Every summer, we take a deep dive into the fantasy football average draft position (ADP) of players on each real-life NFL team. We do this so that we can determine which guys are undervalued, overvalued, or valued just right. As we Goldilocks this ADP, our draft board forms based on our opinions of players and where they go in fantasy football drafts. Since drafters draft (mostly) by site algorithms, site algorithms drive ADP on that site. So, we use FantasyPros’ aggregate average draft position data in order to smooth out those edges. To really smooth out the edges, I will use half-PPR average draft position, which you can find here.
The Los Angeles Chargers came within a few plays of making the 2022 playoffs but fell just short. They spent the offseason securing some offensive continuity, upgrading around the edges, and making sure their defense would carry the day in the event of a offensive collapse. There isn’t much draft day value in an offense that mostly stands pat, but the Chargers did just enough this offseason to raise some intriguing questions for 2022 fantasy football. Let’s start with this one: who are the Los Angeles Chargers’ 2022 sleeper, breakout, and bust players?
Sleeper: Gerald Everett, Tight End (TE24, 198 OVR)
Last year, we all tried to make the case for Gerald Everett on what was, ultimately, a margin play. The Seahawks still ended up throwing him the ball 63 times, but a disastrous multi-turnover game against the 49ers in week 14 after an up-and-down season from a targets perspective stopped us from fully climbing Mt. Everett. On a per-target basis, Everett wasn’t too bad; with the #2 catch rate, the top tight end juke rate, and the twelfth-highest fantasy points per target (all per playerprofiler). Unfortunately, the Seahawks didn’t throw the ball to the tight end as much as we had hoped, with Everett garnering just a 15% target share.
Now, Everett moves back to Los Angeles, but this time for the Chargers, who just jettisoned Jared Cook. The Chargers fully utilize the tight end in their offense, with 129 targets to tight ends in 2021, compared to just 91 for the Seahawks. This gives Everett a higher upside and a chance at finishing as a top-12 tight end.
Breakout: Mike Williams, Wide Receiver (WR25, 60 OVR)
It might seem a little goofy to call a guy who had 1,100 yards last year a breakout candidate, but he didn’t put together a full season because the Chargers sort of forgot about targeting him. But, in the first six games of the year, Mike Williams and the Chargers showed us what could be. Williams started the year averaging 95 yards per game with 5 touchdowns in his first 6 contests, averaging 10 targets per game. Then, things went a little sideways. Williams failed to get double-digit targets in any fantasy football-relevant game (though he had 17 targets for 9 catches, 119 yards, and a touchdown in week eighteen).
Now, the Chargers are running it back, and made retaining Mike Williams an offseason priority, applying the franchise tag to him before he could reach free agency. So, basically, Mike Williams will get the same run back as the entirety of the rest of the offense with Brandon Staley getting a whole offseason to look at what he did to start the year. Mike Williams has 1,000 and 10 upside, and you want to chase that at WR25 prices.
Bust: Isaiah Spiller, Running Back (RB46, 139 OVR)
Spiller isn’t going very early, but I also want to caution against getting overly excited about him this year. A lot of people in the fantasy football space are tagging him as a potential breakout player behind Austin Ekeler. But, Ekeler takes all the touches when healthy. He finished with 276 touches last season, and the rest of the backfield had 140 touches in Ekeler’s sixteen games last year. Ekeler also shed the injury-prone label, with a hamstring injury as the only thing that cost him time in the last three years (he missed a game in 2022 due to COVID-19). Spiller is a decent player, but he isn’t the type of player you take Austin Ekeler off the field to give touches to. He’s more the guy who takes the touches from the guys down the depth chart.
So, what’s left for Spiller? Not much. Go ahead and look elsewhere in 2022 for your breakouts. We did this already with Joshua Kelley, we don’t need to do this again with Isaiah Spiller.