Keenan Allen has been one of the most slept-on players in fantasy football for a while. Every year he produces and I feel like no one ever talks about the elite talent he possesses. Allen has it all, quick feet off the line of scrimmage, great route running ability, enough speed to run past defenders, strong hands, a huge vertical leap, and a sick beard. Allen is now entering his 9th season with the Chargers and has had some slight hamstring issues, but he might be in the best position in his career as he now has a young strong-armed quarterback in Justin Herbert throwing him the ball. The Chargers are a dark horse playoff team entering 2021 and if they want to be in the wildcard hunt, Allen will need to be at the top of his game every week.
Keenan Allen had one of his best seasons in 2020. He tied his career-high in touchdown catches with 8 and had his third-most catches in a season with 100. Allen was more of a boom or bust player than people realize as he scored over 15 fantasy points in 6 games and under 10 points in 4 games. He had a wild fantasy season as he had great games, like his 26.5 point outburst against the Jets, and some down games, like 5.7 point disappointment against the Bengals. The touchdowns were really what generated the points for Allen fantasy owners and he will look to build off his great season with a new offensive coordinator and an improved Justin Herbert.
We could see an All-Pro caliber year for Keenan Allen in 2021. Allen is still physically able to burn any cornerback in the league despite the injuries and the fact that he is now 29 years old. He still has his rookie athletic ability and has now mixed in some veteran savvy ness into his play, so he’s all good there. And now he has the perfect quarterback to throw to him in Justin Herbert. While Phillip Rivers was great early in Allen’s career, age finally caught up to him and he was not able to throw down the field like when Allen hit his stride as a receiving threat. Now, Allen has what seems like a franchise quarterback to throw to him and arguably the best supporting cast he’s ever had around him. Expect a big year from Allen and the Chargers offense.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 29, Rounds 2-3, WR10
Auction Value: $23
Allen slides in as the 10th receiver into the top 10 fantasy list for his position. And that makes sense. Allen is probably the best name and player to get once all of the big guns like Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, D.K. Metcalf and Stefon Diggs are taken. Right now, he is being taken around the same time as players such as Michael Thomas and Justin Jefferson who are both top-tier receivers in their own right. Allen gets around the same number of targets and touchdowns as those guys, but Allen gets the edge because he has the best quarterback out of the three.
With all players, injuries are a cause for concern when playing a violent sport like football. And Allen’s injury history should be something to factor when drafting him. Throughout his career, Allen has had knee, groin, ankle, shoulder, hip, abdomen, and hamstring injuries that have limited his snap count or kept him out of games. That’s a lot to play through so don’t be surprised if Allen misses some games in 2021 due to some lingering issues.
Despite his long injury history, fantasy draft experts still think Allen is a top 10 receiver in the league which shows the game-opening talent he has. Allen has one of the highest IQs for a player and understands how to get open better than anyone in the league. He also runs flawless routes, hardly drops the ball, and can make contested catches if he needs to. Even though Allen is not what he used to be, he still is a complete receiver and can put up career highs in 2021 if he stays healthy.
Los Angeles Chargers Offense
The Chargers know the only way to beat the Chiefs is to try and outscore them and that’s exactly how the Chargers approached this offseason. They know they have the stud quarterback, all they need to do is get the right pieces around him. Thanks to Herbert being on his rookie contract, the Chargers were able to splurge and surround him with better protection and better weapons than in his first year. The Chargers drafted top tackle Rashawn Slater to anchor the line along with free-agent signing All-Pro center Corey Linsley. While the Chargers lost a key piece in their offense in TE Hunter Henry, they limited the damage by adding veteran TE Jared Cook and drafting WR Josh Palmer to go alongside the dangerous combo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. The Chargers also have a great receiving running back in Austin Ekeler to take off some of the pressure on Herbert and the passing game.
Strength of Schedule
The Chargers have the 17th hardest strength of schedule for the 2021 season. Their division is tough because they have to play the Super Bowl contending Kansas City Chiefs twice as well as spunky and difficult-to-beat teams in the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. The Chargers get a mix of every play style this season. They get to play grit and grind teams like the Patriots, Ravens, Giants, and Washington Football Team. They also have to play air raid bombs away pass-happy offenses like Bengals, Cowboys, and Steelers. They also have to play balanced attacking offenses like the Vikings and Browns. The Chargers only have 2 realistic games where they should win no matter the context in their games against the Texans and Eagles. Those 2 games are really important and are a must-win if they want to make the playoffs. Every game is important but the other games that they should win if they want to make the playoffs are their games against teams that they would be competing for wild card spots like the Patriots, Ravens, Browns, and Raiders.
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