The Los Angeles Chargers went out with a whimper in the 2023 season and their head coach, Brandon Staley, was dismissed before it even ended. It was not the best year for fantasy football if you were relying on Chargers players, either.
But on Wednesday, the Chargers struck a deal to land Jim Harbaugh, fresh off a national championship victory with the Michigan Wolverines, as their new head coach. This is huge news for the Chargers and for the NFL as a whole.
And for those of you fantasy football players, particularly in dynasty leagues, this move revives the value of some of your star players. But in particular, it boosts the value of Justin Herbert in a big way.
The 2023 season was miserable for Austin Ekeler and he will be an unrestricted free agent. It would be surprising to see him stay in L.A., but for two other Chargers stars, this news should be music to the ears of fantasy managers.
Herbert will benefit most from this move. Having Herbert had to be a key selling point in getting Harbaugh to agree to the deal. He's been one of the better quarterbacks in the league and still has a ton of potential as a fantasy asset at just 25 years old (26 in March).
Harbaugh, a former quarterback in the league himself, has been successful in each of his coaching stops, reaching the Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers and taking the Wolverines to the College Football Playoffs three years in a row.
In addition, Herbert's No. 1 wide receiver, Keenan Allen, has a murky future with the team. The Chargers are projected to be way over the salary cap this offseason and Allen, who has one year left on his deal, it set to make $18.1 million in 2024.
Unless the team can come to terms on a new deal, he is a likely cut candidate. So if the Chargers move on from both Allen and Ekeler, how will this team look?
Harbaugh loves to run the ball. He builds teams in the trenches and he would support Herbert with a strong running game. The team also has the No. 5 overall pick in the draft and could use that on a player such as Rome Odunze (WR, Washington) or Brock Bowers (TE, Georgia). Either or those players would be a tremendous addition to the offense to help Herbert.
The Chargers are going to be a new-look team in more ways than one next season, but the addition of Harbaugh completely revitalizes the entire unit. The team will also be built around Herbert and he will be given the tools to succeed. If Harbaugh can succeed with guys like Colin Kaepernick and J.J. McCarthy, he can definitely do it with Herbert.
If you have Herbert in a dynasty league and you were tinkering with the idea of moving him for another option this offseason, you may want to rethink that idea.