Justin Herbert’s Best Ball Fantasy Outlook: Is the Chargers’ Signal-Caller Still a QB1?

Can Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert maintain his fantasy value despite losing his top three offensive playmakers?

Los Angeles Chargers‘ QB Justin Herbert has an elite QB1 upside but was largely disappointing last season. With the team releasing or trading each of his three best playmakers, is Herbert someone fantasy football managers should look to avoid in 2024 Best Ball drafts?

Justin Herbert’s 2024 Fantasy Outlook

For the first two years of Herbert’s career, he was an elite fantasy QB. Herbert averaged 22.9 and 23.3 fantasy points per game during those two seasons.

Injuries to his wide receivers and poor touchdown variance caused a down 2022 season. All that did was make Herbert cheaper for 2023. I completely bought into a Herbert bounceback. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go as planned.

Things were looking pretty good for the first five games of the season. Herbert scored between 20.1 and 29.3 fantasy points in each game. Then, in Week 7, his play started to dip.

Herbert would still give fantasy managers three more elite QB1 games of 24.0, 29.4, and 25.7 fantasy points. However, he also had four games where he was unstartable, plus a fifth where he broke his finger, ending his season.

I still believe in Herbert as a talent. Unfortunately, he may not be someone fantasy managers want in fantasy this season.

Let’s examine all of the changes Herbert underwent. For starters, we have the coaching situation. Jim Harbaugh replaces Brandon Staley. Herbert has averaged 39 pass attempts per game throughout his career. It is a near certainty he won’t come anywhere close to that this season.

Harbaugh’s teams run the ball. According to NBC Sports’ Denny Carter, Harbaugh’s 49ers teams ranked 31st, 31st, 32nd, and 29th in pass attempts, respectively, from 2011-2014. His last two Michigan teams ranked 117th and 121st, respectively, out of 130 teams in pass rate.

On a positive note, Harbaugh has always been successful. The Chargers should be a better team with him in charge. That should mean more scoring opportunities, and thus, more touchdown passes for Herbert. In theory, that could offset the reduction in volume. But any way you slice it, a massive decrease in volume is not a good thing.

Second, the Chargers’ offense looks very different than it did last season. For Herbert’s entire career, he’s had Keenan Allen as his WR1, Mike Williams as his WR2, and Austin Ekeler as his running back. This year, Herbert will have none of them.

The Chargers’ WR1 is not currently on the team. Their WR2 is presumptively Josh Palmer. And I guess the WR3 is Quentin Johnston. Their pass-catching running back is also not on the roster, as it most certainly is not going to be Gus Edwards.

The point is Herbert is in as different of a situation as you can imagine without changing teams.

Should You Draft Herbert in 2024 Best Ball Leagues?

Fantasy managers are wise to Herbert’s situational changes. He is going outside the top 12 quarterbacks for the first time since his rookie year.

I really wanted to come here and tell fantasy managers to fade Herbert. In managed leagues, that’s probably still the case. But in Best Ball, the thesis changes a bit.

KEEP READING: Best Ball Fantasy QB Rankings 2024

Herbert is going to have big weeks. He’s too talented not to. The Chargers may desire to be a run-heavy offense, but there will be weeks where game scripts force them to throw. Fantasy managers will be thrilled to have Herbert those weeks.

If Herbert were going only a few spots lower than he was last year, then I’d be out. But as a QB2? There’s suddenly some value here.

Don’t go out of your way to aggressively target Herbert. But as your QB2 on a Best Ball roster, Herbert is worth drafting.

As we look ahead to the 2024 fantasy football season, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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