Replacing Keenan Allen
Keenan Allen, the AFC leader in receptions, was placed on season-ending IR with a lacerated kidney. Allen had 67 catches, 725 yards, and four touchdowns through eight games, on pace for a truly spectacular season. The expectation is for Allen to be fully recovered in six weeks, but with the Chargers poor record they opted for IR instead of potentially playing the final two weeks. The injury leaves a huge void in the Chargers’ passing game. Where do the targets go now in this offense? Speaking of targets, who should Allen owners target to replace Allen on their fantasy teams?
Let’s first look at the Chargers offense. QB Philip Rivers will need to find a new go-to option and may take a fantasy hit with the loss of Allen. RB Danny Woodhead is currently second in catches and receiving yards, and is already likely playing at his production ceiling. The three options most likely to see an increase in production are Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, and Steve Johnson.
Gates has the track record to lead the way in receiving, but nagging injuries and defensive scheming may prevent him from big-time production. Gates has a high floor going forward, as regardless of coverage he should see plenty of targets.
Floyd is probably going to be the hot commodity after his two-touchdown performance in Week 8. While he may see an uptick in targets, he’s always been more of a home-run threat than a target monster, so his production will likely continue to be sporadic.
Johnson is an interesting option to emerge in this offense. He started the year strong before being sidelined with a hamstring injury. Upon returning from injury in Week 8 he saw eight targets. That is a number that should remain similar or increase in the upcoming weeks, and as he proved early in the season, he can still make plays.
Dontrelle Inman will likely see the field in three-wide sets, giving him an opportunity in the passing game after being buried in the depth chart for most of the season.
Now for fantasy owners, who is out there to target as a replacement for Allen? Waivers are getting pretty thin, but here are five options widely available, in no particular order.
- Steve Johnson (SD)
Given the Chargers tendency to throw, a decent add would be Steve Johnson. He is essentially filling the role vacated by Allen, and has the early-season success to show that he can handle the role.
- Kamar Aiken (BAL)
Somebody has to catch the ball for Baltimore, and Aiken is the best option at WR. The Ravens have a Week 9 bye so he won’t help this week, but this is the time you need to pick him up if you have the roster flexibility. He is even more appealing for those playing in PPR leagues.
- Dorial Green-Beckham (TEN)
With Marcus Mariota on schedule to return for a juicy matchup with New Orleans in Week 9, Green-Beckham may finally get to put his talent to good use. To further help his chances, fellow wideout Kendall Wright is slowed with a knee injury and may miss Sunday’s game.
- Nate Washington (HOU)
Washington has played well when healthy, though like Aiken this is a player to stash while he is on a Week 9 bye. Back-to-back weeks with over 70 yards receiving and at least one touchdown make him worth the stash if you need the WR help.
- Marvin Jones (CIN)
While his production can be very hit-or-miss, buying into the Cincinnati passing attack has been a good investment. The upcoming schedule should allow the passing game to continue to flourish, and Jones will see his fair share of production.