On Thursday, the Chargers announced the unfortunate news that WR Stevie Johnson, one of Philip Rivers’ favourite targets from a year ago, would miss the entire 2016 season after tearing his meniscus in training camp.
While this is a significant blow to San Diego’s offence, it significantly increases the fantasy value of several Chargers going into the season.
Rivers has been a fantasy stud in recent years, finishing inside the top 12 fantasy QBs for 3 straight seasons, while spreading the love around with his pass catchers the same way I’d imagine he does with his 8 children (seriously, EIGHT).
However, Rivers is running out of options to throw to following the news about Johnson, as along with the departures of Malcolm Floyd (retirement) and Ladarius Green (free agency), he and the Chargers now have 221 targets to replace from a season ago.
Look for former Cleveland Browns’ WR Travis Benjamin to take on the brunt of that, who was acquired by the Chargers in the off-season. Benjamin had half-decent numbers in one of the league’s worst offences, and should improve under a consistent QB like Rivers.
Other than that, expect the usual suspects for the Chargers, such as star WR Keenan Allen, TE Antonio Gates and pass-catching RB Danny Woodhead, to all see a stats boost with Johnson going down.
All 4 of those players are worthy of a draft pick, some as high as the 2nd-round (Allen), and could pretty much all be considered sleepers for the Chargers at this point.