Playing for the Los Angeles Chargers can obscure one’s success, but not when that player is Justin Herbert. The star quarterback followed up his Offensive Rookie of the Year-winning debut with an even finer 2021 campaign, nearly lifting the Chargers and their inconsistent defense to a playoff berth. In a league stacked with talented signal-callers, only a few have shined brighter than Herbert over the past two years.
Herbert’s rise has driven projections through the roof. He enters the season as one of the front-runners for the MVP award and nearly everyone expects the Chargers to at least tighten the race for the AFC West crown if not win it outright. The weight of those expectations would crush many players, but Herbert seems capable of rising to the challenge.
2021 season statistics & fantasy finish
Passing: 443 completions on 672 attempts (65.9% completion) for 5,014 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions
Rushing: 63 attempts for 302 yards and three touchdowns
Fantasy: Second among QBs in total scoring (second in per-game scoring)
Chargers’ offseason moves
With an already stacked offensive roster, the Chargers did their best to retain their top talent. Wide receiver Mike Williams returned on a multiyear deal, preserving a receiving corps that also features Keenan Allen and Joshua Palmer. Veteran tight end Gerald Everett arrives from the Seattle Seahawks to provide some juice over the middle while rookie Zion Johnson joins an offensive line that has improved leaps and bounds in recent offseasons.
2022 best-case scenario
Herbert thrives with a talented group of skill-position players and a more-stable offensive line. The Chargers offense becomes one of the most prolific and vertically minded units in the league, leading to high scores at SoFi Stadium and for fantasy managers fortunate enough to have the star quarterback on their rosters.
2022 worst-case scenario
Seemingly the entire football-watching public has tabbed Herbert as the Next Big Thing. Though he seems well equipped to deal with those expectations, the possibility exists that a middling performance or two early in the season leads to a backlash that could take Herbert out of his comfort zone. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t still produce for fantasy managers, but those anticipating a No. 1 finish at his position could feel disappointed.
Herbert enters his third season in the NFL and second in the same offense. The natural progression of his situation, along with the team’s efforts to maintain and improve his supporting cast, should take him to the next level. Already one of the league’s top signal-callers, Herbert looks primed to compete for MVP honors. His time has come.