Jim Harbaugh takes over as head coach after a disappointing season. With an entirely new offensive philosophy likely be predicated upon running the football, the Chargers will attempt to climb out of the basement of the AFC West. Their ability to do so hinges on the health of QB Justin Herbert, who was bothered by a fractured index finger on his throwing hand last season. Running the ball more would certainly minimize Herbert's injury risk.  

Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Chargers' entire team outlook including changes to the top of the depth chart that matter for Fantasy, a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for all of the notable Chargers players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.

Chargers 2024 lineup changes

1/1/2024Week 1 2024 (proj)
QBEaston StickJustin Herbert
RBAustin EkelerJ.K. Dobbins
WRKeenan AllenJoshua Palmer
WRJoshua PalmerQuentin Johnston
WRQuentin JohnstonLadd McConkey
TEGerald EverettWill Dissly

Burning question: How will the losses on offense affect the Chargers?

After trading Keenan Allen to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round pick and releasing Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett, the Chargers will need to replace 236 receptions from a season ago. Between last year's first-round selection Quentin Johnston, this year's second-round pick Ladd McConkey, and free-agent signing DJ Chark Jr., the Chargers' revamped wide receiver corps will attempt to make up for the production they lost in the offseason. However, replacing Allen's 108 receptions alone presents a daunting task. Additionally, the Chargers have strengthened their run game by signing Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins, along with tight end Will Dissly, known for his effectiveness as a blocker. This suggests a shift towards a more run-focused offense in 2024. While this approach may impact Justin Herbert's stats, it could lead to improved team performance overall.  

2024 NFL Draft class

15Joe AltOLNotre Dame
234Ladd McConkeyWRGeorgia
369Junior ColsonLBMichigan
4105Justin EboigbeDLAlabama
5137Tarheeb StillDBMaryland
5140Cam HartCBNotre Dame
6181Kimani VidalRBTroy
7225Brenden RiceWRUSC
7253Cornelius JohnsonWRMichigan

Chargers 2024 schedule

1Sep 8, 2024vsLas Vegas4:05 pmCBSSoFi Stadium
2Sep 15, 2024@Carolina1:00 pmCBSBank of America Stadium
3Sep 22, 2024@Pittsburgh1:00 pmCBSAcrisure Stadium
4Sep 29, 2024vsKansas City4:25 pmCBSSoFi Stadium
6Oct 13, 2024@Denver4:05 pmCBSEmpower Field at Mile High
7Oct 21, 2024@Arizona9:00 pmESP+State Farm Stadium
8Oct 27, 2024vsNew Orleans4:05 pmFOXSoFi Stadium
9Nov 3, 2024@Cleveland1:00 pmCBSCleveland Browns Stadium
10Nov 10, 2024vsTennessee4:05 pmFOXSoFi Stadium
11Nov 17, 2024vsCincinnati4:25 pmCBSSoFi Stadium
12Nov 25, 2024vsBaltimore8:15 pmESPNSoFi Stadium
13Dec 1, 2024@Atlanta1:00 pmCBSMercedes-Benz Stadium
14Dec 8, 2024@Kansas City8:20 pmNBCGEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium
15Dec 15, 2024vsTampa Bay4:25 pmFOXSoFi Stadium
16Dec 22, 2024vsDenver4:05 pmFOXSoFi Stadium
17Dec 29, 2024@New EnglandTBAGillette Stadium
18Jan 5, 2025@Las VegasTBAAllegiant Stadium

Chargers 2024 player outlooks

By Dave Richard and CBS Fantasy staff

QB Justin Herbert

We're two seasons removed from Herbert's last dominant year as a top-five Fantasy QB -- and we're looking down the road at a third, which is why he's falling in Fantasy drafts. Herbert has consistently been a high-volume passer, averaging at least 35 per game in each year of his career (nearly 40-plus in his first three seasons). But new head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have a track record of being run-focused: Only twice over 10 seasons when either one of them coached an NFL team did their quarterback average more than 30 passes per game. Even if there's a shift in their philosophy because Herbert is truly a gifted passer, the Chargers' reshuffled, mostly unproven receiving corps drives down whatever upside Herbert would have. An easy-ish schedule to begin the season does give Herbert some mild appeal, but overall there's not much optimism he'll regain his spot as a mega-Fantasy passer. Expect high-upside QBs like Anthony Richardson, Jordan Love, Kyler Murray and even rookies Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels to get drafted over Herbert in 2024.  

RB Gus Edwards

Edwards signed with the Chargers this offseason, and he's expected to open the year as the No. 1 running back in Los Angeles. Edwards is worth drafting as a high-end No. 3 Fantasy running back as early as Round 7 in the majority of leagues, with his value higher in non-PPR formats. He'll compete with J.K. Dobbins and rookie Kimani Vidal for touches, but Edwards should lead the team in carries, rushing yards and touchdowns if he stays healthy. And this is a favorable situation to play for Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who was with Edwards in Baltimore as well. Edwards, 29, set career highs in 2023 with the Ravens in carries (198), rushing yards (810), rushing touchdowns (13), receptions (12) and receiving yards (180). He's unlikely to become a threat in the passing game, but Edwards could have another big season on the ground. He has the potential to be a top-24 running back in all leagues.  

RB J.K. Dobbins

Dobbins signed with the Chargers this offseason, and he's expected to compete with Gus Edwards and Kimani Vidal for touches this year. Dobbins is worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues. Dobbins is coming off a torn Achilles suffered in Week 1 last year, and he's expected to be healthy heading into training camp. That said, we know Dobbins has struggled with injuries his entire career. Since being drafted in the second round by the Ravens in 2020, Dobbins has missed 43 games due to various injuries, including a torn ACL, torn LCL and a torn Achilles tendon. If healthy, Dobbins could be a surprise Fantasy option in the Chargers' run-based offense. Edwards will likely be the starter, and Vidal could have a role in his rookie campaign. But Dobbins might have the most upside of the trio, and he's worth keeping an eye on during training camp.  

RB Kimani Vidal

Sixth-round picks aren't always priorities in Fantasy, but Vidal is an exception because of where he landed and the style of play he brings. Under new coach Jim Harbaugh, the Chargers are expected to be a run-first offense with a potentially dominant offensive line. That's good for any hard-nosed, downhill running back who plays for them, and it's precisely the kind of back Vidal is. At Troy, Vidal produced back-to-back seasons with over 1,250 total yards and 10-plus touchdowns, and was also a factor in the passing game (at least 18 grabs per season). He'll compete this preseason with Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins, both of whom are familiar with this offensive scheme going back to their days in Baltimore, but Edwards is 29 years old and Dobbins is coming back from another season-ending injury. It's not wrong to think that at some point this season Vidal will be the Chargers' lead RB. Drafting him with the expectation to be that guy in September, however, isn't very likely. If you're patient, Vidal is worth a pick after Round 10 in redraft leagues (pass on him if you're not patient). In rookie-only drafts Vidal is a borderline Round 2/3 choice.

WR Ladd McConkey

There's a very real chance McConkey, the Chargers' second-round pick out of Georgia, will lead the team in receptions and receiving yards this season. That's why he's arguably the first Chargers player you should draft in one-QB leagues -- even ahead of Justin Herbert. McConkey was great in college because he was in sync with his quarterback, and through offseason workouts it appears he's already connecting with Herbert. That'll help McConkey replace Keenan Allen as the Chargers' slot receiver, a role that could open up for as many as seven targets per game (Allen saw 8.5 or more targets per game in each of his last seven seasons but it was in a different system). And while McConkey is slight (5-foot-8 and 186 pounds), he is a route-running maestro who will get open frequently. His upside is greater in PPR since his volume figures to be high, which is why Round 7 is a decent time to take him; wait another round in redraft non-PPR leagues. As for rookie-only drafts, expect McConkey to get grabbed anywhere from sixth to 10th overall depending on format and scoring.  

WR Josh Palmer

Palmer is a sneaky sleeper receiver given the other players he'll compete with for targets with the Chargers. When pressed into action in previous seasons, Palmer's been serviceable for Fantasy. And now that the Chargers cleaned house at receiver, Palmer should see regular reps. Consistently solid in terms of catch rate (at least 62% per year) and capable of winning on short and intermediate routes, Palmer could wind up first or second on the Bolts in targets and catches. That's not a bad outlook for someone you'll gravitate toward with a late-round pick, even if he'll play in a run-first offense.

WR Quentin Johnston

If you want a late-round receiver with some upside and minimal downside, consider Johnston. The second-year wideout struggled to make plays as a rookie in Los Angeles' offense, even after a prime opportunity to step up came early in the season. Expecting a bounce-back campaign is made even tougher by the Chargers' anticipated run-heavy approach on offense. Fantasy managers could draft Johnston in the Round 11-plus range and could move on from him pretty quickly if he doesn't produce in the early portion of the season.  

WR Brendan Rice

The son of NFL GOAT receiver Jerry Rice, the rookie from USC will compete for playing time with the Chargers this preseason. Rice is a big-bodied target who can win on the perimeter with physicality, but he leaves a little to be desired in terms of speed and shiftiness. He'll have a chance to flash given the competition he'll face this summer, but it's more likely he'll be a backup in 2024. That's why he's not on our radar in redraft leagues and is more of a late-round pick in rookie-only drafts.

WR Cornelius Johnson

Johnson followed coach Jim Harbaugh from Michigan to Los Angeles, and it's there he'll compete for playing time this preseason. For the Wolverines, Johnson scored 14 touchdowns over five seasons (61 games). He's a bigger receiver (6-foot-2, 212 pounds) with decent speed and agility but didn't show reliable hands in college and needs to work on polishing his game before making an impact in the NFL. At best, Johnson is a late-round flier in deep Dynasty rookie-only drafts.

TE Will Dissly

Dissly joined the Chargers this offseason where his tenacity as a blocker will probably be embraced more than his sneaky quickness. In six NFL seasons he's never had more than 350 receiving yards or four touchdowns, and that shouldn't change in L.A. Dissly won't do diddly for your Fantasy team.  

K Cameron Dicker

Dicker, the kicker for the Chargers, is in contention for being a starting Fantasy option right away. He finished 12th among placekickers last season on the strength of making 31 of 33 field goals and owning a 100% rate on 35 extra points. The Bolts figure to be conservative offensively, setting up Dicker for even more opportunities this year. It helps that easier matchups for the offense are at the front of the schedule, making Dicker worthy of a final-round pick.

Chargers DST

You might draft the Chargers DST because of their Week 1 matchup versus Las Vegas, their Week 2 game at Carolina and even their Week 3 showdown in Pittsburgh. That's fine, they're late-round worthy on the basis of those games alone. But it sure helps that the squad hung on to pass rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, both of whom should be healthy to start the season. Mack had 17 of the Chargers' 48 sacks in 2023 and should be schemed up to be even more dangerous in new defensive coordinator Jesse Minter's aggressive scheme. But the Bolts also added former Michigan linebacker Junior Colson in the draft, adding more talent in hopes of finally being stout against the run. Tack on a decent secondary headlined by Asante Samuel Jr. and Derwin James and we're looking at a DST that could surprise beyond their early-season schedule. Just watch out for that Week 4 matchup …