The Los Angeles Chargers made moves to try and make up ground in the ultra-competitive AFC West. They brought in some veterans to help the youth of their team, and this creates some interesting position battles ahead of getting into training camp. The Chargers finished in third place in the division with a 9-8 record but are hoping to win their first AFC West title since moving to Los Angeles and first as a franchise since 2009.
For the running backs and wide receivers, there will be battles among younger players to determine who will get the work behind the established veterans. The tight end battle sees a veteran back in the city of Los Angeles but in his first year with a young quarterback while the younger players have some rapport built.
In this series, we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project — correctly — which players will win training camp battles.
Here’s a look at our picks to win the training camp battles for the Los Angeles Chargers ahead of your 2022 fantasy football drafts.
Backup RB battle
Isaiah Spiller vs. Joshua Kelley vs. Larry Rountree III
Update: It’s a long season and Spiller could still gain traction this year, but Kelley is currently in the lead for the RB2 job according to The Athletic’s Daniel Popper.
Our pick to win: Isaiah Spiller
Spiller was a three-year player at Texas A&M, playing in 35 career games and rushing for nearly 3,000 career yards with 25 touchdowns. He complements starting running back Austin Ekeler really well. It won’t be exactly a thunder and lightning situation, but he is the ideal change of pace back for this offense when Ekeler is off the field. Spiller was drafted in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft and is my choice to win this training camp battle to be the backup.
In 2021, Kelley played in 10 games and ran the ball 33 times for 102 yards. Rountree played in 12 games and had 36 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. Neither of these guys really made an impact as the backup and will likely just be used as blockers or other options. Spiller balled out in college and has the talent to be Ekeler’s backup from the jump.
Joshua Palmer vs. Jalen Guyton vs. DeAndre Carter
Update: Palmer appears to have taken a decisive lead in this competition, per Albert Breer and multiple beat writers during training camp.
Our pick to win: Jalen Guyton
Last season, Guyton played in 16 games and brought in 31 of his 48 targets for 448 yards and three touchdowns. He emerged as a reliable speedster that could be open deep as he worked on his separation from the defense. Guyton has another offseason to work with Herbert, and with the other upgrades the team has made, he should have an even better year even as the third receiving option.
Palmer played in 17 games and had 33 receptions on 49 targets for 353 yards and four touchdowns. He was fine in his performance, but he didn’t really do anything that forced Herbert to involve him in the passing game. Carter is coming off a season with the Washington Commanders where he caught 24 of his 44 targets for 296 yards and three touchdowns. He is talented, but I don’t think he surpasses Guyton on the depth chart.
Gerald Everett vs. Donald Parham Jr. vs. Tre’ McKitty
Our pick to win: Gerald Everett
Everett is coming off a season with the Seattle Seahawks and avoided a poor quarterback situation in the upcoming year. He is coming off the best season of his five-year career and players in 15 games and caught 48 of 63 passes for 478 yards and four touchdowns. After Hunter Henry, Everett will be the best tight end that Herbert has played with. He will be a great safety valve, and the only disadvantage he has compared to Parham is that the latter is five inches taller at 6 ft. 8.
Parham and McKitty combined for 26 receptions on 35 targets for 235 yards and three touchdowns. Don’t be shocked when Parham gets in the field in the redzone as he will likely be the tallest player out there, but Everett should still emerge as the TE1 ahead of the season.