The Los Angeles Chargers, and fantasy owners alike, can be thankful for Justin Herbert’s fantastic rookie season.
He wasn’t the first quarterback off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft. He wasn’t even the second. The Cincinnati Bengals took Joe Burrow with the first overall pick, and the Miami Dolphins used the fifth selection of the first round to take Tua Tagovailoa. Herbert went sixth, just one pick later. But boy, are the Chargers happy that five teams passed on him.
Herbert is in the NFL’s top 10 in passing yards (9th, 2,699) yards per attempt (10th, 7.7) passing touchdowns (7th, 22) and passer rating (8th, 104.7.) He is mature beyond his years, he shows excellent pocket awareness, and minimizes mistakes, with only six interceptions and one lost fumble through his first nine games.
Every stat, every indicator out there fully backs up Herbert’s success and suggests that he can keep performing at this level. He’s leading the NFL in passer rating under pressure, with 100.2 (ahead of Russell Wilson’s 92.3) and currently holds the fifth highest single-season PFF (Pro Football Focus) passing grade by rookie signal-caller since 2010, with 75.0.
Herbert also has the most Big-Time Throws by a rookie passer through 11 games since the 2013 season, with 21. A Big-Time Throw is described as “a pass with excellent ball location and timing,” per PFF.
He’s doing all this at 22 years old, which is mind-blowing. He’s had five three-touchdown games in his last seven starts. He is, hands down, the favorite for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but to be fair, he’s playing at an MVP level.
It would be very difficult for him to win the MVP award in real life. But if we consider the expectations that every QB had before the season, he might as well be fantasy’s most valuable player.
And if you, by any chance, are still worried about the sustainability of his performance, keep in mind that he has one of the league’s most consistent wide receivers in Keenan Allen and pass-catching machine Austin Ekeler is nearing a return. He has other weapons, too. Having a 6-foot-4, jump ball specialist in Mike Williams is also pretty good. Herbert is not going away, folks. He’s a joy to watch.
Those who roster Herbert in Dynasty formats can salivate at the potential of having a QB1 for years to come, potentially the next decade, if all things go right. And so far, they are going smoothly.