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Fantasy camp battles: Tyrod Taylor wins Week 1 job over Justin Herbert

The Chargers have two quarterbacks who could see time behind center this season. Who will get the nod to start the season?

Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Los Angeles Chargers avoids Mychal Kendricks #56 of the Seattle Seahawks during a preseason NFL football game at Dignity Health Sports Park on August 24, 2019 in Carson, California. The Seattle Seahawks won 23-15. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Update September 2: Head coach Anthony Lynn announced on Wednesday that Tyrod Taylor will be his starter in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season when the Chargers face the Cincinnati Bengals.

Update August 24: Anthony Lynn has come out to say Taylor will “probably” be the Week 1 starter. That doesn’t mean Herbert can’t win the job at some point in the season though.

In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.

The Chargers let Philip Rivers walk this offseason, which pushed them to take Justin Herbert early in the draft. Herbert, by many accounts, including his own, probably needs some time to adjust to the NFL. He has the athleticism, but is behind in some fundamentals that he’ll need. That brings in Tyrod Taylor, who backed up Rivers last season.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn is a fan of Taylor’s after coaching him in Buffalo, where he had his best seasons. Lynn has said Taylor is probably their “Day 1 starter,” according to Gilbert Manzano, although he thinks Herbert will need to be ready sooner than later given the nature of the league.

Taylor is good at not turning the ball over and finding those extra yards on scrambles. And this Chargers team is likely to lean on the defense and some sort of ball-control offense, be it short passes or running the ball.

The Chargers are set up to compete with a strong defense and good skill position players. Taylor could end up getting them some early season wins and holding onto the job longer than people think. If Taylor tanks or loses games, Herbert is going to see time. The team will want their first-round pick to get playing time unless they shock the NFL and compete for the playoffs with Taylor.

The good news for Taylor is that the Chargers have a fairly easy schedule, as they face the Bengals, Panthers, Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars, and Raiders in six of their first nine games. If Taylor has them vying for the postseason halfway through the season, he’s going to have more leeway.


Taylor isn’t going to blow the doors of the league and make himself a priority fantasy football add, but he does have a situation where he can have fantasy value, especially if he runs the ball consistently.