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Projecting Chargers skill-position depth chart and fantasy impact

The Chargers brought back their top weapons and reinforced their offensive line, giving quarterback Justin Herbert everything necessary to thrive.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Despite missing the playoffs the past three seasons, the Los Angeles Chargers fervently believe that little separates them from a major breakthrough. Justin Herbert has established himself as one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks in just two years and the offense around him might finally match his talent. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler return as Herbert’s key weapons while the offensive line added Zion Johnson to reinforce the interior. On the other side of the ball, turnover machine J.C. Jackson and future Hall of Famer Khalil Mack arrive to take pressure off Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and the team’s other defensive stars.

But while the Chargers appear ready to roll out their most talented roster in years, the rest of the division has risen as well. The AFC West arms race saw the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders add superstars at key positions while the Kansas City Chiefs remain a title contender even after remaking their receiving corps and defense. Los Angeles will have to survive a gauntlet in order to reach the playoffs.

Quarterback

  1. Justin Herbert
  2. Chase Daniel

Running back

  1. Austin Ekeler
  2. Joshua Kelley
  3. Isaiah Spiller
  4. Larry Rountree III

Wide receiver

  1. Keenan Allen
  2. Mike Williams
  3. Josh Palmer
  4. Jaylen Guyton

Tight end

  1. Gerald Everett
  2. Donald Parham
  3. Tre’ McKitty

Biggest offseason changes

From a skill-position perspective, not much has changed for the Chargers. The team kept Williams, a deep threat early in his career who assumed a Michael Thomas-esque role last season, by signing him to a multiyear deal. Veteran Jared Cook departed after one season with the club, though former Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett arrives to replace him.

But while the personnel won’t look much different, how the Chargers deploy their running backs could. The team has hinted that other backs could take some of the backfield work off Ekeler’s shoulders, a move aimed at preserving him for late in the season. Los Angeles drafted Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller in the fourth round, giving the offense a potentially dynamic option to use in Ekeler’s stead.

Biggest questions for fantasy football

Herbert already ranks as one of the top fantasy quarterbacks, but can he put together an all-time season? The former No. 6 overall pick enters his third NFL season and second year in Joe Lombardi’s offense. The signal-caller also has an impressive collection of weapons and inarguably his best offensive line when healthy. All those elements could come together and turn into Herbert emerging as an MVP front-runner and league winner.