Home Fantasy Football Evaluating Justin Herbert’s fantasy football outlook

Evaluating Justin Herbert’s fantasy football outlook

by Guest Blogger

Based purely on talent, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is near the top of the heap, boasting plus athleticism, a great arm, and the confidence to attempt just about any throw. His numbers haven’t been as impressive. After passing for 5,014 yards and 38 touchdowns in his sophomore season, the former Oregon Duck saw his output dip to 4,739 yards and 25 TDs in 2022, and then 3,134 yards with just 20 TDs last year. A

finger injury cost Herbert the final four games, but even projecting his numbers comes out to a relatively disappointing 4,098 yards and 26 TDs.

The only constant throughout Herbert’s four seasons has been change, playing under a trio of offensive coordinators (Shane Steichen, Joe Lombardi, and Kellen Moore). That continues in 2024 as new head coach Jim Harbaugh has brought Greg Roman along as OC. On the personnel side, the standout receiver tandem of Keenan Allen (Chicago Bears) and Mike Williams (New York Jets) are both gone, as is tight end Gerald Everett (Bears).

On the field, Allen, who caught 380 passes over the last four seasons, is the biggest loss. It’s the change off it that could make an even bigger difference, however, as the tandem of Harbaugh and Roman have made no secret about their desire to control the line of scrimmage and run the football. It’s a philosophy that was driven home by the selection of offensive tackle Joe Alt with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft. LA also overhauled the running back room, signing former Baltimore Ravens J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards as the top two backs.

At receiver, the Bolts will try to replace Allen and Williams with returning talent Joshua Palmer (38-581-2 in 2023) and last year’s first-rounder Quentin Johnston (38-431-2), free-agent signee DJ Chark Jr. (35-525-5) with the Carolina Panthers), and second-round selection Ladd McConkey. There are some interesting names here, particularly if Johnston can develop into the player that thought they were getting with the 21st overall pick a year ago, but nobody comes with the track record of Williams, much less Allen.

Fantasy football outlook

A change in coaching, a change in offensive philosophy, and a change in personnel. Add it all up and it’s a lot to overcome for anyone, especially when you consider that Herbert has already seen his numbers trend in the wrong direction the past couple of years. That’s the glass half-empty perspective.

The optimistic viewpoint centers on Herbert’s skill set and a belief that you don’t pay a quarterback north of $50 million per season to have him throw 20 passes a game. He’s a tremendous talent, and he has shown a willingness throughout his career to target whoever is on the field in any situation, so don’t expect him to be gun shy with lesser known wideouts. Whether they can deliver is yet to be known.

While he’s best viewed as a QB2, Herbert carries viable upside. He may prove to be frustrating to play in fantasy, however.

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