I started playing fantasy football in 2011, and every year since I have been addicted. Every year I run into the same difficult decision of when, or if, I should take my favorite Chargers players. There have been years I have loaded up, and there were years I have completely avoided them because I couldn’t trust my own biased opinions. You probably shouldn’t draft more than three of any teams position players so one teams bad week wont ruin you, but it is absolutely fine to have Chargers on your roster, as long as you know when to draft them and how to use them. No one wants to be a “homer”, so I will break it down, mostly in standard scoring ten team leagues, how you can draft your Bolts and still have a competitive team.
Allen is arguably the most attractive asset on the Chargers to have on your team. When he was injured last year in week 8 he had the 7th most points in standard scoring amongst wide receivers, showing that he is capable of being a number one option on your team. He does come with injury risk so despite his 11.8 points per game last season, he shouldn’t be your number one receiver.
According to fantasypros.com he is currently being drafted around 28th overall in drafts, and 14th amongst wide receivers. I wouldn’t go as high to spend a late second round pick on him but I believe he is being slightly underrated so I would draft him as high as 23rd overall depending on how your team is set up. If he falls to you in the fourth round, pull the trigger.
If you are in a points per reception league, he is a true number one receiver and is worth an early second round pick.
This is one of the harder players to rank because before the 2015 season he was relatively unknown, and last season he was catching passes from Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown. Even with sub par quarterback play he finished in the top 30 for wide receivers in fantasy points with 966 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns.
He will absolutely have a quarterback to get him the ball this year, but there is some reason of concern because he had only one double-digit scoring game after Cleveland’s bye in week 11. He is the type of receiver that can make or break your week but you are going to have to limit expectations slightly because he is bound to have forgettable weeks in an offense with many mouths to feed, and a suspect offensive line.
The good news is you may be able to get him cheap because he is going around the 13th round so that is your 5th or 6th receiver, and the other receivers widely available around then are names like Tavon Austin, Willie Snead and Kamar Aiken. So I have no problem taking him over any of those guys, but I wouldn’t take him earlier than a late 11th round pick, so you don’t have to rely on him every week.
This spot originally belonged to Stevie Johnson as the number 3 receiver for the Bolts, but he went down with a torn meniscus, so the Chargers picked up James Jones who might be a better fantasy wide receiver anyways. Over the past two seasons Jones has been a productive fantasy option with 123 receptions, 1,556 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
This year having waited so long to find a team and turning 32 in the off-season, Jones is not being drafted in most leagues. He really will only have true value if one of the previously mentioned receivers is injured, so if you really want him he would have to be one of your last picks.
This is absolutely one of the hardest Chargers to rank because on all accounts the talent is there, but how do you draft someone who scored zero touchdowns last season?
Gordon is not totally blameless, but he only had 11 carries inside the red zone, and only one carry inside the five yard line because of his fumbling issues, but I don’t think Danny Woodhead will be leading the team in these categories again this season. He finally got into the end zone against the Titans in the first preseason game, boosting his confidence, and there will be many more to come.
Last year he was a trendy pick, but the buzz has worn off and he is currently being drafted as the 25th running back, and around the 65th overall pick in standard drafts. I do think he can have a bounce back year so he is a solid 3rd running back, so a late 6th early 7th round pick is safe.
Woodhead is normally only thought of as a 3rd down back, but last year with Melvin Gordon struggling and eventually put on Injured Reserve, he was a solid standard scoring running back, with 1,091 total yards and 9 total touchdowns.
This season I don’t expect him to have nearly as many touchdowns, so I would stay away from him in standard scoring. If Melvin Gordon were to be injured I do believe Woodhead’s numbers could again be inflated, but they are not far apart in average draft position, so I would roll the dice with Gordon if you want a Chargers running back. If it is a PPR league, with 80 receptions last season, Woodhead is clearly the back you want.
There will be a time when the 36-year-old Antonio Gates is not the best fantasy tight end on the Bolts, this is not that time. Almost all tight ends in fantasy are touchdown dependent, and over his last 27 games he has scored a ridiculous 17 touchdowns, all while averaging 54.3 receiving yards per game. His 17 touchdowns are the second most, behind Rob Gronkowski, over the last 2 seasons even with missing 5 games last year.
Averaging 50+ yards per game also gives him a pretty safe floor in standard scoring, so I like him more than his #13 tight end rank on fantasypros.com. He is a viable number one option at his position for me and his ADP is in the 11th round of drafts, that’s great value if he can end up as a top 10 tight end.
Philip Rivers was putting up MVP type of numbers last season before Keenan Allen went down, even with Antonio Gates missing the first four games. He was the second best in all of fantasy football in scoring at the time, but then ended up as 12th by the time whole teams terrible second half concluded.
This year Rivers has some additional weapons like Travis Benjamin and Hunter Henry, but most importantly should have some room to step up in the pocket with the addition of Matt Slauson, allowing him to have more big plays than last season. He is currently the 11th quarterback off the board in most drafts, around 95th overall. That’s a fair number considering the questions the Chargers have going into the year, if you do take him, try to get a high upside second quarterback just in case the team melts down.
Chargers Defense & Special Teams
The Chargers defense looks like it could be much improved this season, and it will need to be to be relevant in fantasy considering they haven’t been better than the 27th ranked defense since 2012, according to fftoday.com.
The good news is that good fantasy defenses tend to be a little bit random so there is a chance that they could significantly improve their turnover rate and generate some type of return game. I believe the Chargers will be a better actual defense, but maybe not fantasy defense, so I am staying away from them if I can help it, until they show something.
Hunter Henry- Total stud so far in preseason, normally rookie tight ends struggle, he might be the exception if Gates goes down.
Branden Oliver- Olivers change of pace role keeps him from fantasy relevance, also, he is not a true Melvin Gordon handcuff.
Tyrell Williams- If Williams can get consistent playing time look out, because he is a big, tall redzone target, who also has the speed to run past defenders.
Josh Lambo- Was 19th in scoring amongst kickers. You probably have better options.
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