Keenan Allen is a Budget WR1
Thinking about starting your fantasy draft RB-RB? Want to hit those potential bell-cows but worried about not having an elite receiver to fill out your roster? Fear not because Keenan Allen is a budget WR1.
Allen is slipping in fantasy drafts and it is quite confusing. After landing the misunderstood “injury-prone” label in recent years, Allen has started 31-of-32 games over the last two seasons. He has also posted a top-six target share and at least 17.0 PPR fantasy points per game in both years, but fantasy gamers just aren’t interested anymore.
According to Fantasy Football Calculator and DRAFT, Allen is going in the third round of drafts as the WR12. This is absurd for a player of his consistency. Over the last two seasons, Allen has posted at least a top-12 week in 12 of his 31 starts. He has also finished top-5 at the position on five separate occasions.
A WR12 price tag is essentially his floor, as he finished as the WR12 last season with plenty of factors against him. With a little touchdown luck to go along with some newfound volume, Allen is capable of smashing.
For starters, Philip Rivers only attempted 508 passes in 2018, his lowest in 10 years. In the five years prior to 2018, Rivers averaged 586 pass attempts. We should expect his pass attempt total to bounce back closer to that figure.
If we stick with that number, we can see that Allen is due for a significant target increase. Despite posting a 29.2 percent target share, No. 2 in the NFL, he finished just 11th in total targets with 137. If Allen saw 29.2 percent of Rivers’ 586 attempts, that would put him at 171 targets. Assuming his same efficiency, he would have added another 24 receptions, 296 yards and 1.5 touchdowns. His PPR total would have been 315.2, which would have ranked No. 7 among receivers.
There are also 110 targets up for grabs in the Chargers offense. Tyrell Williams (64) is now stretching the field in Oakland while Antonio Gates (46) is kicking up his feet and waiting for a call from Canton. Breakout-candidate Hunter Henry will soak up some of those targets, but only six tight ends saw 90 targets last season. That means there is still some meat on the bone for Allen to enjoy.
Strong Opening Schedule
The Chargers will also see an incredibly favorable schedule at the start of 2019. They kick things off with a home opener against the Colts, a likely shootout. Then the Chargers travel to Detroit to take on the Lions, who posted the second-worst DVOA against the pass last season, according to Football Outsiders.
They’ll have another home shootout with the Texans followed by a road game against a bottom-five Dolphins team before taking on the Broncos, who Allen has scored double-digit fantasy points against in three games over the last two seasons. And best of all, Allen will get to face the Steelers again in Week 6. Remember, he dropped 34.8 fantasy points on them in Week 13 last season.
With an opening schedule like this, Allen could conceivably start the season as the WR1 overall. Not only would this smash value and make an easy return on your third-round investment, but it would offer immense trade power to underperforming fantasy teams in your league.
Best Value 3rd-Round Pick
As of right now, Allen is wedged between Amari Cooper and A.J. Green in ADP. Make the right decision. He is incredibly consistent, in a strong offense, and will see unparalleled volume. Keenan Allen is a budget WR1. Take him and reap the rewards.
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