If there’s a surefire way to earn our love here at Rotoviz, it is to be uber-productive. Since being drafted in 2013, Keenan Allen has been one of the most productive receivers in the league. He’s one of only fourteen receivers to haul in 400 receptions over that time and he did it in the second fewest games played.
Also Allen’s last two seasons have been his best, mostly because he’s been able to stay healthy. He’s finished with 17 PPR points per game in back-to-back seasons and has totaled 199 catches. So why do I hate his ADP?
Well, Allen’s 17 points per game represents his ceiling. In 2017, those numbers were fourth highest. However, that was also the year known as the WR1 apocalypse. Last season it was only good enough to finish 13th. Allen is currently being drafted as the WR12. Drafting a player at his ceiling isn’t necessarily a negative, but there’s reasons to believe Allen won’t reach those heights in 2019.
His Days As A Target Hog May Be Numbered
Due to Allen’s final numbers it will likely be overlooked, but Melvin Gordon was receiving a similar workload through the first month of the season.
While Gordon’s receiving work was scaled back a bit after this, it was his Week 12 MCL injury that helped inflate Allen’s numbers. In the following game against Pittsburgh, he received 19 targets.
Without their star running back on the field, the Chargers leaned on Allen much more as his target share rose from a respectable 28 percent to a league leading 36 percent.
Another reason I have some concern is the return of Hunter Henry and the potential of rising star Mike Williams. Some may scoff at the suggestion they could take off of Allen’s plate, but they have been Philip Rivers’ most effective weapons over the last two seasons.
Henry missed the entire 2018 season but was one of the more efficient tight ends in 2017. Among TEs he was third in yards per route run, fourth in yards per target and had the third highest QB rating when targeted.
Williams, a former top-10 pick, finally broke out last season and scored 10 touchdowns. He also stood out in some key efficiency metrics. His knack for getting in the end zone helped him rank fifth in QB rating when targeted and third in fantasy points per target. More importantly, he had the fourth highest score in PlayerProfiler’s target premium metric. This metric is defined as the percentage of additional fantasy points per target that a wide receiver or tight end generates over and above the other pass receivers on his team. Keenan Allen ranked 74th.
Comparables Suggest He’s Being Overdrafted
Seeing JuJu Smith-Schuster may raise the antennas. However, I doubt that would be as exciting without the departure of Antonio Brown. JuJu’s target share should be trending upward next season, but that’s likely not going to be the case for Allen. What we see with the other comps are arbitrage plays being drafted roughly twenty picks later.
Robert Woods is probably the closest comp of the group based on full season production. The players were the same age in 2018 and head into next year in similar situations. After posting 1,200 receiving yards, Woods’ ADP is taking a hit because he plays on an offense with Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp. However, he’s been able to maintain his 17 points per game average over the last two seasons, suggesting you can acquire Allen’s floor at a much lower price.
Julian Edelman missed the first month of the season due to suspension, but from week 5 on, his season was also quite similar to Allen’s.
With Rob Gronkowski‘s retirement, Edelman’s target share should see a bit of a bump, increasing both his floor and his ceiling. Also while the Chargers are one of the slower teams in the NFL, the Patriots have been a top three team in terms of plays per game for three straight seasons.
While I’ve always been a big fan of the Chargers star, our Rotoviz screener comps seem to indicate he’s being overdrafted based on last season’s production. He’s being drafted as a WR1 but his combination of ceiling and floor can be obtained nearly two rounds later. Not only that, but I’m not sure I’d prefer him to the upside of an Amari Cooper or Stefon Diggs when he will likely get more competition for targets than ever before.
I’m sorry Keenan — I love you, but I can’t draft you onto my fantasy teams at these prices.