2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: Chargers have plenty of firepower

Victims of the NFL playoff structure, the Chargers landed a 5 seed in 2018 despite tying for the best record in the AFC. Over the offseason they added to an already impressive array of defensive talent, and with Hunter Henry back to fill the hole left by Tyrell Williams' departure, the offense shouldn't miss a beat.   

2018 Review

Record: 12 - 4 (3rd in NFL)
PPG: 26.8 (6)
YPG: 372.6 (11)
Pass YPG: 255.6 (10)
Rush YPG: 117.1 (15)
PAPG: 32 (24)
RAPG: 24.9 (19)

2018 Fantasy finishes

QB: Philip Rivers - QB10
RB: Melvin Gordon - RB8; Austin Ekeler - RB25; Justin Jackson - RB73
WR: Keenan Allen - WR12; Mike Williams - WR31; Tyrell Williams* - WR48
TE: Antonio Gates* - TE30; Virgil Green - TE44
*No longer with team

Number to know: 27.9%

The percentage of the Chargers' targets that went to running backs in 2018, the second highest in the league. It will be interesting to see if that carries over to 2019 or if Hunter Henry and Mike Williams cut into the number.

2019 Offseason

"Right now we expect him to be ready to go, and he looks good." - Anthony Lynn, on Hunter Henry

Head Coach: Anthony Lynn (3rd year)
Offensive Coordinator: Ken Whisenhunt (4th year)  

Draft Picks 

1. (28) Jerry Tillery, DT
2. (60) Nasir Adderley, S
3. (91) Trey Pipkins, T
4. (130) Drue Tranquill, LB
5. (166) Easton Stick, QB
6. (200) Emeke Egbule, LB
7. (242) Cortez Broughton, DT

Additions

QB Tyrod Taylor, LB Thomas Davis

Key Departures

WR Tyrell Williams, TE Antonio Gates, DL Brandon Mebane, DL Corey Liuget, DB Adrian Phillips, DB Jason Verrett, DB Trevor Williams

Rankings and Projections

Player
Philip RiversQB14QB12QB17
Melvin GordonRB5RB5RB6
Austin EkelerRB37RB43RB35
Keenan AllenWR7WR9WR6
Mike WilliamsWR28WR27WR40
Hunter HenryTE6TE8TE6
Mike BadgleyK13K13N/A
Chargers DSTDST6DST6DST7
 
Heath Cummings' projected offensive stats
QBPhilip Rivers4,302 YD, 31 TD, 14 INT
RBMelvin Gordon238 ATT, 1,072 YD, 10 TD; 87 TAR, 63 REC, 583 YD, 4 TD
RBAustin Ekeler103 ATT, 514 YD, 3 TD; 54 TAR, 40 REC, 403 YD, 3 TD
WRKeenan Allen142 TAR, 102 REC, 1,264 YD, 6 TD
WRMike Williams87 TAR, 57 REC, 799 YD, 7 TD
TEHunter Henry82 TAR, 57 REC, 743 YD, 6 TD

Biggest Question

Will Hunter Henry be a hero or all hype?

"We barely saw Henry play in 2018 and he had just eight games with 70-plus yards in the two seasons prior. He has scored 12 times in 29 games and has been a better-than-average Fantasy tight end in terms of consistency (seven-plus non-PPR points in 55 percent of his starts). He'll be fine for your team so long as you don't reach, but competing for touchdowns with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams limits his upside." - Dave Richard

One sleeper, one breakout, and one bust

Sleeper: Philip Rivers

Oddly, it's probably Phillip Rivers again. Rivers doesn't crack my top 12 quarterbacks but in my projections he's less than a point per game behind top 10. The key will be whether the Chargers throw the ball more often than they did in 2019. If the volume goes up, Rivers will once again be a Draft Day steal.

Breakout: Hunter Henry

The Chargers have a pair of breakout candidates in Hunter Henry and Mike Williams. I'd prefer to bet on Henry, simply because the bar is so much lower for being a breakout tight end. Before 2018 the Chargers passing game was tight end heavy and there's a hope that returns with Henry healthy. He has top-four upside if he can stay healthy.

Bust: Mike Williams

Yes, Mike Williams is a breakout candidate, but it sure looks like people are going to draft him as if it already happened. The touchdown rate in 2018 was unsustainable and will likely be affected by Henry. With Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon, and Henry, it may be tough for Williams to earn enough targets to be a true difference maker.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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