Justin Herbert Quickly Ascending From Fill-In to Star
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Image Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Justin Herbert.

In The Blitz, RotoViz writers react to the latest news and help you place it within the context of our 2020 research and recommendations.

Another week, another strong performance for Justin Herbert. The sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft tossed three touchdowns in a losing effort. Despite having to wait another week for a shot at his first career win, Herbert’s performance should lock him into the starting job moving forward.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert performed well in a Week 4 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Herbert was sharp the entire game but threw a late interception to suffer the loss. The rookie was 20-for-25 for 290 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed five times for 14 yards. Herbert’s strong game should give him an even bigger edge on Tyrod Taylor (chest) for the starting job in Los Angeles. Herbert hit nine different receivers in the contest and should have plenty of pass opportunities in what should be a high-scoring contest against the Saints in Week 5 and should be considered a QB2.

Capitalizing On Opportunity

Many thought Herbert could have (and should have) entered the NFL Draft after his 2018 season with Oregon. Instead, he decided to return for one more season. He posted career highs in passing attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns and tied his collegiate best in completion percentage.

Along with his passing prowess, the 6-foot-6-inch signal-caller tacked on 13 rushing scores across four collegiate seasons as well. He never topped 200 rushing yards in a single season, but his athleticism was on display at the combine where he showed top-end speed and explosiveness at the quarterback position.

Herbert’s athletic profile, which was not discussed as much as it should have been, comped him to a prolific, dual-threat quarterback who has been tearing it up through four weeks this season: Josh Allen.

Herbert tested at an inch taller and a pound lighter than Allen but was faster (40-yard dash) and more explosive (broad and vertical jump). If Allen offers a glimpse of what Herbert could do as a potential dual-threat quarterback, fantasy owners have much to look forward to.

How To Play It

An unexpected medical emergency for Taylor forced Herbert into action in Week 2, where he almost beat the reigning Super Bowl champs. Despite being thrown into the game, Herbert threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown and added another score with his legs. He’s averaging over 300 yards/game while throwing six touchdowns, and has been responsible for four turnovers.

However, head coach Anthony Lynn refuses to name Herbert the starter moving forward. The Chargers signaled the end of an era with the departure of Philip Rivers and subsequent drafting of Herbert at sixth overall. The signing of Taylor made sense at the time. The veteran journeyman is an average quarterback who can move an offense. The Chargers’ running game and defense were supposed to be their calling cards this season.

Herbert has seen action much sooner than Lynn would have preferred, but the losses have hardly been solely on him. Through his three starts, their three losses have come by a combined 15 points. Giving up almost 500 yards of total offense and five TDs to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 4 is certainly no fault of Herbert. If Taylor ever starts again, you should absolutely buy Herbert if you can. He’s the future of that franchise and has earned the starting job.

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Sam Wallace

A featured writer for RotoViz, Sam specializes in dynasty. One of our favorite social media voices, he's developing a reputation as a breakout expert.

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