36 Responses to “Is Keenan Allen Underrated?”

  1. Justin says:


    • Steve Wyremski says:

      Agreed! More to come on that 😉

      • Aaron says:

        I assume you have been asked to ‘splain yourself on blatantly disrespecting Keenan Allen in your rankings. I mean your WR rankings are so out of whack with the norm, I have been beyond curious to your methodology.

        I mean to have Percy Harvin at #8 and Allen at #30 seems crazy to me, and I might be willing to bet a vast majority of Percy owners would be willing to swap him straight up for Allen to be rid of the headache. I mean to put Allen in the same tier as Nicks, Stevie Johnson, and Reuben Randle seems very disrespectful. I mean Percy has never had a 1,000 yard receiving season and Keenan did it in his rookie year despite hardly being used until Week 4.

      • Aaron says:

        And for the record I am not an Allen owner.

      • kcDemonSlayer says:

        Steve! Maclin?!?! You have Maclin ranked higher than Keenan? Maclin!

        • Aaron says:

          9 spots higher for the record. And he has Cruz at 18 spots higher than Allen. I really need to hear his methodology for his WR rankings because they are so out of whack. I won’t say they are wrong or bad b/c rankings are all just one person’s opinion, ours included, but they are peculiar at best. I can’t see anyone on DLF willing to move Keenan Allen for Reuben Randle and a late 1st Round Pick, yet he has then just one spot apart, which to me is in the same tier which is crazy.

  2. Sugbear65 says:

    I like Allen a lot, and this helps reinforce that for me, so for that I say nice jobs on the numbers. But to the overall theme of the article, I think it’s a little hard to call the #9 WR off the boards “underrated”. He is being taken as a WR1 already, and I can’t see him going above the big 6 for any reason, though as you say he may make it into that group. So sure you could take him ahead of Alshon or Cobb, but does 2 spots qualify as underrated?

    • Eric Hardter says:

      It’s all relative. For example, last year there was a pretty clear “elite” tier of WR’s consisting of Calvin, Julio, AJG, Dez and DT. Fast forward to now, and Josh Gordon is a top-3 dynasty asset. In other words, unexpected changes to the fantasy hierarchy can happen.

      So while Allen is currently the WR9 and a second round pick, another strong season will potentially vault him into the early/middle of the first round. Given his rookie season relative to the “Big Six,” there’s a good possibility that can happen – in other words, it’s possible we’re still buying (relatively) low.

  3. Matt says:

    I’m new to the dynasty and rookie draft landscape but it was interesting for me to notice that Allen seemed like the most stand out prospect very early in the process and he fell when measurables, ect came more into it.

    Maybe the lesson is to see more of the big picture and don’t let the details influence as much.

    • kcDemonSlayer says:

      I got Keenan in the 2nd round of a rookie draft and I got Ellington in the 4th round of the rookie draft. Both players stock fell after NFL draft day because their situations did not seem as ideal as Tavon or Ball or Bell, but you could argue that they had better years than most anyone in the 1st round. Sometimes pre-combine/pre-draft evaluations are more telling….Lacy was the same way too. He was borderline #1 overall pick before he missed out on the combine and had a lackluster pro-day and Franklin also got drafted by GB. He sure looked like the #1 overall player in last years draft.

    • Johnny Bag of Donuts says:

      Kid is a stone cold stud…..Reggie Wayne incarnated.

    • Eric Hardter says:

      I think this is a good way to look at it. The combine is definitely a valuable tool, but it’s NOT a make or break determining factor.

  4. clarioncontrarion says:

    he has done it one year , let’s see how defenses adjust and if rivers really was fixed by whiz or if it was just a quick patch job that starts leaking again. I traded for him and am pleased to say I hope he is underrated.

  5. Matt says:

    I think it might be a mistake to value him with the ‘elite’ wrs.

    Like him and his situation but it seemed every Chargers WR got hurt or stepped down last year.

    I mean on a purely individual talent level I don’t think he’s in that class.

    • Eric Hardter says:

      To your second point, I can only agree to an extent – if he was the only guy there, he should’ve been receiving primary defensive focus as well. His efficiency should’ve also been subpar, as players who function as the focal point of the passing offense tend to get by more on volume than efficiency. Neither of those things happened with Allen.

      It’s possible he’s not as talented as the top guys, but we’re also not that far removed from a time where he was viewed as a lock to be the 1.01 in 2013 rookie drafts.

      • Matt says:

        I really wonder how much of Allens efficiency was a result of the chargers offense in general.

        I’ve got to think guys like Royal and Woodhead were super efficient on a per target or touch basis as well.

        • Eric Hardter says:

          Royal benefited from an non-repeatably high TD rate (one of every 5.9 receptions was a TD). In fact, 30.4% of his fantasy points came from TD’s, compared to his previous career average of 11.5%. His sample size was also only 64% of Allen’s. Throwing in the final fact that Royal was in his 6th year in the league, I think it’s effectively apples to oranges.

          With Woodhead, he caught an insane proportion of his passes, but his YPC was only 8.0 (YPT was 7.0). His usage was dramatically different than that of Allen (or any WR).

          Ultimately it boils down to a chicken/egg scenario. Rivers was downright bad in 2012, in my opinion largely corresponding to the loss of V-Jax. A new coaching staff surely helped, but I have to believe the reacquisition of a legit #1 guy (Allen) was a huge factor. Scheming helps, but I don’t think smoke and mirrors led to only the third 1,000-yard season from a rookie WR in the past decade (Green, Boldin).

          • kcDemonSlayer says:

            I’m not even looking at stats, I just watch the guy play and he can consistently get open. He’s not tall but he’s money in the red zone because he is so good at separating. Dwon the stretch his targets fell dramatically to 2-5 targets a game. If he gets in the 10 target per game range he will put up numbers with the best of them. I just wonder how long Rivers can play and how a transition to a new QB will work.

  6. thestooge says:

    I don’t think he actually put him in the elite category yet. Just showing us the statistics that could one day put him in that category. People very quickly crowned Gordon the next Elite WR after just one year of elite level play. That in my book is an overrated outlook on him. Players whos fantasy value stays consistantly above the rest year after year are elite wrs IMO. Keenan is definetly on the right track after his rookie performance. I hope he can put up like numbers next season!

  7. Julio says:

    As a Keenan Allen owner, reading this article this morning was like wake up sex.

  8. Tommy says:

    As an Allen owner (fell to me at 2.1 last year in a 12 teamer) I’d love to believe that he’s underrated but even if he is just properly rated as a top 10 WR I would be thrilled with that.

  9. Matt says:

    I think it’s worth noting that he only caught 8 passes during the fantasy playoffs but 5 went for a td.

    • Eric Hardter says:

      I did notice that as well, however Rivers only attempted 25.6 passes per game during that period, compared to 35.9 during the rest of the season. He bounced back nicely in the NFL playoffs, catching 26.7% of Rivers’ completed passes.

  10. Moishe says:

    Wow. Just wow. I thought that, as a top-10 WR, he was OVERrated. He had one great rookie season, surprising as a big, slower WR. Kudos to him. So did Anquan Boldin and Marques Colston. Don’t get me wrong: after their rookie years, Boldin and Colston were great guys to own. But they never because one of those vaunted Big 6 or so. Low-end #1, high-end #2, yes. But, never difference-makers. I would much rather chance Jeffrey, Cobb, or stick with Jordy — guys who are or are much likelier to be difference-makers and who still have many years of production ahead of them.

    • bigefat says:

      I love Cobb, Jeffery and Nelson but all those guys are competing for targets in their offenses with either each other or Marshall! You never really know who will have “The Big Game” on those teams. Allen is alone on the top of his team as the top target and plays a lot of games the rest of his time in SD against Oakland, Denver and KC. Teams where they are likely to be whooping in Oakland’s case or in a shootout in the others, potentially loading up on points during his time in SD! I believe he could jump in the top seven. Look at what Rivers did with VJax, anything can happen!

      • JBFootball says:

        Jeffery got 149 targets to Allen’s 104 and Jeffery didn’t start coming on until about the same time as Allen. I’ll take the sharing of 300+ targets between 2 studs than having the team’s only option at WR that will be seeing double coverage all the time.

        • Eric Hardter says:

          You also have to remember that Allen is only 21 years old. Assuming he can play well for the next decade (not a stretch), I’m sure SD (or another team, perhaps) will undergo significant turnover in the passing offense. Ditto with Jeffery. I’m not worried about targets just yet.

  11. GoKeenanGo says:

    Superb article – especially for us Keenan owners. This is a big part of why dynasty FF is so enjoyable for me personally. Getting Keenan at the 1.12 rookie draft, thinking I found a value, only to watch him blow up is great.

    It’s obvious that Keenan & Rivers have elite chemistry. Would Keenan have been as spectacularly productive with anybody else? Maybe… It almost doesn’t matter though, since they’ll both be back, presumably in a similar offense. Hopefully Whiz moving on doesn’t upset the apple cart too much. DX isn’t coming back to make a run at River’s WR#1 either. Blue skies ahead for Keenan owners…

  12. Scott Peak says:

    Great article Eric. I love the stats you noted.

    I loved Allen and thought he was way undervalued before rookie drafts last year. I was on board with Lacy as well, and thought the toe injury was overblown. Both Allen and Lacy are examples of swimming against the media tide, and enjoying great value when general perception shoots them down draft boards. It’s also an example of fantasy owners not always following conventional media reports and going on instinct. I’m not a scout at all, but as a fan, I remember watching video of Allen and being very much impressed. His QB at Cal was terrible, and that might have ironically helped him with his catch radius and percentage. Allen reminded me of Dez Bryant, with a physical style that translated well to the NFL. I LOVED his fiery attitude. It seemed like Allen wanted to win every route, and wanted to catch everything thrown his way. I didn’t think the PCL was a big deal, and I remember tweeting about it. Running a 40 yard dash while rehabbing a PCL is not easy, and it’s not surprising he didn’t fare well at that time. I think it’s a perfect example of eschewing negative media reports and taking a player who showed WR1 talent pre-injury.

    Great stuff Eric!

  13. phantasy5 says:

    Nice work Eric! If Keenan was underrated before drafts at this time last year, then he shouldn’t be underrated now IMO. I had him targeted last year and he hung around for awhile until he went right before my pick! Not sure what round either? Anywho, I’m not ready to annoint me one of the “Big Six” just yet but if he keeps doing what we’ve all witnessed he’ll be well on his way. Just look at those #’s again, they’re pretty staggering don’t you think? I think Mike McCoy is one of the better coaches this league has seen in recent years as well as Rivers ability that everyone has seemed to have written off!
    Remeber when Gates was in his prime, Rivers was a viable QB1 for a long time and I think with Allen and what could be a breakout year for Ladarius Greene as well as Woodhead & Mathews the Chargers could be looking pretty well off on offense fro awhile.

  14. Cy23 says:

    I think Allen could back up the hype (with rookie numbers like that, he could really improve and be amazing!)

    or he could fall flat like Mike Williams did (with rookie numbers like that, there is room for regression).

    I don’t like comparing rookie stats between completely different situations. In the past few years, rookie receivers have become much better situated to perform immediately, in contrast to Calvin Johnson’s rookie season. Also, Allen had a very different situation in that he was basically thrust into the WR1 role with plenty of opportunity immediately.

    What I see is the fantasy equivalent of “grower vs. shower.” Allen performed extremely well last year, but he is a “shower” and his future growth will be limited. The other WR’s compared were “growers” that didn’t do as well their rookie seasons but had a lot of room for growth. They may have similar ceilings, but you can’t project Allen at the same rate.

    That said, I got burned thinking Mike Williams (TB) would become a WR1 after his rookie season, so I might be bitter. And if Allen produces even close to the guys he is compared to, he is worth a lot. I just fear he is more of a WR10-15 than a top 8 guy.

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