There may be no player more scary to draft in fantasy football than Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen. While that isn’t due to his talent or what he’s capable of doing on the actual football field, it’s all about his injury history. Over the past two seasons, Allen has played in just nine games, missing eight in 2015 and 15 in 2016. So now, it’s going to be about staying healthy for Allen, but if he’s able to, he could wind up being one of the biggest steals of draft day.
Let’s breakdown when you should draft Allen, as well as a statistical expectation for him during the 2017 season.
*Before diving in, note that this is based on 12-team leagues with standard rosters and point-per reception (PPR) scoring.
When to Draft Keenan Allen
Consensus: Mid-to-late third round
Allen shouldn’t fall to the fourth round, he’s a player who has the talent of a second-round pick, but injury history is going to scare many people off. When looking back at his production through his first few seasons when he’s been on the field, it’s been strong. As a rookie, he caught 71 passes for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games, then in 2014, he caught 77 passes for 783 yards and four scores in 2014.
But, Allen was on pace for an absolutely monster season in 2015, racking up 67 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns in just eight games. Essentially, he almost surpassed his production from the season before in six fewer games.
If healthy, Allen is a top-tier wideout, and as ESPN’s Eric Williams reported, quarterback Philip Rivers said he “looks as good as he did before he got hurt.” Best of all, that came during OTAs, so plenty of time has passed since that point. If you’re in a position where you’re able to draft a stud running back or wideout, and another elite player to pair with Allen, then you could be sitting on a gold mine when it comes to your 2017 fantasy football team.
Statistical Predictions for Allen in 2017
So the question is, will we get the Allen who was on pace for 1,450 yards last season? Or the one who tallied just 783 yards the year before? It’s hard not to lean toward the former, especially due to the fact that the Chargers have an improved running game with Melvin Gordon. The now-third-year running back rumbled for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, which should certainly help to make Allen’s life a whole lot easier this coming season.
To go along with that, the Chargers saw Tyrell Williams rack up 1,059 yards, Dontrelle Inman total 810 yards and Travis Benjamin finish with 677 yards last season. The trio also combined for 15 touchdown receptions, and while they all played great at times, it’s easy to argue that Allen is the most talented wide receiver of the bunch. He should immediately revert back to being one of Rivers’ favorite targets, which should equal statistical gold for him this season.
It’s hard to predict a solid number for Allen, but we’ll go with 85 receptions for 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns. All of those numbers could easily be higher as well if Allen can stay healthy, and regardless he’s going to be a great fantasy football option in 2017.