Drafting Chargers receivers this fantasy year is a wild proposition, given the bounty of options Hebert has at his disposal.
When healthy, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are one of the most talented receiver tandems in the league. Quentin Johnston is sure to get plenty of opportunities in his rookie year, Josh Palmer is a reliable rotational receiver, Darius Davis should get some sneaky play-making opportunities, and Jalen Guyton is sure to reprise his role as a deep-ball specialist.
Oh yeah... and there’s also a running back coming off a 107 catch season.
It’s pretty easy to assume the ball is going to be spread around in 2023! With that being the case, how many targets are left over for the Bolts’ tight ends?
Gerald Everett - high floor/low ceiling, or breakout candidate?
Gerald Everett has been given multiple opportunities in his career to take over as a team’s top tight end. Despite getting drafted in the second round by the Rams, he never broke out as their go-to starter. He then left for the Seattle Seahawks in 2021, and started a career-high 12 games. This was the season where we saw Russell Wilson’s play fall of a cliff, and Everett was held to only 48 catches, 478 yards and four touchdowns. He then came to Los Angeles last season and put up his best numbers, a 58 catch, 555 yard, and four touchdown season.
Everett is in his contract year, and it’s hard to see the Chargers extending him next year given their dire cap situation. With his AAV currently set at $6,000,000, a solid year for Everett should elevate him above a figure the Bolts can afford to pay.
PFF currently projects Everett to essentially match his 2022 numbers with a 53.6 catch, 521.3 yard, 3.7 line, which slates him as their TE12. With offensive line health, an intact Justin Herbert ribcage, and Kellen Moore the calling plays I firmly believe the offense simply can’t drop below last year’s numbers. As long as Herbert is healthy, every offensive player (aside maybe Ekeler) should expect to outpace their 2022 numbers.
The biggest threat to Everett’s production is a player that signed a two year deal this offseason.
Is 2023 the year of Chicken Parm?
It was widely assumed that Donald Parham would be back with the Chargers in 2023, if health allowed his career to continue. He entered the offseason as an RFA, but for the Chargers to tender him at the lowest right-of-refusal amount, his salary would have been $2,627,000. Instead, Parham was allowed to become a UFA, and was shortly signed by the Chargers to a two year, $2,565,000 deal. This sets up the tight end room to only feature Parham and Tre’ McKitty in 2024, setting him up with a chance to prove he can be “the guy” in 2024.
As such, fans should expect Donald to be tested in 2023. Can he stay healthy for a full season for the first time in his career? Will he showcase his talents and ability to be an every-down, complete tight end and not just an elite red zone threat?
Who should you roll the dice on?
Gerald Everett is just a risky proposition from a fantasy perspective. Given his TE12 ranking on PFF, he will essentially have to be drafted as a projected starter, meaning fantasy managers will either draft him TE2 very early, or very late while prioritizing other positions.
While Everett certainly has talent and upside, he is very low on the Chargers red zone pecking order. Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Quentin Johnston, Austin Ekeler, and Donald Parham could all outpace his redzone looks. Herbert also hasn’t utilized the tight end position as his safety net like many quarterbacks do, instead typically checking down to Austin Ekeler.
Donald Parham is an intriguing option in my opinion. He’s currently ranked as PFF’s TE44, slotting him to go undrafted in most leagues. There is an argument that with his red zone proficiency, athletic profile, and the team’s desire to test if he can be a bridge starter next season, there’s a chance he could actually surpass Everett in production.
I simply wouldn’t draft either tight end to be a starter on any of my fantasy teams. If Everett falls beyond TE16 in my draft, I’d consider picking him up as insurance for my starter, but wouldn’t use the draft capital it’ll likely take to get him when he’s going to be scrapping for touches and red zone targets.
I will likely take some late-round fliers on Parham, right before selecting my kicker and defense. He’s a feel-good story, will cost next to nothing, and has an opportunity to make some noise this season. As a bonus, most of my leagues are keeper leagues which provides additional upside!
This is more of a controversial take, so what do you all think? Are you considering drafting either of these two players?