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Los Angeles Chargers Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2024

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

Chargers RB Gus Edwards is sidelined with an undisclosed injury but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, HC Jim Harbaugh said on Thursday.

Chargers second-round rookie WR Ladd McConkey is reportedly meshing well with QB Justin Herbert in team workouts so far. Daniel Popper of The Athletic says McConkey has played "mostly in the slot." That probably lines up with most fans' expectations but doesn't align with his college usage. McConkey spent just 29.6% of his pass snaps in the slot across three seasons at Georgia, decreasing that rate each year.

Chargers third-round rookie LB Junior Colson garnered some early buzz for his work with the starting offense in OTAs. But more recent workouts have found him working behind second-year LB Daiyan Henley ... and others. According to The Athletic's Daniel Popper, Colson has paired with Shane Lee as the third-team ILB duo at this week's minicamp. A minor injury in May OTAs might have pushed the rookie temporarily down the depth chart. But we'll have to see whether Colson can climb it through summer.

New Chargers GM Joe Hortiz talked up WR Quentin Johnston in a recent interview with Kay Adams. "When he was coming out of college, he was an elite size/speed athlete. And you saw some rawness to his game," Hortiz said. "But as big as he is, 6'3, you watch him drop his weight, getting in and out of breaks, come to balance at the top of the route, get out quickly. He can do some rare things for a player his size. ... He's a great kid, he's a great worker. Everyone here has a high opinion of him. I believe he's really gonna launch. I really do. His skillset is great, we're gonna work with him, make him better and better."

The Chargers and WR D.J. Chark agreed to a one-year deal worth “up to” $5 million," according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Chark went for 1,008 yards back in 2019 but hasn't really been fantasy relevant since. He's missed 39 games over the last four seasons and averaged 48.6 yards per game. Chark finished a distant second to WR Adam Thielen with 525 receiving yards on a bad Panthers passing game last year. His 1.08 yards per route ranked 75th among 93 qualifying WRs. Chark isn't a guy you should be excited to bet on, although this is a solid landing spot with QB Justin Herbert and a wide-open WR corps. Chark, Ladd McConkey, Josh Palmer, and Quentin Johnston will duke it out for snaps this summer.

Chargers RB J.K. Dobbins said Monday that he's 100% recovered from the torn Achilles he suffered last September. "It was like a walk in the park, it was like a sprained ankle," Dobbins said. "It was very easy, because I had the knee [injury] -- the knee was pretty hard. The Achilles was, I would say, easy, just because that's my mentality. It was pretty easy to me." We'll file this under "believe-it-when-we-see-it." Full health is not the same as full effectiveness. RB Cam Akers quickly made it back from an Achilles injury but hasn't been the same runner since. Dobbins still isn't a player to invest heavily in at this point. But we'll be keeping a close eye on him this spring and summer. The Chargers' backfield will be a key situation for fantasy owners to monitor, with Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and rookie Kimani Vidal duking it out for touches.

The Chargers selected USC WR Brenden Rice in Round 7 of the NFL Draft. Rice spent his first two seasons at Colorado, where low pass volume led to light usage. That changed upon transferring to USC in 2022. Paired with top QB Caleb Williams, Rice set career highs in catches (39), yards (611), and TDs (4). His production reached another level last fall with Jordan Addison off to the NFL. The 6’2 Rice posted a 45-791-12 line -- enough to rank first among Trojans in TDs; second in catches and yards. He posted a strong 2.75 yards per route run while playing most of his snaps out wide. The 22-year-old also flashed reliable hands, dropping only 2 balls (4.3% drop rate). No surprise there, as Brenden is the son of NFL legend Jerry Rice. Note: While not a burner, Rice’s size and physicality allow him to win in contested and red zone situations. (His 2023 TD rate was an absurd 26.6%.) Although the seventh-round draft capital is a major red flag, Rice at least joins a Chargers WR corps with snaps up for grabs. The rookie is not worth a pick in early best-ball drafts but is a fine flier in Round 4 or 5 of dynasty rookie drafts.

The Chargers added Troy RB Kimani Vidal in Round 6 of the NFL Draft. Despite offers from LSU and South Carolina, the Georgia native took his talents to the Sun Belt Conference. Vidal averaged 11.2 carries per game as a true freshman and led the team in rushing – something he’d do in all four seasons. But his workloads really picked up from 2022-2023 for the run-heavy Trojans. In fact, Vidal was among the busiest college RBs with 526 carries (plus 44 catches) over that stretch. He held up well, too, missing only one game due to injury in his career. At nearly 5’8, 213 pounds, Vidal has bowling ball size and runs with matching intensity. Per The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, the 22-year-old’s 94 missed tackles forced ranked second in the FBS last season. He’s not special out of the backfield, but Vidal’s tape shows a capable receiver with more pass protection refinement than the average rookie. He lands in a nice spot under run-loving HC Jim Harbaugh in a relatively wide-open backfield alongside J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. It shouldn’t be considered a surprise if Vidal pushes for snaps in 2024.

The Chargers traded up in Round 2 of the NFL Draft to select Georgia WR Ladd McConkey 34th overall. McConkey’s raw college production doesn’t jump off the page. He never reached 60 catches or 800 yards in a season. But he played in a run-leaning Georgia offense and had to battle TE Brock Bowers (among others) for targets. McConkey was super efficient, leaving school with career 75.3% catch rate and 2.54 yards per route. His career-best 3.26 yards per route last year ranked eighth among 409 WRs with 35+ targets. McConkey is devastatingly quick and a polished route runner, making him one of the best separators in this WR class. And he’s a weapon after the catch, with a career 0.25 missed tackles forced per catch – a better rate than guys like Marvin Harrison Jr. and Rome Odunze. McConkey boosted his stock at the Combine with a 4.39-second 40 time and 9.34 Relative Athletic Score. The 6’0, 186-pounder can play both outside and in the slot. He might not big a big-play producer or high-TD-rate receiver at the next level, but McConkey has the potential to rack up a bunch of receptions. Going to the Chargers presents immediate opportunity. The WR corps shed Mike Williams and Keenan Allen this offseason, leaving Josh Palmer and Quentin Johnston as the top returning players. The landing spot helps McConkey's fantasy outlook. Check out our rookie rankings to see where he lands.

Former Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins plans to sign a one-year contract with the Chargers, according to multiple reports. This comes after Dobbins visited several teams. He lands with the franchise that already signed his former teammate Gus Edwards. We'll see about the specific terms of Dobbins' deal, but Edwards landed a two-year pact worth $6.5 million total, with $3.375 million in guarantees. We'll bet that Dobbins gets significantly less coming off his September Achilles' tear (and checkered injury history). The former second-round pick will be interesting to watch this summer, especially in a backfield that could present open competition for touches. But Edwards stands as the better bet for work right now. And we'd bet on the Chargers adding a RB in the draft. For now, don't let Chargers RBs factor heavily into your draft plans -- despite their modest best ball ADP numbers.

RB J.K. Dobbins (Achilles) has been cleared for football activities, his surgeon wrote in a letter to teams on Tuesday. Dobbins looks “outstanding” after his rehab from September Achilles surgery, Dr. Neal ElAttrache said. Dobbins is expected to begin taking free-agent visits soon, according to NFL Network's Pelissero. A torn ACL and torn Achilles have limited Dobbins to just nine games over the past three seasons, and it's fair to wonder if the 25-year-old can regain pre-injury form. He's no more than a late-round flier in early fantasy drafts. We'll see where he lands in free agency.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Chargers have agreed to a two-year deal with former Ravens RB Gus Edwards. There are several interesting points here: 1) The quick signing points to the Chargers specifically targeting Edwards. 2) New Chargers HC Jim Harbaugh should be fairly familiar with Edwards, who has played all his NFL seasons to date under HC John Harbaugh. 3) There's plenty of available opportunity. There's been no indication the Chargers plan to bring back Austin Ekeler (though we'll see) to what was one of the league's worst backfields in 2023. Harbaugh and new OC Greg Roman, meanwhile, bring run-heavy backgrounds. You shouldn't get excited about Edwards. But he makes plenty of sense later in best ball drafts. Just beware of him flying up the ADP board in the wake of this signing. Check our best ball rankings to see where Edwards lands.

The Panthers released TE Hayden Hurst, according to The Athletic's Joe Person. Hurst caught 18 balls over the first nine games of last season and then missed the final eight with a concussion that led to post-traumatic amnesia. Hurst has said that he wants to continue his football career, but he's not a good bet to be a fantasy asset in 2024 or beyond. We'll see where he lands next.

Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins is running short sprints and jogging on a treadmill in a recent video posted to social media. He's 5.5 months removed from surgery to repair his torn Achilles. It was the latest setback for a guy who's been snakebitten by injuries, most notably the Achilles and a multi-ligament knee injury in 2021. Dobbins has averaged a big 5.8 yards per carry across 234 NFL attempts, but there's no guarantee that he makes it back to pre-injury form. We'll continue to track his rehab from this latest injury but consider him just a late-round flier in early fantasy drafts.

New Chargers OC Greg Roman told reporters recently that he wants a "balanced" offense. "We want to be able to run it when we want to run it and throw it when we want to throw it," Roman added. "If they present looks that are favorable to run it, then we want to be able to run it at a high level. Every place I’ve been, that’s kind of been the goal, to try to have that complete attack." That jibes with HC John Harbaugh saying at his introductory press conference that he wants to "beef up the run game." Both Harbaugh and Roman have extensive histories of run-leaning offenses. That'd be a big shift for the Chargers, who ranked top-5 in pass attempts in each of QB Justin Herbert's first four seasons. It wouldn't make sense for Roman to deploy a super run-heavy offense with a QB as talented as Herbert. But we're certainly expecting the Chargers to throw less this coming season than they have the last four. Herbert and his pass catchers will need to make up for the loss in volume with improved efficiency.

RB Gus Edwards' contract with the Ravens voided on Monday, setting him up to hit free agency next month. Edwards led Ravens RBs and set career highs last year with 198 carries, 810 yards, and 13 TDs. His 4.1 yards per carry was a career low, although Edwards still ranked a respectable 20th out of 49 qualifying RBs in NFL Next Gen Stats' Rush Yards Over Expected Per Attempt. Edwards turns 29 in April and offers next to nothing in the passing game. But he's still capable of helping as a between-the-tackles and short-yardage back. We'll see where he lands in free agency. The Ravens' RB depth chart, meanwhile, is topped by a couple of guys recovering from serious injuries in J.K. Dobbins and Keaton Mitchell. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported recently that Baltimore could target a RB "with pedigree" in free agency. Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, Tony Pollard, and D'Andre Swift highlight the free-agent RB class.

The Chargers have hired Greg Roman as OC. He joins new HC Jim Harbaugh to lead a coaching staff with a run-heavy background. Roman has spent 10 years as an NFL OC with the 49ers (2011-14), Bills (2015-16), and Ravens (2019-22). Nine of those offenses ranked 28th or lower in pass attempts. All 10 ranked among the top 9 in rush attempts, including seven years inside the top 3. It's important to note the starting QBs for those teams. San Francisco (with Harbaugh as HC) transitioned from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick midway through 2012. Tyrod Taylor started for those Buffalo teams. And Lamar Jackson was the guy for Roman's full Baltimore run. Justin Herbert is clearly less of a runner than any of those guys and (arguably?) the best passer of the bunch. We wouldn't bet on the new Chargers going as run-heavy as all those previous offenses, but we have to expect more rushing lean than in the past few seasons. L.A. has finished three straight years with rush rates lower than 40%, ranking among the league's most pass-leaning teams. Roman's QBs have tended to pass efficiently. Smith, Kaepernick, and Taylor all posted better net yards per pass attempt under Roman than without him. And Jackson's hyper-efficient 2019 came in Roman's Baltimore debut. The Chargers have a lot more to sort through this offseason before we'll really know what the offense will look like. For now, though, we're lowering the expectation at least a bit for Chargers passing numbers. That said, Justin Herbert already sits just 10th among QBs in Underdog ADP. Feel free to take shots on him at that level, and know that he still carries upside beyond that.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Los Angeles Chargers have reached an agreement with Jim Harbaugh to become their new head coach. Harbaugh, who has coached the University of Michigan's football team since 2015, was last employed in the professional ranks with the San Francisco 49ers between 2011-14. He guided the 49ers to three straight NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl loss across those four years. This is undoubtedly a massive addition for a Chargers' offense that ranked 18th in total offense in 2023. Harbaugh's background (15 years as an NFL QB) and track record of success should bode well for the prospects of QB Justin Herbert and company. We'll be sure to follow any other significant changes coming in Los Angeles, including who becomes their next general manager, but their circumstances are starting to look up now with Harbaugh in the fold following a disappointing 5-12 season.

Chargers first-round rookie WR Quentin Johnston delivered one more garbage outing in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs. He managed just 2 receptions for 17 yards on 5 targets. That tied him for fourth among Chargers. He trailed WR Josh Palmer (10), RB Austin Ekeler (8), and TE Donald Parham (6) while tying the immortal Alex Erickson. Johnston finishes his debut season with just 36 receptions, 414 yards, and 2 TDs. He entered Sunday ranked 99th among WRs in PPR points per game. Johnston also sat just 22nd among 37 rookie WRs in yards per route, according to Pro Football Focus. He's not necessarily doomed as a fantasy prospect. But this rookie season has been bad enough to remove any optimism. We wouldn't drop Johnston from typical dynasty rosters. But you also shouldn't consider him a buy-low this offseason. If you have him and others come shopping, think about letting the potential bust go.

Chargers WR Josh Palmer has cleared concussion protocol and will play vs. the Chiefs this weekend. He's the best bet for targets in the Keenan Allen-less WR corps, but Palmer still isn't an exciting fantasy play with QB Easton Stick under center.

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