Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will always think about all aspects of the dynasty season. Managers keen enough to look ahead will be the ones who can grab themselves an edge. This article is all about the Los Angeles Chargers. It will be interesting to see how they regroup following the devastating playoff loss to the Jaguars after being up by 27 points. The Chargers have more holes on defense than offense but are stuck well over the cap. It will be critical for them to fill those holes with adequate depth and cheap players through the draft. However, quarterback Justin Herbert’s upcoming extension and just how expensive it will be is looming over the entire off-season.
Most of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage in April by building an entire picture of how the 2023 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not often be surprised at the outcomes. Look at the Chiefs or Eagles. They have a ton of depth. This allowed them to outlast the rest of the competition and compensate for any injuries.
The draft order used in this article reflects the order following the Super Bowl. Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to The Draft Network. Team needs are generated from this site.
2022 Season Recap
The Chargers had a good season by most standards. However, it ended in misery. They finished the season in second in the AFC West with a record of 10-7. That was good enough to get them the number-five spot in the AFC Playoffs. The team had dealt with numerous injuries to their star players. They lost much of the season from Joey Bosa, Keenan Allen, JC Jackson, Rashawn Slater, and others. Herbert had another strong season despite breaking multiple ribs and enduring through that most of the season.
Austin Ekeler performed excellently, as well as Khalil Mack. Derwin James was a Pro Bowler with Mack. Asante Samuel Jr. had a breakout season at cornerback. The team had plenty of positives, especially considering how unlucky with injuries they were.
Yet, the season ended horrifically. In the Wild Card Round of the playoffs against those up-start Jaguars, the Chargers blew doors off the stadium, running out to a 27-0 lead in the second quarter. Yet, when the game was over, the Chargers would lose 31-30 on a last-second field goal. They scored only three points in the second half as they incredibly self-destructed. For a team that played united and amazing to collapse into nothing suddenly was astounding. That’s the type of event that gets people fired after such an embarrassment. However, Head Coach Brandon Staley was able to keep his job. He pinned the blame on the offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi who was promptly canned. This led the team to hire star O.C. Kellen Moore from the Cowboys. There’s a ton of pressure and hope pinned on the backs of Staley and Moore.
2023 Free Agents
The Los Angeles Chargers have plenty of free agents to hit the market in a few weeks. That means the team has many positions to sign new players or draft guys into. Plus, it hurts when the team is almost $20 million over the cap. The Chargers will likely cut Gerald Everett to save themselves four-plus million dollars. Meanwhile, they’ll restructure contracts like Allen, Mack, Bosa, and Mike Williams. Making those moves likely gets them under the cap.
Some important names that will be free agents are edge rushers Kyle Van Noy, Morgan Fox, and Breiden Fehoko; linebackers Troy Reeder and Drue Tranquil; backup quarterback Chase Daniel; star right tackle Trey Pipkins; wide receivers Jalen Guyton and Deandre Carter, and safety Nasir Adderley. The Chargers have a lot of guys to replace. Luckily, this draft is deep in most areas they need most. The one exception is wide receiver. That’s why I have them keeping Allen until next year, when the 2024 Draft should have a deeper crop of wide receivers. Plus, there’s a player that suits new Offensive Coordinator Moore’s system to perfection in the first round.
2023 Draft Picks
1.21-Dalton Kincaid, TE Utah
Kincaid is the perfect first-round pick for the Chargers. He will improve this offense tremendously. Moore’s system calls for a reliable sure-handed tight end. Kincaid is that and much more. He’s being compared to a young Travis Kelce. If the Chargers want to beat the Chiefs, beat them with a younger version of Kelce. Kincaid has excellent hands and route running. He’ll make all the routine catches and a lot of contested catches. Kincaid can work downfield and has enough speed to make defenses respect him as a deep threat.
He isn’t scared of contact and doesn’t go down at first touch. Kincaid does need some help in the run blocking. He isn’t skilled as much at that. However, the Chargers won’t need him to run block extremely often. He can learn that while they take advantage of his massive offensive potential. Herbert deserves a top-tier tight end like Kincaid.
He will open up this offense far more than another receiver. If they keep Allen, he’s the perfect pick. Moore loves his tight ends. In dynasty rookie drafts, Kincaid is worth an early second-round pick. He will take time to develop into the player he can be. Yet, he’s worth the pick if you’re rebuilding. The Los Angeles Chargers snag an elite talent in the last third of the first round.
2.53- Isaiah Foskey, EDGE Notre Dame
The Los Angeles Chargers have some bad cap issues, which could force them to cut Mack. Even if they manage to keep Mack, they still lose Van Noy and Fox to free agency. Combine that with the fact that Mack and Bosa regularly have injury issues, and they need more youth and depth at the edge rushing spot. Foskey can come in and be a plus contributor with the potential to be a reliable starter.
Foskey has excellent height and speed with great burst. He’s a flexible rusher with enough length to get under the tackle’s block. Foskey consistently presses the line and uses his quick feet to get into the backfield. He needs to get more tools and techniques down before he becomes an impact player. However, he has the potential to be that one day with good coaching. The Chargers need help on defense, and Foskey will provide that in spades, especially when they need to pressure Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow. Foskey is worthy of a fourth-round rookie pick in IDP leagues. He’s a long-term play.
3.85- Dorian Williams, LB Tulane
The Chargers are losing Tranquil to free agency, and Kenneth Murray hasn’t lived up to the hype. They need a new middle linebacker, and Senior Bowl standout Williams can fill that gap. He’s an athletic linebacker with great speed that moves like a safety. He’ll need coaching to figure out the best to get through the interior of the offensive line, but he is a strong tackler with great run-defense potential. Williams won’t let guys past him, which is something the Chargers struggled with mightily. Williams has the potential to be a good LB1 for the Chargers over time, but in your IDP rookie draft, I’d avoid him. There are better players to snag elsewhere.
4.124-Kendre Miller, RB TCU
The Los Angeles Chargers need a new running back partner for Ekeler. Ekeler will be 28 when the season starts. They can’t rely on him to be the receiving and power back. Joshua Kelly, Justin Jackson, Isaiah Spiller, and others have all been failed experiments. It’s time to try again. I have a feeling Miller won’t let them down. He’s built for short-yardage gains with good speed and a nose for the first down. Miller can get those short-yardage rushes and power through the defensive line with his size/power combination.
This will allow Ekeler to stay healthy and provide more impact plays. Miller is a two-down player that has pass-catching ability. He’ll be the best backup the Chargers have had since Ekeler was a backup. Miller’s a powerful running back that will make life easier for the entire offense. He’s worth a late-second-round draft pick in dynasty rookie drafts. Being the backup to Ekeler is big in fantasy, and he should see some goal-line work. Plus, he might take over for Ekeler in a year or two since Ekeler is a free agent and is old for a running back.
5.158 – Andrei Iosivas, WR Princeton
The Chargers need someone to replace Jalen Guyton as the speedy deep threat on the team. They can sign someone in free agency, but why not take a guy with great potential? Despite playing at Princeton, Iosivas has elite traits. The 6’3″ wideout ran a 4.43 40-Yard dash with an excellent burst. He’s got the ideal speed, and length to be a reliable downfield threat for Justin Herbert. Iosivas has quick feet. He isn’t scared to go up for a catch. He’ll take the top off the defenses and force them to cover downfield. Herbert needs a player like Iosivas to run routes well and make catches downfield. He’s worth a third-round rookie pick, mainly due to Herbert.
6.199 – Lonnie Phelps, EDGE Kansas
The Chargers need a lot of depth along their defensive line and edge rushing. Phelps will be a good backup that could someday become a starter if he develops further. Due to his 6’2″ size, he’s a good candidate to move inside to help shore up the interior defense. He is very athletic and aggressive. He’s an attacker that doesn’t stop until the whistle is blown. Phelps has agility in spades but needs to work on his technique and hands. He’s a versatile weapon that will excel on special teams and passing downs. He needs to improve his run defense, but the Chargers could do worse than a project edge rusher with a ton of potential in the sixth round.
7.241 – Daniel Scott, S California
With Nasir Adderley off to free agency, the Chargers have some in-house options to replace him. However, they’ll need a new guy to help fill out that safety depth. Scott will be a capable backup and special teams player that has the potential to blossom into a starting role down the road. He’s a speedy safety with great burst and was a captain at Cal. Despite him being 25, he’s ready to make an impact on special teams right away. The Los Angeles Chargers will love his athleticism and leadership. Scott is a late bloomer, but he’ll make most of the plays asked of him. Don’t be surprised if he exceeds expectations.
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