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ESPN: What you can expect from the Chargers in fantasy football

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NFL: Preseason-San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN released their 2016 fantasy projections for every position of all 32 teams. ESPN’s Eric D. Williams also provided his thoughts on the Chargers fantasy outlook for the upcoming season.

The San Diego offense has the potential to put up a lot of points this season and odds are that a bunch of the team’s players are going to make big impacts in your league.

Quarterback:

Philip Rivers finished last season No. 2 in the NFL in passing yards and led the league in attempts and completions. Although he might not eclipse those numbers, he should be among the league leaders again.

ESPN Fantasy Projection: 4,495 yards, 28 TDs

Philip Rivers has been one of the best quarterbacks in the game for a long time. He has put up fairly good fantasy numbers in the process. Rivers is primed for another top season with the additions of Travis Benjamin and Hunter Henry.

The Chargers should also have an improved running game which may hurt Rivers’ numbers somewhat, but should make him a more efficient passer. I have no problems with Rivers’ projections. He should eclipse the 4,000-yard mark easily and put up around 30 TDs.

Running back:

Chargers tailback Melvin Gordon didn't score a touchdown as a rookie, but Ken Whisenhunt's scheme should boost Gordon's production in his second season.

ESPN Fantasy Projection: 918 yards, 4 TDs

With the struggles Melvin Gordon had in his rookie season, I think these stats are pretty fair. I think the Chargers are going to try and get Gordon going early almost every week. The emphasis on the run game may be something that improves his fantasy stock, but he isn’t a trustworthy starter yet.

I think that if Gordon can reach these numbers it’s a good sign for the Chargers. The team needs Gordon to become a viable starting running back and it would also mean a lot to Gordon’s fantasy owners.

Wide receiver:

Keenan Allen led the NFL with 67 receptions through eight weeks last season before suffering a lacerated kidney that ended his year. Now healthy, the expectation is that Allen will pick up where he left off.

ESPN Fantasy Projections: 105 catches, 1,196 yards, 6 TDs

Keenan Allen has a chance to be a true first option at wide receiver in fantasy leagues this season. He was other worldly through 8 games last year and if he could stay on the field, Allen is in for some major production.

Rivers and Allen were a tremendous connection last season and with even better weapons surrounding him, Allen should have more room to operate over the middle. If he’s on the board in a PPR league in the second round, I would at least put him on your short list. Allen’s potential is sky-high and probably the best fantasy option on the Chargers.

Tight End:

Even though Antonio Gates has showed some signs of slowing down, he remains a reliable target on third down and in the red zone.

ESPN Fantasy Projections: 61 catches, 702 yards , 6 TDs

The 36-year-old tight end is still playing at a high level. It amazes me that Gates can still put up numbers even at his age. With the tight end of the future Henry sitting behind him, Gates may see a dip in his production as the season wears on.

Even with Henry on Gates’ heels, Rivers and the veteran tight end have some tremendous chemistry. He is going to be Rivers’ security blanket yet again and when the team is inside the 20, he will surely be looking for Gates.

One thing to note with Gates is his injury history. Odds are, Gates is going to miss some time so keep an eye out for Henry on your league’s waiver wire.

Defense/Special Teams:

The addition of nose tackle Brandon Mebane should improve the run defense up front, while rookie defensive end Joey Bosa will be a bonus once he's on the field.

ESPN Fantasy Projections: 35 sacks, 12 interceptions, 9 fumble recoveries

Williams hits the nail right on the head with his analysis here. The run defense should be better and that is half the battle with the Chargers defense. They have been terrible in stopping the run and if that changes in 2016, it will take a lot of pressure off a questionable secondary.

The defense as a whole is filled with question marks at every level. I can’t get a grip on how the team will play. Even though it’s only preseason, the team has had a pair of up and down performances and it would probably be safe to shy away from the Chargers defense for now.