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3 Chargers land in Mike Clay’s Top-80 rookies for fantasy football

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Are you planning to draft any of these guys this year?

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

All the fantasy football rankings around the web have all likely done some re-shuffling since the end of the 2020 NFL draft. Now that all the dust has settled, fantasy analysts have all put together their latest lists and tried their hardest to fit in all the new players recently injected into the NFL landscape.

For ESPN’s Mike Clay, that means a brand new list of rookie rankings, or more specifically, his 2020 top-80 rookies for dynasty leagues.

Within Clay’s early top-80, three Chargers make an appearance: quarterback Justin Herbert (29th), running back Joshua Kelley (36th), and wide receiver K.J. Hill (60th). Quarterbacks, since they are arguably the deepest position in fantasy, don’t get a lot of hype right away. That’s why this year’s first-overall pick Joe Burrow is only 20th on the list. So of course, Herbert is understandably low.

In another recent article by Clay, he laid out his fantasy projections for each offensive skill player drafted in the first two rounds this year. For Herbert, Clay forecasts the rookie to start 14 games and throw for around 3,320 yards and 18 touchdowns with 12 interceptions plus run for another 169 yards and score twice on the ground. On per-game average, that would be 237.1 passing yards, 1.28 touchdowns, and 0.85 interceptions per game. Obviously not the best stat line for fantasy purposes but it could be a whole lot worse.

Here are some of Clay’s thought’s on the above projections:

“Herbert will enter his first training camp behind veteran Tyrod Taylor, but it will be a surprise if he’s not under center by Week 4. He’ll enjoy a decent supporting cast (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, Austin Ekeler), but like Burrow and Tagovailoa, Herbert is a long shot for rookie-season fantasy value and doesn’t need to be drafted in most formats.”

At No. 36, Kelley is the 14th running back on Clay’s board rookie board but the 185th player on his overall top-300 dynasty rankings, one spot ahead of teammate Justin Jackson. At this point, ranking Kelley and Jackson right next to each other is the smart moving knowing the only backfield competition with the Chargers is going to be those two fighting for snaps alongside Austin Ekeler.

Hill comes in as the 28th-ranked rookie wide receiver on Clay’s initial board but I think this one will change fairly quickly once the season gets here. Although he wasn’t even the first wideout drafted by the Chargers this year, he has the elite route-running skills to get open early and often and should push immediately for the Bolts’ WR3 spot.