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Ladd McConkey Earns Praise ... But Will Role Match?

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Wed, 12 Jun 2024, 9:59 AM EDT

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.

What They're Saying

Popper: "The chemistry between Herbert and rookie receiver Ladd McConkey is continuing to blossom. ... He is already proving capable of winning easily and often in short areas of the field. His route running is pro-ready."

That matches up with the consensus evaluation of McConkey heading into the draft.

2024 Fantasy Football Impact

Although this looks like -- and is -- a positive report on the rookie, it hides a potential concern for McConkey's rookie-year production.

If he's primarily the slot WR, that could mean he's primarily taking the field only in sets with three or more wideouts. If Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston operate as the outside guys and starters in 2-WR formations, McConkey's playing time would take a hit. And that would come in an offense we're already not expecting to pass at a high rate.

Frankly, that's the biggest concern for McConkey's 2024 fantasy production -- not whether he's ready to run good routes and catch passes effectively from one of the league's better QBs.

Other Winners & Losers

If playing time does fall that way, then Palmer and Johnston should at least sit much closer to McConkey than they are in best ball ADP.

Currently, the rookie sits at WR40; Palmer at WR56; Johnston at WR68.

Our current half-PPR rankings find them at WR50, WR64, and WR69, respectively.

Consider the rating of McConkey and Palmer both behind ADP a knock on the team's projected passing volume.

Rankings Movement

We're not moving any Chargers WRs right now, but we'll be watching for more reports on their expected usage throughout the summer and adjust as needed.

None looks like a player you should specifically target in redraft right now.

Matt Schauf Author Image
Matt Schauf, Editor
Matt has earned two Fantasy Pros accuracy awards for IDP rankings and won thousands of dollars as a player across best ball, dynasty, and high-stakes fantasy formats. He has been creating fantasy football content for more than 20 years, with work featured by Sporting News, Rotoworld, Athlon, Sirius XM, and others. He's been with Draft Sharks since 2011.
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