Due to the excitement and rise of the Chiefs, the Chargers went overlooked last season. At 12-4, they finished with the same record as KC, but didn’t win the division due to losing the tiebreaker. The roster hasn’t been changed too much, although there is reason to think the Chargers could be better this season. They finished with the 10th ranked defense by DVOA last season even though star defensive end Joey Bosa missed more than half the season with a foot injury. Still in tact, the offense finished third in DVOA and returns Stephen A. Smith favorite, Hunter Henry, from a torn ACL. The 9.5 win total for the Chargers seems a bit low coming off the strong play from last season.

Team Preview

Key Departures:

Jahleel Addae, S; Kyle Emanuel, LB; Darius Philon, DT; Jason Verrett, CB; Tyrell Williams, WR

Key Acquisitions:

Nasir Adderley, CB; Thomas Davis, LB; Tyrod Taylor, QB; Jerry Tillery, DT

2019 Fantasy MVP

Melvin Gordon, RB

If you want to land Gordon in a fantasy draft, he’s going to cost a pick in the middle of the first round. He’s worth the cost due to his massive role in the Chargers’ offense. Gordon has had an interesting career since there was a pretty wide gap between his real life and fantasy value heading into last season. As the lead back, he’s always gotten a lot of volume, but efficiency was always an issue for him. For fantasy, it never really mattered since the Chargers were willing to run him into the ground and give him massive touches no matter the results. Before last season, Gordon had never averaged more than 3.9 yards per carry. This is where things turned since he averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season. Gordon has scored at least 12 touchdowns in three straight years and dominates the red-zone touches. With his high volume and new found efficiency, Gordon is one of the safest running back options to draft.

2019 Fantasy LVP

Hunter Henry, TE

Prior to getting injured, I thought last season could have been a breakout year for Henry. While I still like him as a player, the issue I have with him is his current draft position. On average, Henry is currently getting picked in the sixth round and is the fifth tight end coming off the board. This is a great offense and he should benefit from being involved, but there are a bit too many risks involved based on where he’s getting selected. The knee injury he’s coming off is significant. There is no way to know that he will be the same as he was prior to the injury and he wasn’t a fantasy juggernaut in his last healthy season. Henry was a nice asset with 579 yard and four scores, it’s just not the production I am looking for from a pick that high. Factoring in the rise of Mike Williams taking red-zone targets and there is more downside than upside in Henry compared to his draft slot.

2019 Breakout Player

Mike Williams, WR

Williams sort of has already broken out, but I think he’s in store for a bigger season. A top-10 pick in the 2017 Draft, he didn’t have much of a role in his rookie season. Williams was held under 100 yards and didn’t catch a touchdown. Last season, he worked himself into a more prominent role and his 6’4″, 220-pound frame made him a key target of Philip Rivers in the red zone. He caught 10 touchdown passes and is in line for a bigger role with Tyrell Williams no longer on the roster. Mike Williams won’t surpass Keenan Allen as the top receiver, but his role grew as the season progressed. Williams saw 16 targets in the Chargers’ two playoff games and 24 targets in the final four regular-season games. In the first nine regular-season games, he was only targeted 32 times, so his overall usage is trending upwards.

Final Thoughts

With a 9.5 win total, I think this is one of the most undervalued teams in football. If Tyreek Hill is suspended for the Chiefs then I think there is an argument to be made that the Chargers (+175) should be favored to win the division.

As much as I love Gordon, there is a small amount of concern with him since he missed four games last season with a knee injury. When healthy, this shouldn’t impact his role in the offense, but he gets so much touches that he’s made more susceptible to injuries. For this reason, Austin Ekeler is a great handcuff option to draft in late rounds alongside Gordon. When given the chance to spell Gordon, Ekeler has proven to be extremely efficient. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and 10.4 yards per reception in his limited work. If anything happens to Gordon, then Ekeler has the ability to replace all of the production.

Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.