When we were making assignments for our Look Inside articles, no one volunteered to write about the Chargers. When Josh Hudson pointed this out, almost in unison, multiple people suggested, “Ryan should write about Keenan Allen!” My love for Allen in fantasy football is no secret. He is an excellent asset for any team and is almost annually underdrafted. While 2022 was a little rough, please don’t sleep on Keenan Allen in 2023.
Keenan Allen 2023 Fantasy Football Outlook
Inspired by our recent episode with Howard Bender, this article will be my love letter to Keenan Allen.
Dear Mr. Allen,
Let me start this article with a well-deserved “Thank You!” For years, YEARS, you have provided immense fantasy value to managers. From 2017-2021, you never scored fewer than 245 PPR points and never finished worse than the overall WR12. Yet, I can’t remember a single season where I had to pay WR1 prices for you at my fantasy draft. You were always a value, and I appreciate a value.
It wasn’t always all roses. You had to overcome the dreaded “injury-prone” tag after missing 23 games between 2015 and 2016. For the next two seasons, people were scared. Let me rephrase that; dumb people were scared. Smart people drafted the hell out of you and benefited from two of the best seasons of your career. You finished as the WR3 in 2017 and WR12 in 2018. That was enough to erase any injury concerns, and you’ve been rewarding loyal fantasy managers ever since…until 2022.
After back-to-back top-12 seasons with Justin Herbert, expectations were high heading into 2022. You’d caught over 100 balls with the young QB each season, and all indications were that he would improve in Year 3. In Week 1, you caught all four passes thrown your way for 66 yards IN THE FIRST HALF. It should have been a monster game. Instead, it was the beginning of a nightmare.
You hurt your hamstring and could not return to the game. To make matters worse, your Chargers had a Thursday Night game in Week 2, and there was no way they’d rush you back. So, Week 3, right? Nope. Not 4, 5, or 6, either. We had to wait a month to see you again. Our reward? Two catches for 11 yards and a re-injured hamstring in Week 7.
We’re not blaming you, but there’s a history here…
And no, I’m not talking about 2015-16. Back in 2020, you only missed two games, but your injury happened at the end of the year…the fantasy playoffs. In Week 15, the semi-finals back then, you were coming off another hamstring injury, and reports were that you’d be on a snap count. It was a Thursday Night game, and you looked right into the ****ing camera and said, “Don’t Sit Me!”
We trusted you and were rewarded with ONE CATCH for 17 yards. So 2022 definitely brought some flashbacks and forgotten stress back for fantasy managers. Again, no blame is being thrown around here; just explaining the situation. You missed seven games, and fantasy managers felt scorned.
But I remember what they forget.
When you play, you’re as good as they come. We saw you back in action by Week 11 last year. First game back: five catches for 94 yards. Game 2: five for 49 yards and a TD. You scored at least 11.8 points in every one of your last eight games and more than 15 fantasy points in six of them. From Week 11 on, you were the 3rd-best WR in fantasy, behind only Justin Jefferson and Davante Adams. While others feel jaded by your lengthy absence, I see that you took your time and came back RIGHT!
So, what will the future hold?
You’re heading into your 4th-year with Justin Herbert and playing in a new offensive scheme led by Kellen Moore. Moore’s Dallas offenses were among the best in terms of passing volume and yardage. Even at 31 years old, there should be little debate about your role in this offense. The last time we saw you play, Herbert targeted you 13 times in your playoff game. It was the fifth time in your last seven games you saw 10-plus targets.
You are this offense. And that won’t change in 2023, even with rookie Quentin Johnston in the building.
Look, buddy, just stay healthy. Fantasy managers will do the rest. Prove to the world that landing you in 4th Round is basically robbery. Are you telling me I can draft Travis Kelce, Jonathan Taylor, and Rhamondre Stevenson, plus still have you as my WR1?
A Look Inside the
San Diego Los Angeles Chargers
Editor’s Note: We don’t want to leave you hanging on the rest of the team. While Ryan focused on Keenan Allen in fantasy football, here is a quick look at the other fantasy-relevant Chargers from Josh Hudson
After a disappointing 2022, Justin Herbert is ready for takeoff. He has SIX viable pass catchers in an offense that has ZERO issues throwing the football. Kellen Moore’s offenses led the NFL in total yards in two of the last four seasons. And Herbert is a better QB than Dak Prescott. TO. THE. MOON.
Ekeler has been in an exclusive relationship with the end zone for the last two years, having scored 38 touchdowns over that time frame. This is a different offense, but when players taste the end zone, they tend to keep going back to the buffet—draft with confidence.
Of course, Ryan would put Spiller here instead of the ACTUAL RB2 on the offense, Joshua Kelley. (He’s still mad Spiller was a dud his rookie season.) The reality is, Ekeler will handle 175-200 carries this year, leaving not much to whoever is the RB2. Even if Spiller shines, he’s nothing more than a handcuff.
Ryan’s take – Josh Kelley? Bitch, please! Spiller is stuck behind Ekeler, but Moore’s offenses leave plenty of work for the RB2. Despite a PITIFUL rookie year, I think Spiller is the most talented backup RB on the roster. And seeing as the Chargers did not add any RBs this offseason, maybe they agree? You aren’t drafting Spiller, but I want it here in writing when he scores 125 fantasy points this year.
A healthy Mike Williams is basically a lock for 1,000+ yards and 10+ touchdowns. The problem is, he’s only played a full season once in his career. He’s a solid WR2 with WR1 upside because of the expected pass volume in this offense. You’re just probably not going to love drafting him.
The two biggest knocks on Johnston coming into the NFL were his no-show performance against Georgia in the 2023 National Championship and the fact he always caught balls with his body and not his hands. Early training camp videos have calmed some concerns about his hands, but he still has two Pro Bowl WRs in front of him. Have patience.
Palmer played well in 2022 after injuries to Allen and Williams forced them to miss a combined 11 games. Palmer now has an uphill battle for targets with both coming back healthy and the addition of Johnston. We know Palmer can produce if given a chance, which makes him a better best ball target than redraft.
We’ve seen Dalton Schultz succeed in a Kellen Moore offense, so why can’t Everett? The short answer: Schultz never had this much competition for targets. Herbert will need to throw the football 700 times for me to feel comfortable drafting Everett. And you know what? Herbert just might.
We will be covering every team this offseason. So check back here often for all of our A Look Inside articles.