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Keenan Allen - Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery


Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody on your bench. Disaster Recovery is to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting, and deciding if you should be panicking at all about their value moving forward.

This season we'll be focusing on one dud a week, and touching on a few others briefly. There will be two major qualifiers for these players: the player must have performed well below expectations without an injury, and the player must be considered a must-start in most formats.

Keenan Allen had back-to-back duds in Weeks 4 and 5. I was unconcerned. After a third-straight stinker in Week 6, it's about time we finally talk about the Chargers receiver.

 

Keenan and Dry Spell

Keenan Allen's Week 6 stat-line: two receptions for 33 yards on six targets

Keenan Allen was sending secondaries to the shadow realm during the first three weeks of the season. During that stretch, Allen recorded 29 catches for 404 yards and three touchdowns on a massive 42 targets. He was on pace for over 200 targets and 2,000 yards.

Obviously, nobody expected Allen to keep up that pace - but the weeks that have followed have been alarming. Allen has accumulated 11 catches for 99 yards and zero touchdowns over the last three weeks. And he has just seventeen targets over that stretch, the same amount of targets he had in Week 3 alone.

Allen has been known to have the random dry-spell here and there. This, however, is the worst of his career. Allen has never had a three-game stretch with under 100 total receiving yards - and the Chargers have not changed their offensive philosophy during this particular three game stretch. Phillip Rivers has more attempts and completions during Allen's dry-spell than he did during his hot streak.

The truth is that, for the most part, Allen's struggles have just been the result of good defense. In Week 5, Allen simply ran into elite cornerback Chris Harris. He struggled to do much of anything against the swarming defense of the Broncos' Pro Bowl cornerback. This week, Allen faced a Pittsburgh defense that he victimized for 148 yards and a touchdown last season - and the Steelers decided that they wouldn't let Allen beat them again. They hit Allen with plenty of double coverage and forced Rivers to make Mike Williams and Hunter Henry his main targets.

 

Looking Forward

The fact that the Chargers can make other guys their main target in the passing game is the biggest concern for Allen owners right now. This is an offense that is loaded with pass-catchers. Getting Melvin Gordon and Hunter Henry back further complicates an already complicated situation for Allen. Even though Allen will remain Rivers' number one target in the passing game, he'll lose a few targets to their returning players. It's unlikely that he'll have a three game stretch with 42 targets again this season.

Henry has already proven to be a favorable red zone target for Rivers. The veteran quarterback looked to his tight end three times in Week 6, and two of the three targets resulted in touchdowns. On the contrary, he's only targeted Allen in the red zone twice over the past three games. Williams and Austin Ekeler also have more red zone targets than Allen during that stretch.

Even with all the concerns regarding Allen for the rest of the season, I'd have trouble parting ways with him. The positives are too positive. He plays on a good offense with a good quarterback surrounded by talent. The targets, yards, and touchdowns will come back. He might not have 400 yards and 40 targets over a three game stretch again this year, but he'll have a few more 100 yard games. Even in another tough matchup against Tennessee, you'd have to be crazy to bench Allen.

Panic Meter: 2.5/5

 

Other Players to Monitor

Let's take a look at some other notable busts from Week 6:

Wait and See: WR Cooper Kupp

The Rams had a historically bad offensive performance against the 49ers in Week 6. Jared Goff threw for a career-low 78 yards and the team barely had positive yards in the second half offensively. They failed to convert on a single third or fourth down. It's hard to image the offense being this bad again in 2019, but there are genuine concerns with Jared Goff and the Rams' offensive line. If the Rams can't bounce back against Atlanta's Swiss cheese defense, they might never bounce back. But they should bounce back, and you don't want to have Kupp on your bench when that happens.

Sound the Alarm: RB Aaron Jones

For whatever reason, Green Bay coaches do not enjoy feeding Aaron Jones. Just a week after scoring four touchdowns in a rout of the Cowboys, Jones found himself playing second banana to Jamaal Williams in the Packers' backfield. Jones has officially entered a "hot-hand" situation in Green Bay's backfield, which is the worst thing a fantasy owner could hope for. Jones owners have no choice but to start him in most situations due to his upside. But if he has a solid game in Week 7, it might be time to consider moving him for a more consistent piece.

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