Training camp is a week away, but fantasy football preparation is already in full force.
NFL Network's Marcas Grant joined Chargers Weekly on Thursday to help fantasy owners get an edge in upcoming drafts. In addition to providing general tips and advice, Grant shared insight on the five Chargers that are all but assured to be on fantasy rosters, regardless of format. Highlights are below:
RB Melvin Gordon: Gordon's average draft position (ADP) is 8.85, according to NFL.com. Grant thinks that's right in line with where the Chargers' all-everything back should be selected.
"Depending on your league and how people draft, you'll see him off the board probably late first round, early second round at the latest," Grant said. "If he's somehow hanging around till the middle of the second round, something is a little bit wonky in your league."
Gordon closed 2017 with double-digit fantasy points in six of his last seven games. He also had 58 catches last season, tying him for eighth among running backs.
WR Keenan Allen: Only Houston's DeAndre Hopkins and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown had more fantasy points among wide receivers last season than Allen in standard-scoring leagues. So, is his current NFL.com ADP (16.57) too low?
"He's a guy that I like early in the second round," Grant said. "… Sixteen seems a little bit late even. I would take a chance on him a couple of spots earlier than that."
Allen should also catch the early attention of owners in PPR (points-per-reception) leagues. His 102 receptions -- on 159 targets -- ranked fourth in the NFL last season.
WR Mike Williams: Grant recently listed Williams as one of the best fantasy players you aren't drafting. The former Clemson All-American is expected to take a big jump in his second NFL season -- something to store away when looking for that late-round sleeper.
"I think Mike Williams will have a very nice year this year," Grant said. "Obviously with no (Hunter) Henry there, you're looking at a situation where the Chargers are going to have to go with three wide receivers probably a little more often. And so, I think you can see a situation where Mike Williams starts to break out."
QB Philip Rivers: An often-debated topic in fantasy circles is whether to draft a quarterback with an early-round pick.
Those who choose to wait may be pleasantly surprised to see Philip Rivers still on the board. Rivers is being drafted in the 13th round on average in NFL.com leagues. That's tremendous value for fantasy's eighth-best quarterback in 2017.
"As long as he can keep the interceptions and the turnovers down, he'll be fine," Grant said. "And again, he's that guy. You're looking at a quarterback -- it's the 10th round and you're trying to finally get your quarterback -- Philip Rivers is as good an option as anybody that's going to be out there at that point."
Chargers Defense/Special Teams: One of the final items of business on draft day is selecting a defense. It's not an inconsequential exercise, though; the right one could make the difference in winning a league.
While the Jaguars, Rams and Vikings are among the popular picks, Grant said fantasy owners have been slow to catch on to the Chargers. The Bolts boast a pair of Pro Bowl cornerbacks and edge rushers, and a dynamic rookie safety in Derwin James.
"Sacks and turnovers are the two things you need to have a successful fantasy defense and the Chargers have all the ingredients to get those things," Grant said.
Listen to the entire interview with Grant (23:35 mark) and subscribe to Chargers Weekly on Apple Podcasts. A five-star rating/review is appreciated and will help spread the word to other fans this offseason. Chargers Weekly is also available on Stitcher, TuneIn and Google Play.
*Fantasy stats according to NFL.com