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The Justin Herbert Disrespect Must Stop 

Recency bias is a killer.


Justin Herbert is coming off of his worst year as a pro and is being tossed to the side. The Chargers were a complete DISASTER. Injuries destroyed the team. Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams fought injuries throughout the season with Williams even missing the majority of the year because of it. The Chargers only won five games all season, leading to the firing of head coach Brandon Staley. 


There is a new regime in Los Angeles. The Chargers will feel different this season with a new coaching staff led by Jim Harbaugh and numerous key departures. Herbert will no longer have Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, or Mike Williams in 2024. This is the reason why he is being so slept on. I believe this season Justin Herbert will silence the doubters and propel himself back into the conversation as one of the league’s best.


 

Justin Herbert’s Career

Justin Herbert entered the league in 2020 out of Oregon. He is your prototypical big-bodied pocket passer but has enough mobility to keep the defense on their toes. The Chargers selected him with the sixth overall pick, making him their apparent quarterback of the future. It is safe to say they made the right decision. Justin Herbert had the sixth most passing yards and tenth most passing touchdowns as a rookie! His 4,336 passing yards, 31 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions would win him “Offensive Rookie of the Year” and fantasy's QB9 in 2020.


His 2021 season was even better. He was second in the league in passing yards (5,014) and third in passing touchdowns (38). He ended as the QB2, behind only Josh Allen. His third season was a bit of a step back, throwing for 4,739 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions as the QB11.


In 2023, Justin Herbert disappointed fantasy football enthusiasts everywhere. He would finish the season with 3,121 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Statistically, it was his worst season since entering the league. He finished the season as the QB17; this is not what you want from a quarterback taken within the first four rounds of your fantasy draft. 


The truth is, he would have been great had he not gotten injured. If we took his averages over the 13 games he played and stretched them across a full 17-game season, he would have had 4,098 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He would have also contributed another 298 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Those averages would bring him a QB7 finish with 18.55 fantasy points per game.


 

QB14?

Justin Herbert's current ADP has him being drafted as the QB14. Is that too high? Too low? Just right?


People are taking Herbert’s poor 2023 season at face value and combining it with the Chargers losing offensive star power to form a narrative that he is not a good fantasy quarterback for 2024. He is not getting enough credit. While the Chargers’ offense is almost guaranteed to be worse than last season, he has shown that he is among the top quarterbacks in the league.


For the sake of the argument, let us assume the Chargers offense is terrible. Justin Herbert can still be a solid fantasy option. Over the past few seasons, there have been several quarterbacks who have been fine fantasy options without top-tier talent surrounding them.

Team

Quarterback

Top Running Back

Top Receiver

2023 Packers

Jordan Love, QB10

Aaron Jones, RB37

Jayden Reed, WR25

2022 Broncos

Russell Wilson QB16

Lativius Murray, RB32

Jerry Jeudy, WR22

2021 Titans

Ryan Tannehill, QB12

Derrick Henry, RB22

AJ Brown, WR32

*Stats from PFF and Sleeper


Russell Wilson had a pretty bad season in 2022 in comparison to what we have seen from him in his Seattle days. Even with a poor supporting cast and a down year, he finished as the QB16. Unless Herbert suffers an injury, it is unlikely he will finish anywhere near that.


 

The Verdict

Herbert’s ADP of QB14 is disrespectful. Tua Tagovailoa, Jared Goff, and Brock Purdy are all being selected before him, and I would be comfortable taking Herbert before any of those three. He is a borderline top-10 fantasy quarterback even with a below-average receiving core. He is one player that I cannot seem to get enough of in fantasy drafts this upcoming season. If you load up your team with stud running backs and wide receivers in the first few rounds, he is a great middle to late-round quarterback to target. The reward far outweighs the risk.

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