Fantasy Impact: Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh is going from “Go Blue” at the University of Michigan to the Powder Blue of the Los Angeles Chargers. Harbaugh returns to the team where he quarterbacked his final two professional seasons. Will this hire change the direction of the franchise that has chronically fallen short of expectations or will it be more of the same? What does the hire mean for the fantasy pieces for the Bolts?
Jim Harbaugh despite being a former quarterback himself isn't known for having a high-powered passing offense. In his tenure coaching the San Fransisco 49ers they never ranked higher than 17th in total passing attempts. Some may argue that this was due to him inheriting a solid rusher in Frank Gore or drafting a more mobile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick. While both those things are true Jim Harbaugh’s nine-year tenure at the University of Michigan only further backs up the point. This isn't great for Justin Herbert and his fantasy value
Herbert has strived on a high volume, low yards per attempt game. Taking away the volume will severely impact his value moving forward. When you couple that with a receiver room that has question marks, I think you should be trying to move Herbert based on his name value. In super-flex leagues, you should be able to get a haul for Herbert that includes multiple 1st round picks. Given how deep the draft class is with signal callers you should be able to replace Herbert's production and acquire another piece this year and picks for the future.
There looks to be a changing of the guard for the Chargers at the running back position. Austin Ekeler is hitting free agency and has expressed his frustrations with how the Chargers have handled his contract negotiation in the past. With Jim Harbaugh now leading the team whoever is the lead back will see a ton of volume. The question is does that rusher exist on the oyster already or will it be someone new? Current on the roster are Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller. Kelley is closer to a prototypical Jim Harbaugh running back. If we go off Frank Gore, Zach Charbonnet, and incoming rookie Blake Corum. We are looking for a running back around the 220 lb mark. Kelley is currently listed at 212 lbs. It's not out of the question that he gets a shot at carrying the load in 2024. He’s worth picking up cheap right now for a late 3rd round pick. If the Chargers bring in someone either via free agency or the draft I would be willing to spend a mid 1st rounder on them.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
The Chargers have had a stud at the wide receiver in Keenan Allen. He is entering the last year of his contract and has a massive cap hit with a low dead cap hit. It's been rumored that he might be cut or traded. That would leave often injured Mike Williams, lackluster Quentin Johnson and Josh Palmer. With a projected lower passing volume coming with Jim Harbaugh now coaching I want even less to do with this offense. Allen is an interesting piece to hold with the thought that he may end up elsewhere. If you can get an early 2nd for him I would be willing to sell but given his age that seems unlikely. I’m not looking to buy Johnson or Palmer.
When it comes to the tight end position stalwart Gerald Everett is a free agent. Donald Parham just had the best year of his career statistically but only played in 14 games which ties the most he has ever played. He is heading into a contract year. Jim Harbaugh will probably address the position at some point but it doesn't look to be a focal point of his offense. Unless he brings in an offensive coordinator who has a very different philosophy than him the pass catchers value drops significantly.
Sell Justin Herbert for multiple 1st and a prospect
Buy Joshua Kelly for a late 3rd, future rusher for a mid-1st
Sell Keenan Allen for an early 2nd.
Playing fantasy football for over 25 years. Dynasty player for 4 years. Always digging for those diamonds in the rough players. First guy on Isaiah Hodgins.