There is no question where the Chargers stand - they are squarely in their “win-now” window. They have a young, stud QB on a rookie deal. Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams aren’t getting any younger. Now is the time to push the chips and make a serious run for a championship. They’re going to extend Justin Herbert and he has a lot of time left obviously but there are only so many chances they will have with this particular cast of characters. And they’ll once again be everyone’s “dark horse” favorite to get it done.


With this series, we are taking a look at each NFL team to gauge the direction of the offense from a dynasty fantasy football perspective. Is this team gearing up for a Super Bowl run? Are they in the midst of a rebuild? Are they considering blowing it up? We’ll take all of that into account as well as the current contracts, upcoming free agents, and 2023 NFL draft class to give you our best recommendations on how to handle these weapons in your dynasty fantasy football leagues.

Recommendations Key

BUY - Attempt to acquire this player at or slightly above market value

HOLD - The player is likely more valuable than the market indicates. Hold them if you have them or try to acquire them at a discount.

SELL - The perceived value for this player is higher than the projected remaining value in your average dynasty league. Cash out now.

SELL/DROP - Depending on the depth of the league, always try to sell guys before dropping. But this player is likely not worth the bench spot he’s occupying so you might need to just drop them.  

*Contract information is proved courtesy of*

Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback


The Chargers have one quarterback under contract for 2023.

Justin Herbert - age 24

Contract: Justin Herbert is under contract for this season on his rookie deal. He was a first round pick so, if they can’t figure out an extension now, they will pick up his fifth year option for 2024. 

Outlook:  The question is not if the Chargers will pay Justin Herbert but more when and how much. Since entering the league he has finished as QB9, QB2, and QB11. He’s a guy that you put into that starting QB slot and forget about it.

Dynasty Recommendation: BUY - There is an argument to be made that the “dink and dunk” offensive philosophy of Joe Lombardi has been holding Justin Herbert back. If you take all the QBs that threw at least 150 balls this year, Herbert’s average depth of target of 6.9 yards would rank 38th out of 40. Joe Lombardi is gone now so expect more aggressive passes down field. In fact, Mike McCarthy actually criticized Kellen Moore for being TOO aggressive on offense and scoring so fast he didn’t give the defense time to rest. In real football he might have a point but, in fantasy football, that sounds great. Herbert was also missing at least one of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, or Gerald Everett for 12 of 17 games this season. They’ll need to retool as this group ages out but, at 24 years old, Hebert has a lot of football left to play. He’s expensive but it’s the kind of expensive where he’s worth the price of admission, especially in super flex and two QB leagues.

FREE AGENTS: Chase Daniel, Easton Stick

Free Agency/Draft Outlook

Starting quarterback is set but they’ll obviously need a reliable backup behind Justin Herbert. They essentially have three options since they aren’t in a position to spend up big at the position. You could draft a guy and have him under contract on a cheap deal for four years. You could bring back Chase Daniel. Or you could go with the option I prefer which is let the new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore bring in someone that knows the system and can help get guys assimilated. Andy Dalton is probably going to be too expensive so we are most likely looking at Cooper Rush or Ben DiNucci.

Los Angeles Chargers Running Backs


The Chargers have three running backs under contract and one signed to a reserves/future deal. They also have fullback Zander Horvath.

Austin Ekeler - age 27

Contract: Austin Ekeler is signed for this year then he’s an unrestricted free agent.

Outlook: Austin Ekeler’s story is the dream that most fantasy gamers have for their long shot picks. An undrafted back who carved out a role in the pass game then parlayed that into a full time starting RB role. And even that is underselling it a bit as he was the PPR RB1 this past season.

Dynasty Recommendation: SELL - There is a caveat to this - if you are competing now you really don’t want to do moves that make your starting lineup worse. I really hate the notion of selling just to sell at peak value when Ekeler likely has RB2 years left at the very worst so he’ll contribute to competitive lineups. But there are three major concerns for me so I’m not opposed to packaging him up in a deal that makes your team better now if you are competing or helps you get younger if you are not. One issue we briefly talked about is Joe Lombardi getting fired. Not only was he part of those Saints offenses that threw heavily to Alvin Kamara but, when he was calling plays for the Lions in 2014, Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, and Theo Riddick combined for 159 targets. Lombardi is the ideal play caller for a pass catching RB. The next concern is the chance they bring in a complimentary back. Austin Ekeler has never run for 1,000 yards and it was pretty clear in that Jaguars playoff game that the Chargers could not run the ball when the other team knew all they had to do was chew the clock. There is a real chance they bring in a bruiser here. The last concern is age. When he turns 28 in May, there will only be three starting RBs 28 or older - Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones, and Austin Ekeler (Leonard Fournette is also 28 but was released). Father time is undefeated and he’s especially cruel to RBs.

Isaiah Spiller - age 21

Contract: Isaiah Spiller was drafted in the fourth round in 2022 and is on his rookie deal through 2025.

Outlook: The fourth rounder with his 6’0” ~225 pound frame was expected to contribute in short yardage situations as a complement to Austin Ekeler but he ended up being beaten out for the role by Sony Michael and Joshua Kelley. To say his 41 yards rushing on the season was disappointing would be an understatement.

Dynasty Recommendation: SELL - I wouldn’t drop him just yet as we wait to see how this offseason shakes out. But running back is a position where you can and should carve out a role right away considering teams WANT to split the backfield up so it’s a pretty big indictment that he was a healthy scratch for huge portions of the season. He’s also fighting for the less desirable plodder role in this offense and, on top of all that, his workout metrics like speed and burst score are all in the bottom fourth percentile per Player Profiler. I’d sell for whatever you can get.

Josh Kelley - age 25

Contract: Josh Kelley is under contract through 2023. He can be released for $1 million in savings with dead cap of just under $200K. 

Outlook: We’ve seen plenty of Josh Kelley over three years and it has not been good. He has a 3.5 career yards per attempt on over 200 carries and he doesn’t add much in the pass game.

Dynasty Recommendation: SELL/DROP - In modern fantasy football, we really need guys that are at least getting the pass down work. Especially if they are also inefficient runners. You don’t need to hang onto Kelley.

RESERVE/FUTURE: Larry Rountree

Free Agency/Draft Outlook

I mentioned it above with Austin Ekeler but it really might be wise for this team to invest in a complementary back to Austin Ekeler, even if that would not be ideal for fantasy football. It would extend Ekeler’s career and allow him to focus on what he does best which is operate on pass downs. There are a number of options for early down backs in this draft like DeWayne McBride or Roschon Johnson. Or they could sign a trusty veteran like a Damien Harris

Los Angeles Chargers Wide Receivers


The Chargers have three wide receivers under contract for 2023 with one signed to reserve/future deals.

Keenan Allen - age 30

Contract: Keenan Allen is under contract through 2024. The Chargers essentially have until March 19th to cut or trade Allen, if they are going to, as an additional portion of his contract becomes fully guaranteed on March 20th.

Outlook: There were rumors floating around that Allen could be a cap casualty but Chargers GM Tom Telesco recently came out and said that Keenan Allen isn’t going anywhere. So that’s great for Chargers fans and fantasy football fans alike.

Dynasty Recommendation: BUY - Here’s what I do if I’m one of the best teams in my dynasty league right now. I go through all the teams in my league, starting with the worst ones, and look for older players that could crack my lineup this year. Then I have an open dialogue with the owner of that team, something along the lines of “I’m going all in, you should play for the future, give me Keenan Allen for this draft pick”. The targets were already highly consolidated on this team and, if fewer of them will be going to the RB like we suspect, that means more for guys like Keenan.  

Mike Williams - age 28

Contract: Mike Williams is under contract for 2024. He could be released next offseason for $20 mil in savings with only $7 mil in dead cap but they have no reason to do that as of now.

Outlook: 2022 was a quintessential Mike Williams season. The highs were high, the lows were low, and he missed time with injury. In six seasons now, the only time he’s played every game was 2019 when he was a part time player.

Dynasty Recommendation: HOLD - There’s no doubt there are some scary narratives surrounding this player. And some folks might not be able to stomach the boom/bust nature of his game. But he still has multiple years left of high level play with one of the league’s best young quarterbacks. There are only so many guys capable of double digit target games with 130+ yard performances. There are only so many guys capable of 1,000+ yards AND 10+ TDs in a season. I’m willing to deal with the inconsistency for the upside - especially because the injuries and inconsistency mean he’s a hard player to sell at full value. The true best format for a guy like this is best ball though, where you don’t get hurt by the bad games or the ones where he leaves after 10 snaps.

Joshua Palmer - age 23

Contract: Joshua Palmer was drafted in the third round in 2021 so he’s under contract through 2024.

Outlook: Joshua Palmer through has first two years has been the odd man out - he comes in for three WR sets but it’s Allen and Williams in two WR sets. We’ve seen what he’s capable of when guys get hurt so he just needs to wait his turn, like Chris Godwin did in Tampa Bay.

Dynasty Recommendation: HOLD - If you can buy him for cheap then grab him and stash him. He’s a contested catch/possession receiver which is a good thing for scoring touchdowns but he’s not going to rack up a ton of YAC. He needs to be peppered with targets to be fantasy relevant and that can’t happen on a part time snap share. Mike Williams turns 29 this year and Keenan Allen turns 31 so we’re basically just waiting. If he can score a second contract, the 23 year old Palmer could be playing with the 24 year old Justin Herbert for a very long time.

RESERVE/FUTURE: John Hightower

FREE AGENTS: Deandre Carter, Jalen Guyton, Michael Bandy

Free Agency/Draft Outlook

This team has what they need in terms of starting WRs with Allen, Williams, and Palmer. But they obviously are going to need depth. Deandre Carter also returned both punts and kicks for them so they’ll need someone to fill that role. With Allen and Williams getting up there in age, a perfect offseason at the WR position would look like this: bring back Deandre Carter if he’s affordable, add a cheap but reliable veteran to be the “next man up” in case of injury, and take a stab on a WR prospect in the draft. Doesn’t have to be a high end pick but give yourself a shot at upside, maybe with pick 86 in the third. There is a big dropoff in the fourth or later rounds for WR where most of those guys are either special teams or depth.

Los AngelesChargers Tight Ends


The Chargers have two tight ends under contract and one signed to a reserve/future contract.

Gerald Everett - age 28

Contract: Gerald Everett is under contract for this season. He could be released with $4.25 mil in savings with $4 mil in dead cap. If traded they could save an extra $1.5 million. 

Outlook: Gerald Everett was a guy you could trust in fantasy when one of Keenan Allen or Mike Williams was hurt but he was inconsistent otherwise. He honestly wasn’t even a full time player - he only played two games with more than 70% of the snaps and he never played more than 75%. At times it looked like conditioning might have been an issue but it might have just been a scheme decision to take him out for a better blocker. There are rumors he could be released and, unlike the Keenan Allen rumors, the GM has not come out to publicly defend Everett as of now.

Dynasty Recommendation: SELL - This was really Everett’s chance to be a star in fantasy football and, even with the wide receivers missing a combined 13 games, he was “just okay”. There is probably no better landing spot out there than the one he’s already in so I’m just cashing out now before the wheels fall completely off. We just saw the upside and it was “meh”.

Tre McKitty - age 24

Contract: McKitty is under contract through 2023.

Outlook: McKitty unfortunately has gone down the path of the dark side for tight end - the blocking side. In two years he only has 117 total receiving yards and, this past season, he was asked to block on 23.5% of his pass plays. He played 569 snaps on the season and 338 of them he spent blocking.

Dynasty Recommendation: SELL - There is a misconception that tight ends just take forever do anything and, in McKitty’s case, that misconception is working in our favor. We did a full write-up that clears up that misconception and explains where/when tight ends have the opportunity to break out but, luckily, not everyone out there has read that. So, if Everett does get cut, you might be able to sell McKitty to the fantasy gamer that just looks at the depth chart and says “McKitty is the starting TE now so he’ll be good at catching passes all of a sudden”. 

Stone Smartt - age 24

Contract: Stone Smartt is under contract through 2024.

Outlook: Unlike McKitty, Smart only blocked on 4% of his pass plays and, at 6’4” 226 profiles as more of a pass catching tight end. Unfortunately he didn’t get much playing time.

Dynasty Recommendation: HOLD - Honestly, the back story for Stone Smartt is one we like in fantasy football. He was actually a quarterback who lost the job at Old Dominion and converted to WR (where he also returned kickoffs). Given his size, his best bet at the NFL level was to convert to tight end. If you are in a VERY deep league, he’s kind of a fun stash, hoping maybe he can be the next Logan Thomas. But the odds of him actually being the top pass catching tight end for the Chargers in September are pretty low. Still, wouldn’t it be awesome if your buddies talked trash for adding Stone Smartt then he ended up as Justin Herbert’s starting tight end?

RESEVER/FUTURES: Hunter Kampmoyer

FREE AGENTS: Richard Rodgers, Donald Parham

Free Agency/Draft Outlook

This really all boils down to what happens with Gerald Everett. If they keep him, they have pretty much what they need at the position. Maybe they try to draft the tight end of the future but Everett would be the pass catching tight end for fantasy purposes in 2023. If they cut Everett, it gets interesting. That gives you a window to sell Tre McKitty (and maybe Donald Parham for the delusional gamers that think maybe he will come back and then they will stop using him as a blocking tight end). We also have to admit that our Stone Smartt narrative is also probably pretty delusional - the reality is that, if they move on from Everett, it will be to upgrade the position which means they have a free agent or draft prospect in mind.

Follow Andrew Cooper on Twitter @CoopAFiasco for more NFL and fantasy football insights and stay tuned as we hit on all 32 NFL teams in this series leading into NFL free agency!


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