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Fantasy Football Rankings and the Chargers: ESPN’s Mike Clay

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A look at fantasy rankings and how the Chargers players are viewed via ESPN’s Mike Clay

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers Workout Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve become a big fan of ESPN’s Mike Clay over the last couple years. He has consistently been a fan of the Chargers, in fantasy and in real life, and continually has picked them to not only make the playoffs in ‘17 and ‘18, but to also challenge for a title.

Although the hype he gave the team did not come to fruition last season, the attention he gave to the Chargers’ players in fantasy football was right on the money. In ESPN leagues (PPR scoring), here’s how the the Bolts’ players fared:

Melvin Gordon - RB

  • 284 Carries
  • 1,105 Rushing Yards
  • 8 Rushing Touchdowns
  • 58 Catches on 83 Targets
  • 476 Receiving Yards
  • 4 Receiving Touchdowns
  • Finished the year as RB5

Keenan Allen - WR

  • 102 Catches on 159 targets
  • 1,393 Receiving Yards
  • 6 Receiving Touchdowns
  • 2 Carries
  • 9 Rushing Yards
  • Finished the year as WR3

Philip Rivers - QB

  • Completed 360/575 Passes
  • 4,515 Passing Yards
  • 28 Passing Touchdowns
  • 10 Interceptions
  • Finished the year as QB8

Tyrell Williams - WR

  • 43 Catches
  • 728 Receiving Yards
  • 4 Receiving Touchdowns
  • Finished the year as WR45

Travis Benjamin - WR

  • 34 Catches
  • 567 Receiving Yards
  • 4 Receiving Touchdowns
  • 13 Carries
  • 96 Rushing Yards
  • Finished the year as WR50

Austin Ekeler - RB

  • 47 Carries
  • 260 Rushing Yards
  • 2 Rushing Touchdowns
  • 27 Catches
  • 279 Receiving Yards
  • 3 Receiving Touchdowns
  • Finished the year as RB45

For the upcoming 2018 fantasy football season, here’s how Clay has the Chargers’ skill players ranked:

Philip Rivers - QB12

Rivers continues to be extremely affordable as a late round quarterback that should yield top-10 scoring numbers at the position. Even with the recent loss of Hunter Henry, Rivers still possesses a plethora of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Look for Mike Williams to pick up some slack while all three running backs should see an uptick in targets.

Melvin Gordon - RB10

A little lower than I would have expected for Gordon but understandable when you see guys like Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, and Dalvin Cook ahead of him as these guys should be leaned on a lot more while Gordon may end of ceeding carries to Austin Ekeler and rookie Justin Jackson. Fans of Gordon should still be excited as this may push Gordon into a late round 2 or early round 3 consideration.

Keenan Allen - WR6

I believe this to be just the right spot for Allen after the season he just had. Like Julio Jones of the Falcons, Allen has been slightly allergic to the end zone but eats up enough targets that it doesn’t matter most of the time. He will once again be leaned on heavily in the passing attack, especially with Hunter Henry out for the year. Anything outside of top-10 production for Allen would be insane.

Mike Williams - WR69 (NICE)

After a disappointing year for the former seventh-overall pick, it seems like Clay believes Williams is in store for an increased target share after sustaining some healthiness through the off-season. Williams has all the tools in the world to be successful within this offense, but his ability to learn the offense will be the the one thing to hold him back, if he lets it.

Tyrell Williams - WR84

Quite the drop for Williams after being just two years removed from a 1,000-yard season. Williams unfortunately will lose targets to Mike Williams but he should still get a healthy amount of looks after the loss of Hunter Henry. He is another tall wideout with blazing speed that should find his success on crossers and deeper routes. Depending on how the other Williams progresses, Tyrell might just be the steal of this offense, once again.

Travis Benjamin - Not Ranked

If Mike Williams comes along like he’s expected to, Benjamin might be the lone guy out of this offense. His looks should increase with Henry’s injury, but his role as a consistent contributor will be in danger, nonetheless. However, Benjamin and the coaches are aware of his role as a deep threat within the offense and you just know he will be good for a long touchdown just about once every three or four weeks.

Austin Ekeler - RB59

Ekeler was such a nice surprise for Chargers fans last season as he carved out a prominent role for himself in this offense after making the team as a UDFA. Ekeler showed excellent vision and acceleration on his limited carries, making the most of his time on the field. Gordon is still the workhorse of this offense, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ekeler continue to get 6-8 carries a game on top of a couple targets from Rivers, as well.

Chargers Defense/Special Teams - D/ST8

It’s awesome to see the defense and special teams getting some love after a chunk of years in irrelevancy. The defensive backfield is stacked with talent. The duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram has been rated a top-5 passing rushing unit in the NFL. There’s just so much to love here. The Chargers’ defense should be a priority selection in the last several rounds