In what will surely be one of the saddest moments of the 2016 NFL season, Keenan Allen was carted off during the second quarter of Sunday’s Chargers game against the Chiefs in San Diego. Allen entered this season ranked 14th overall in our top-100 here at DLF, and for good reason. He’s been a favorite option for one of the most prolifically underrated fantasy quarterbacks of the last decade in Philip Rivers, and only turned 24 in April. Early in Allen’s career, the knock on him was that he wasn’t dedicated enough and that his lacking motivation led to poor conditioning. Allen wiped those concerns away with an off-season full of rave reviews regarding his maturity and commitment to conditioning. With this past off-season’s reports, the only concerns that remained with respect to Allen were related to his health. Many viewed Allen as an injury risk because he’d only appeared in 37 games through his first three seasons in the league (averaging just about four missed games per season). However, last season, Allen missed time due to a lacerated kidney, which is far too freak an injury to hold against any player.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Nevertheless, facts are facts, and the fact is, it’s now being reported Allen suffered a torn ACL in the Chargers’ week one game, which if confirmed, will require season-ending surgery. For those in the dynasty community, this injury has a number of repercussions, and this article is geared to provide you with a brief overview of the impact this injury will have on your leagues.
For starters, this clearly knocks Keenan Allen down a couple of pegs. But, don’t be too quick to judge. I believe this makes Allen a great buy-low candidate—especially for teams currently in a “rebuild.” Allen will be turning 25-years-old just before the start of the 2017 season.
Here are two interesting facts that may make you reconsider Allen’s dynasty worth:
If that’s not enough for you to reconsider your discounting Keenan Allen, perhaps it’s also worth mentioning that Jamaal Charles’ first ACL injury occurred during just the second game of his age-24 season, which provides Keenan with some fairly good company I’d say. When Charles returned from that ACL tear for his age-25 season, he only chalked up 1,745 offensive yards. Not too shabby. Now, as I said before, Allen’s injury absolutely drops him down a tier or two for me ranking-wise, but I absolutely believe Allen will be overly discounted and undervalued and that he is a name you should be targeting as an extreme buy-low as this season progresses. For those of you still thinking Allen is a name to forget in dynasty, just remember that he’s a target-monster, and he’s caught 68.25% of his targets over his NFL career, in comparison to Kelvin Benjamin who has caught just 50% of this targets over his brief career. Though we’ll sadly miss out on Keenan Allen here during the 2016 NFL campaign, I still prefer Allen over Benjamin long-term, if you’re looking for some perspective.
So, what else does this injury mean to us here in the dynasty community?
Well, Allen has averaged nearly ten targets per game throughout his NFL career (a rate that has increased each season of his career), which means there will be plenty of targets to be accounted for now in San Diego. Who do I think will be the beneficiary of those targets in his absence? The Chargers went out and acquired Travis Benjamin and I believe he’ll see an uptick in targets now that Allen’s out of the picture. However, I think the most likely scenario is that we see more Antonio Gates, more Danny Woodhead in the passing game and my sleeper beneficiary will be Dontrelle Inman. To be perfectly honest (and I doubt this comes this as much of surprise), I believe this injury serves great detriment to the Chargers as a whole as it relates to their 2016 offense. I believe they lean more on Melvin Gordon and the run game, and think that—barring an unforeseen breakout campaign by a name like Inman, the Chargers offense sputters pretty dismally and that it’s going to be a long season for San Diego.
The Chargers offense has always been kind, in fantasy terms, with Rivers at the helm, so I do not think you’ll want to avoid them simply due to the Allen loss. I think you’ll want to pay close attention to the matchups, and pick your poison. Gates, Gordon, Benjamin and Woodhead will all make for decent-to-good plays from week-to-week, but I also believe the Chargers offense will be a difficult one to predict in the wake of the Allen injury. I think Gordon and Benjamin will be good start-worthy plays on a weekly basis, with the others being crapshoots and the Chargers likely making for a good squad to pick against in survivor pools once the season really gets going. Without Allen, they simply lack the firepower to really scare you on offense.
Conclusion: I’d like to extend an apology to all DLF-member Keenan Allen owners, as I sincerely feel your pain. Not only do I own Allen stock, but I’ve been through this before, and many times at that. Nothing is worse than injuries for the fantasy world and especially those occurring early in the season. Nothing kills excitement like a blown-up knee, and losing your WR1 (or 2) during week one is something that can ruin a fantasy season. Even more to the point, we can only imagine how painful the experience it is for the actual player, and our collective hearts here at DLF go out to Allen and his family as he will now embark on his long journey back.
With all that being said, you’re reading this article for dynasty analysis, so that is precisely what I’ll leave you with. If you are a contender who just lost Allen, are you deep enough at receiver to withstand that loss? If so, good for you. Hold onto him. If not, look around your league. If you see a team in an obvious rebuild with a need for a young receiver who might be able to offer you a veteran player who could help keep you afloat in ’16, I’m all for it. But, I think you should wait to pull the trigger as the Allen price tag is most definitely at its lowest point immediately following this injury news. If you’re middling or in a complete rebuild, go after Keenan Allen right now. Literally. Stop reading this article, log on to your fantasy league, offer the Allen owner a trade and send him a follow-up text. Allen is only 24 years old and people who have owned him in dynasty (who are not reading this piece) will likely be giving up on him due to frustration. You’ll wind up getting a great bargain and enter 2017 with a top-flight receiver whose value will be on the rise as soon as those Rotoworld blurbs begin rolling in discussing what great progress he’s making in his rehab.
Latest posts by Mark Johnson (see all)
- Rookie Draft Picks and Trade Value: How to Value the 1.03 - March 2, 2017
- Rookie Draft Picks and Trade Value: How to Value the 1.02 - February 15, 2017
- Rookie Draft Picks and Trade Value: How to Value the 1.01 - February 7, 2017