LA Chargers: Should you start Justin Herbert in fantasy football this week?

Justin Herbert has suddenly become an intriguing fantasy football option for the LA Chargers.

Justin Herbert made a surprise start for the LA Chargers in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs and I can guarantee that anyone that actually pays attention to their fantasy football team did not benefit from Herbert’s great game.

Herbert learned he was starting less than an hour before kickoff after the LA Chargers team doctor accidentally punctured Tyrod Taylor’s lung while giving him a pain-killing injection for a cracked rib. Taylor’s health is most important in this situation and thankfully, he should make a full recovery.

It is still unclear how long Taylor will be out for but it will likely be his team when he gets back. For now, though, Herbert is the starting quarterback and will start at home again versus the Carolina Panthers.

With this being Herbert’s first planned start — plus the fact that he is likely available in your league — it raises the question: should you pick up Herbert and start him for your fantasy football team?

Justin Herbert’s fantasy football value:

Herbert completed 22 of 33 passes for 311 yards with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. That was good for 22.24 fantasy points, putting him right behind Gardner Minshew and ahead of Derek Carr for the week. He was the 13th-highest scoring quarterback.

However, if you are on ESPN’s Fantasy Football app, you will see a threatening red number that reads 2nd in opponent position rank — meaning the Panthers have allowed the second-fewest quarterback fantasy football points this season.

I would not be worried about that. Yes, the Panthers have not allowed a lot of quarterback fantasy points, but they also played Derek Carr in what wasn’t a great game for Carr and a 43-year-old Tom Brady.

They had the 31st-ranked secondary in the league on Pro Football Focus entering the season.

If you really look at it, Herbert has a really favorable matchup here. He is at home, indoors and is playing a team that is not great on either side of the ball. With the Panthers missing Christian McCaffrey, the Chargers offense may have the ball a lot in this game.

I personally worry about the team being conservative with their playcalling to keep Herbert healthy and to avoid revealing too much for their back-to-back challenges vs. Tampa Bay and New Orleans. Thus, I would not be shocked if we saw a lot of rushing attempts in this game, even more than we have seen in the first two weeks.

I think Herbert will have a good game but not a great game. The LA Chargers will get out to a lead and kind of sit on it. A fair estimation for Herbert’s production is 250 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and around 20 rushing yards. I also think he will not throw an interception in this game.

That is exactly 20 points in the game for Herbert. Not a bad day, but not a great day. So should you start Justin Herbert in fantasy?

I think there are two reasons to start Herbert. First, if you are playing daily fantasy and need to save some salary for other positions then I think Herbert is a safe pick. I doubt he has a bad game.

Second, if you have a quarterback that will likely score less than 20 points in Week 3.

Next: The ramifications of Taylor's punctured lung

Most of the starting-caliber quarterbacks in fantasy will have a game as good or better than Herbert. But if you are struggling at quarterback and have someone like Tom Brady, Mitchell Trubisky or even Carson Wentz starting then I would get risky and throw Herbert in the starting lineup.