renaissance in 2017 under first year defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. The Bolts' D allowed the third-fewest points (272, fewest by a Chargers team since 1992) and scored the fifth-most fantasy points among DSTs.



WR - Chargers

FACT: The star wideout averaged 15.3 yards per reception on third downs and secured a first down on 30 of his 36 third down catches. Allen was Philip Rivers' safety valve throughout the season.
Offseason Moves

Due to the Chargers' resurgence in the second half of the season, not many changes were made. The same staff returns along with the same core of talent. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, and Keenan Allen are back to lead their respective position groups. Austin Ekeler remains the RB2 behind Gordon, but the depth chart behind Allen at wide receiver is murky. Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, and Mike Williams are all back, but the Chargers are looking for Williams to take a step in his first full healthy season. Any of the three receivers behind Allen could have high-end flex value on a given week, but in terms of consistency, no one is sure what to expect. The tight end spot was supposed to be the Hunter Henry show this season, as the Chargers finally chose not to re-sign Antonio Gates. That all changed, though, when Henry suffered a torn ACL in a May practice session. Henry is done for the year and the Chargers are still contemplating whether or not to bring Gates back. As it stands, off-season signing Virgil Green is the TE1 in Los Angeles, but that will change if Gates returns.

Sleepers & Busts

Will we see more Austin Ekeler in 2018? Undrafted out of Division II Western State, Ekeler had five total touchdowns and 539 all-purpose yards on 74 touches (47 carries, 27 catches) as a rookie. Of the seven Chargers players with at least 35 targets, Ekeler had the highest catch percentage (77.1 percent) and second-highest touchdown percentage (11.1 percent). Ekeler slowly earned more touches as the season progressed. In a four-game stretch after the bye week, Ekeler had 26 carries for 116 yards and 12 receptions for 171 yards. Not insane numbers, but the kind of numbers that plant a seed of trust going into his sophomore campaign. Whenever he was on the field, Ekeler was able to make things happen. Expect more of that in 2018.

With Keenan Allen healthy for a full season, Tyrell Williams' production took a sizable hit in 2017 -- he had 50 fewer targets, 331 fewer yards and three fewer touchdowns than in 2016. Now, the Chargers presumably get Mike Williams for a full season and Tyrell's stats are at risk of dropping even further. Tyrell was undrafted in 2015 and Mike was the seventh overall pick in 2017, so the Chargers are going to do all they can to get the latter ready to be Allen's No. 2. Through no fault of his own, Tyrell could be the odd man out in a loaded Chargers receiving corps.

Fantasy Depth Chart
QB Philip Rivers Geno Smith
RB Melvin Gordon Austin Ekeler Justin Jackson
WR Keenan Allen Tyrell Williams Mike Williams Travis Benjamin
TE Virgil Green Sean McGrath
K Caleb Sturgis