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NFL preseason report: Los Angeles Chargers

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See who’s trending up and who’s trending down throughout Chargers training camp and preseason.   

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

This page will be regularly updated with news and analysis regarding the Chargers’ skill position players throughout training camp and the preseason. ⬆︎ ⬇︎ Indicate which way a player’s fantasy value is trending and (R) denotes rookies.

Warren Sharp has the Chargers projected to face the NFL 3rd easiest schedule in 2018.

After combing through the Chargers’ section of Sharp’s 2018 Football Preview multiple times, it’s clear that something needs to be addressed. This could easily be one of the most dominant teams in football, however, due to perhaps the worst decision-making in the NFL this team unacceptably missed the playoffs in 2017.

The tale of the Chargers 2017 is one of pre and post-bye. Through Weeks 1-8 the Chargers play-calling was appalling, producing a 3-5 record. During their Week 9 bye they made substantial, necessary adjustments and closed Weeks 10-17 with a record of 6-2. Our only hope is that they learn from their mistakes and embrace an analytical viewpoint in 2018.

Sharp’s analysis of the 2017 Chargers is unparalleled and if you haven’t already, you need to stop what you’re doing and order the 2018 Football Preview. It will change the way you view the game.

Quarterback

Philip Rivers ⬆︎ -- Rivers is a perennially overlooked quarterback -- and that’s with the Chargers’ terrible play-calling. If the coaching staff can build on their second-half-of-2017 improvements, look out. Rivers will easily fulfill his 9th round ADP.Running Back

Melvin Gordon ⬆︎ -- I truly believe that Melvin Gordon’s ceiling is as high as any running back in 2018. His early season usage equated to the coaches having Gordon repeatedly run into brick walls. If they build on their improved Weeks 10-17 play-calling, this guy could easily rumble his way to double digit touchdowns. He’s proven to be a reliable pass-catcher and really shouldn’t leave the field except to rest. Additionally, with the Chargers cake schedule, Gordon will be in prime position to salt clocks all year long.

Austin Ekeler ⬆︎/⬇ -- Ekeler showed a dynamic pass-catching skill set in 2017 and the coaches at one point decided to see what they had in him by regularly giving him touches in a number of games. Ultimately, costly fumbles relegated him firmly to the No. 2 spot. He’s battled a calf injury thus far in camp.

Justin Jackson (R) ⬇ -- A hamstring injury has slowed the promising rookie’s progress through camp.

Detrez Newsome (R) ⬆︎ -- Newsome has played well throughout the preseason and is challenging Jackson for a spot on the roster.

Wide Receivers

Keenan Allen ⬆︎ -- Keenan Allen has unfairly been branded as an injury-prone player due to freak/collision-based injuries. These types of injuries are not indicative of a player being more likely to pull a hammy, quad, etc. (How often does a player suffer more than one lacerated kidney?) In the 2018 Football Preview, Evan Silva points out Allen led “all NFL receivers in red-zone targets”. Given Hunter Henry’s ACL tear and Antonio Gates being drastically over the hill (we all expect him to unretire at the end of training camp), there’s no reason to assume that Allen’s red-zone workload will decrease. Draft the dynamic wideout comfortably at the end of the 2nd round.

Tyrell Williams ⬆︎ -- Last year, a number of drafters liked Tyrell Williams as a smart, contrarian pick to the rookie Mike Williams (who at the time was dealing with a back injury). Tyrell was coming off a 1,059 yard, 7 touchdown campaign in 2016 and the assumption was that the 6’3” freak athlete would maintain his hold on No. 2 WR duties. While he did manage to do that, his season was a bit of a flop (728 yards, 4 touchdowns). However, given the improvements in play-calling and the sudden lack of weapons at the tight end position, Williams could be in-line for a bit of a bounceback. He’s a gamble, but at his 14th round ADP, that just fine.

Mike Williams ⬆︎ -- Mike was drafted 7th overall in 2017 due to his elite playmaking ability. Unfortunately, his rookie season was derailed by a back injury. All ill-effects of the back injury appear long gone, however. If the Chargers are able to line Mike up in the slot, he could become the defacto red-zone weapon that Antonio Gates long-ruled as. Draft him in the 9th round, at his current ADP.

Travis Benjamin ⬇ -- There’s speculation that the downfield receiver’s roster spot may be in jeopardy. Avoid him in drafts.

Tight End

Virgil Green ⬇ -- The athletic blocking tight end will not be fantasy relevant in 2018.

Antonio Gates ⬆︎ -- Gates technically isn’t on the roster but I think we all know he’s...on the roster. He won’t produce much yardage but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he finishes the year with 5+ red-zone TDs.