This time of year is all about the rookie hype. Who will be the next great star? What sleepers can you find in your draft? Should you trade 2023 picks for 2024 picks?
But what about the veterans in the league who have already helped you? Who should you be looking for out there that can give you a boost for the 2023 season, even if not much longer than that? Well, this one goes out to all the contenders in 2023 as we dive into the profile and affordability of Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know Keenan Allen has been a staple in fantasy football for years. But are you aware of his consistency?
Since joining the league in 2013, Allen has averaged 6.3 receptions and 73.7 yards per game. That is across ten seasons and 126 NFL games. Until injury kept him from a full season in 2022, he had been to five straight Pro Bowls in an AFC packed with wide receiver talent.
This has led to some big years for fantasy owners as well. Allen’s biggest year came in 2017 when he was WR3 overall and WR4 in points-per-game in 0.5-point PPR. And he hasn’t slowed down since. From 2017 to 2021, Allen was in the top-14 wide receivers every single season and only fell out in 2022 due to an injury limiting him to 10 games. But that didn’t stop his points-per-game totals. Allen has been top-18 every season from 2017 to 2022, finishing as a WR1 in PPG for four of the six years.
Allen’s value stems from his being a consistent target in the Chargers’ offense. From 2017 to 2022, Allen averaged 9.5 targets a game. On average! From 2017 to 2021, Allen was top-12 in WR targets every season and top-8 in four of those five seasons.
You know Keenan Allen. You know what he has done. But he’s 31 years old now. What can we honestly expect in 2023?
The Chargers made a big move in the 2023 draft in their wide receiver room when they added TCU standout, Quentin Johnston. The rumors started instantly that it is likely we only see Keenan Allen in LA for one more season.
That is certainly possible. And the outlook for Allen is not something we want to invest in long-term. But what about a team looking to contend now?
Allen had a slow start in 2022, playing the opening week before being out with a hamstring injury for the next five games. And when he returned in Week 6, he reaggravated his injury, forcing him out until Week 11.
But what we saw after his return excites me for 2022. Showing that turning 30 doesn’t mean as much to a player like him, Allen was WR4 from weeks 11 to 18. He consistently scored, with no games under 9.3 fantasy points in 0.5 PPR and scoring 12.6 points or more in six of the eight games.
He had 83 targets in those eight games and was peppered by Justin Herbert down the stretch when games mattered most. Allen showed he had not slowed down, and even with a hamstring not at 100%, he could dominate in the NFL.
Seeing this from Allen and knowing his profile as a gifted route runner and tactician as a possession receiver, I see no evidence that we should expect a slow-down in 2023. Allen has been consistent up to the end of last season when he was on the field. Barring injury, which can happen to any player, Allen should still be a huge target hog in LA.
Current Trade Value
Here is where things get really good for Allen. This only benefits a competing team, but it is great for owners trying to hang a banner. Allen is wildly affordable for what his output has been.
Check out some of these real trades in the Trade Browser in DynastyGM and see for yourself:
A 29-year-old tight end in the same offense in a straight-up deal? Allen and Jamaal Williams for only two second-round picks this year? A second and third-round pick three years from now for the WR4 in the final eight games last year?!
Allen is beyond affordable right now. He has crossed the threshold of a valuable asset to hold onto, to “I better move him while I can” for rebuilding teams. If he is on a squad in your league with a rebuilding owner, you can acquire him for pennies.
If you are contending, you don’t need pennies. You need winners. Proven winners. If you can move mid-round picks in future drafts to turn your WR2 or WR3/Flex spot into Keenan Allen, what are you waiting for? A written invitation? Well, you got one now.
Keenan Allen is 31 years old. He likely does not have many games left to have a significant fantasy impact. But he is far from finished. And he is unbelievably affordable right now.
Often in a dynasty, we get pulled into the thought process of youth before anything. “Can this guy produce for me for the next three to four years? No? Then he isn’t worth it.”
When you are contending, you can’t be in that mindset. This is not a call to sell all your youth. It is a cry to stop letting proven and strong contributors like Allen die out on rosters that don’t need them. In a time when quality depth like Allen is this cheap, strike and get yourself someone who can make a true difference on a championship run.
I understand being apprehensive. Allen is older, has been injured recently, and gained rookie competition. But the buy-in is too low to pass up. Allen could be consistently getting you 12 points a game down the stretch next season. Do you know who won’t be doing that? A 2026 second and third-round pick. If you are contending, kick those tires.
Am I way off-base? Should Allen be a buy for contenders? Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @timbmartens, and let me know what you think!
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