Justin Herbert is questionable for Sunday's game against the Jaguars with fractured rib cartilage and is at risk of ending a streak of 34 straight starts (seventh in the NFL). With Herbert's status likely to remain unclear until after the 1 p.m. ET games kick off, fantasy football managers probably have plenty of questions. Could backup Chase Daniel be trusted as a replacement for Herbert? How would this affect other Chargers such as Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams? I'll answer all those questions and more to help you ahead of Week 3.
Herbert was QB4 in our live draft trends, so it's safe to say fantasy managers expected to start him until the Chargers' bye week in Week 8. If Herbert is out, fantasy managers must consider other streaming options, including Herbert's backup. Daniel has started in five games over the course of his career, averaging 220.6 passing yards and 14 fantasy points per game. It is reasonable to expect this statistical production from him Sunday.
Should Herbert play, one would have to assume it's because the Chargers expect him to perform at a level that will help them win, but fantasy managers can't count on Herbert's usual statistical ceiling of a top-3 week. My recommendation is look at other quarterbacks to stream based on your risk tolerance.
Jimmy Garoppolo (84.5%), and Marcus Mariota (79.8%) are available in a high percentage of ESPN leagues. Garoppolo averaged 16.0 fantasy points per game as the 49ers' starting quarterback last season, and Mariota has averaged 16.7 fantasy points per game. Garoppolo plays the Sunday night game at Denver while Mariota and the Falcons visit the Seahawks at 4 p.m., making both quarterbacks solid options, timing-wise.
If you don't want to wait and are looking for a 1 p.m. option to roll with, Jared Goff (71.6%) has averaged 20.7 fantasy points on Lions team that is trending upward.
If Herbert is out, expect the offense to lean heavily on Austin Ekeler and the ground game. Ekeler has averaged 20.5 touches per game, but only 14.8 fantasy points. He has yet to score this year after leading the NFL with 20 touchdowns last season. Much of this is because the Chargers' rushing attack has struggled to find a rhythm early in the season, deploying a trio of rushers in the backfield with Sony Michel and Joshua Kelley. Los Angeles has only averaged 76 rushing yards and 2.8 yards per carry through the season's first two weeks.
Los Angeles is also banged up on its offensive line. Starting center Corey Linsley is listed as doubtful while right tackle Trey Pipkins III is listed as questionable with a foot injury. Jaguars DT DaVon Hamilton should be able to stuff the run and be disruptive as a pass-rusher, forcing the Chargers to become one-dimensional on offense. I'd view Ekeler as more of a RB2 on Sunday.
The Chargers' passing game definitely would suffer with Daniel on the field. Keenan Allen is questionable with a hamstring injury, but if he plays, he should see a steady dose of targets from either QB. Allen projects as a low-end WR2 against the Jaguars, as most his fantasy production comes through volume of receptions.
Williams remains on the flex radar regardless of Allen's status but has a low ceiling with Daniel under center. I don't see a ton of touchdowns scored in this game because the total is only 42.5 points. I'd also advise against starting Josh Palmer or Gerald Everett in fantasy lineups as well.