Needless to say, the 2019 Los Angeles Chargers season was a freaking mess. They finished 5-11 after going 12-4 in 2018. Melvin Gordon held out, their soccer stadium home held more opposing fans than Chargers fans, Philip Rivers up and moved to Florida, and Hunter Henry broke his knee. Yikes! It’s a season Anthony Lynn hopes to put behind him quickly. So, what should we take away from their disastrous 2019 campaign? What should we remember from the 2019 Los Angeles Chargers for our 2020 fantasy football drafts?
What to Remember from the 2019 Los Angeles Chargers Season
- Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers ended their 16-year pairing this offseason. That means a lot of the passing game statistics might go out the window. Then again, they may not. Anthony Lynn early this offseason noted the end of the Statue Quarterback Era in the NFL. The Chargers pick at six this season, which means Tua Tagvailoa or Justin Herbert is in their future. The Chargers already have Tyrod Taylor in-house, and a certain dual-threat QB has an uncertain future in Carolina. In the past, Anthony Lynn sniffed around E.J. Manuel, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson. He has a type, and expect the Chargers to reflect that type this season.
- Austin Ekeler burst onto the scene during Melvin Gordon’s holdout, making Gordon almost an afterthought for LA. Then again, they sucked this year and went 3-5 in the eight games before Melvin Gordon had 20 carries and retook the RB1 role from Ekeler. However, Ekeler started the season as hot fire before taking a back seat to Gordon. In his first five games of the season, before Gordon started eating into Ekeler’s carries, he averaged 116 yards per game and scored 1.2 times per contest. Now, Gordon will move on to whatever sucker franchise wants to pay him a ton of money and Ekeler takes over as the 1A to Comrade Justin Jackson’s 1B in what will likely play out as a committee. Ekeler is a top-twelve RB for 2020.
- While we’re talking running backs, let’s look at Melvin Gordon. Gordon held out the first four games of the season and had limited, ineffective run to start the year. Here’s one thing to remember. Melvin Gordon held out. He couldn’t just pop right back into the starting lineup as if nothing happened. The preseason happens for a reason, and he needed to get up to speed. If you call his first four games his preseason, games 5 through 12 painted a very pretty picture for Gordon in 2020. In those eight games, Gordon averaged 94.9 yards per contest through the air and on the ground. Let’s say he’d fall forward and extra time and round that up to 95 yards per game. Over the course of a sixteen-game season, that’s 1,520 yards. Only eight running backs (including teammate Austin Ekeler) ended with over 1,500 yards last year.
- Poor Mike Williams did not get a single, solitary touchdown until week fourteen. He scored just two all season and did so with over 1,000 yards (1,001, though I am still technically correct, the best kind of correct). Mike Williams joins seventeen other wide receivers in NFL history to have over 1,000 receiving yards with two or fewer touchdowns. Of note, 2019 Robert Woods also joined this class, but he did it with 1,134 yards.
- Poor Hunter Henry has yet another partial season that we need to cobble together to find fantasy football value. He missed four games with a tibial plateau fracture. This is after missing all of 2018 with a torn ACL. He also missed nine games across his first two years. It doesn’t paint a picture of health. However, his production, when healthy, paints a nice picture. Henry kicked down the door (while carefully maintaining the brace on his knee) when he returned. He turned nine targets into 100 yards and two touchdowns. Things didn’t slow much from there, as he returned to top-ten TE production. After his tibial plateau fracture, he played on a 74-catch, 861 yards, 7-touchdown pace. That puts him smack in the middle of 2019’s TE5 and TE6 in half-PPR.
Check out the rest of the What to Remember series as it develops!
(Header Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Philip_Rivers_2014.JPG, cropped, under CC BY-SA 4.0)