Los Angeles Chargers 2021 Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup

2021 Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers had a helluva 2020 campaign. A Tyrod Taylor punctured lung started the Justin Herbert Era far sooner than any of us anticipated, and he did not disappoint. Hunter Henry left the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency, who they replaced with Jared Cook, and Kalen Ballage absconded off to Pittsburgh, but by and large, the Los Angeles Chargers offensive weaponry returns at full force this season. They added three fantasy football-eligible players to their roster in the draft. Should we expect anything about the Los Angeles Chargers’ new additions in 2021 fantasy football?

FULL LOS ANGELES CHARGERS DRAFT RESULTS
Rd Pick Player Pos. College Conf.
1 13 Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern Big Ten
2 47 Asante Samuel Jr. CB Florida State ACC
3 77 Josh Palmer  WR Tennessee SEC
3 97 Tre’ McKitty  TE Georgia SEC
4 118 Chris Rumph II DE Duke ACC
5 159 Brenden Jaimes OT Nebraska Big Ten
6 185 Nick Niemann LB Iowa Big Ten
6 198 Larry Rountree III  RB Missouri SEC
7 241 Mark Webb S Georgia SEC
Round 3, Pick 77 Overall: Josh Palmer, Wide Receiver, Tennessee (6’2” 210 pounds)
Depth Chart
WR1:     Keenan Allen
WR2:     Mike Williams
WR3:     Jalen Guyton
WR4:     Tyron Johnson
WR5:     Josh Palmer
TALENT

I’m not quite sure I “get” Josh Palmer in the third round, here. He seems to be another deep threat guy for the Chargers’ offense, but they already have Jalen Guyton, Mike Williams, and Tyron Palmer to fill that role. The best I can tell is the Chargers are getting in on replacing Mike Williams before they let Mike Williams depart this offseason. So I guess, in a greater sense, I do understand it. I just don’t know why they had to get him in the third round, and why they had to get him with the first of their two third-round picks.

Josh Palmer is a 50/50 artist with nice ball-tracking and hands and is a deep shot artist. He seems like he’s a young Mike Williams, but he’s never open. Palmer isn’t dynamic, but he is proficient at catching passes. I doubt he makes a significant impact at the backend of the target rotation. It really feels like the Chargers took a shot on him because they think they’ve seen Jalen Guyton’s ceiling.

2021 OPPORTUNITY

I doubt that the Los Angeles Chargers took Josh Palmer with the idea that he makes an impact in year one. He really feels like he’s the Mike Williams replacement who gets a year to sit and learn from the real Mike Williams before getting unleashed on the league.

2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

I think Palmer can have an impact in year one in DFS or in the case of a Mike Williams injury. But, I think he has to fight his way up the depth chart, first. He’s the type of guy I check in on in week five or six to see if his snap counts have ticked upwards, but he isn’t a guy I see making an impact right away. The Chargers seemingly view him as a 2022 prospect, anyway.

TALENT
2021 OPPORTUNITY
2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Round 3, Pick 97 Overall: Tre’ McKitty, Tight End, Georgia (6’5” 245 pounds)
Depth Chart:
TE1:        Jared Cook
TE2:        Donald Parham
TE3:        Tre’ McKitty
TALENT

Tre’ McKitty is an interesting case. He seems to have a lot of the traits you would like from the position: he’s athletic, versatile, and appears to be hard working. Unfortunately, he isn’t even the sum of his parts (so far). Georgia barely used him in school, but he mostly looked unrefined and mostly athleticism-focused in his playstyle. He reminds me a lot of Gerald Everett, in that he is all raw and all upside, and that he’s mostly a hype and hope bunny.

2021 OPPORTUNITY

The Los Angeles Chargers have two tight ends on their roster who are probably better than McKitty. Or, at least, they’ve shown something at the NFL level already. Jared Cook makes his way westward after he was a Saints’ cap casualty, to fill the role vacated by Hunter Henry. Donald Parham flashed some talent in his 2020 rookie campaign. Rookie tight end caveats aside, I doubt McKitty gets a crack at 30%+ snaps before Thanksgiving. The Chargers likely want to see what they have with Cook and Parham, first. Like Palmer, McKitty feels like a 2022 pick more than a 2021 pick.

2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

He’s a rookie tight end! Zero out of five!

TALENT
2021 OPPORTUNITY
2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Round 6, Pick 198 Overall: Larry Rountree III, Running Back, Missouri (5’10” 210 pounds)
TALENT

Rountree is an extremely jittery player, who goes down way too easily, like a caffeine addict with a glass jaw. He flares out a ton for targets and he isn’t decisive at all about anything. His play-to-play power is inconsistent. He does a little bit of everything but without any sort of level of proficiency at anything. He’s basically Rex Burkhead.

2021 OPPORTUNITY

The Chargers cycled through running backs so much last season that they ended up signing Kalen Ballage off the street and letting him get a crack at it. It’s possible he beats out Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley for snaps behind Austin Ekeler. But… I’m having trouble caring. This backfield outside of Austin Ekeler has a big productivity problem. It’s likely Rountree is the next back in the line of Chargers running backs who are just okay when given the opportunity.

2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

I can’t find myself caring. We are yet to see any sort of consistent production behind Austin Ekeler, with Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley splitting touches in the event of an Ekeler injury. Best case scenario is that Rountree supplants one of them as a home run hitter in the short side of a platoon. He tops out as having desperation flex appeal in 12+ team leagues. It’s possible he grabs the reins from Kelley and Jackson, but I’m not betting on it.

TALENT
2021 OPPORTUNITY
2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
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About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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