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Why Mike Williams is a Better Value at His Fantasy Football Cost Than Keenan Allen

Mike Williams - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

The Chargers have had one of the most high-powered offenses in the entire NFL. Last year in fantasy football, they supported a Top-2 QB (Justin Herbert), Top-3 RB (Austin Ekeler), and two Top-15 WRs (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams).

There are no signs of this offense slowing down in 2022, and both Williams and Allen are being drafted in the Top-20 at their position, but the question is: Is Williams a better value at his cost compared to Allen?

Allen is drafted as the WR10 ADP (likely his ceiling), whereas Williams is WR19. One of the keys to a great draft is finding value. Even if Allen finishes higher in 2022, your team could have more upside if you draft a different player at that ADP and then target Williams a round later. PPR ADP is collected from Fantasy Pros

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2021 Performance for Mike Williams and Keenan Allen

Mike Williams had a breakout year last year, finishing with 76 receptions (career-high), 1,146 yards (career-high), and nine touchdowns. It was reported this offseason that Williams would be used more as a consistent option instead of a deep-ball threat, which showed as he had a career-highs in target rate (23.8%) and target share (20.8%).

Williams is not as good a route runner as Allen but makes up for it with his contested catch and jump ball ability. Last year, Williams had the 11th highest contested catch rate at 53.3% (as per FantasyData). The Chargers are very committed to Williams, giving him a 3-year $60,000,000 contract extension this offseason, with $40,000,000 guaranteed.

Keenan Allen showed no signs of slowing down last year in terms of usage, finishing with 106 receptions, 1,138 yards, and six touchdowns. He had 157 targets, the most he’s had in a season since 2017 (159). Allen also won 270 of his routes last year, the highest in the league. Allen’s 2.00 yards per route run (2020) dropped to 1.93 in 2021, but he did see his 6.7 yards per target (2020) increase to 7.2 last year (as per PlayerProfiler).

In his first year with Justin Herbert, Allen was his favorite target, garnering 10.5 targets per game. However, with the emergence of Williams as a more consistent part of the game plan, Allen saw his targets per game dip to 9.8 in 2021. Allen’s stats have not dropped a lot by any means, but they are on the decline as he enters his age-30 season this year.

 

There Are Better Options for the Same Cost as Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen finished as the WR12 (PPR/G) last year but is currently being drafted as the WR10 (28.4 overall). He would have to perform even better than last year to be worth that current price tag. He’s being drafted at his ceiling, whereas Mike Williams is being drafted around his floor.

Williams had the best season of his career last year but is being drafted at the back end of the Top-20 WRs. There are some notable high-level players around Allen’s ADP that have better value, which you could take instead and then target Williams in the next round:

Kyle Pitts (TE3 / 32.2 overall)
Pitts could have a HUGE 2022 with the overall TE1 in his range of outcomes. He is coming off a historical rookie season where he finished with 68 receptions and 1026 receiving yards. Pitts was the first rookie TE to have 1000 receiving yards in a season since 1961, and his 15.1 yards per reception was the highest among ALL tight ends last year.

He also had the fourth-highest yards per route run (2.20) and third-highest yards per target (9.3) among tight ends. Getting an elite TE will give you a positional advantage against your competition, and this may be the last year that Pitts can be drafted this late.

Tee Higgins (WR12 / 32.6 overall)
Tee Higgins is another player who could have a massive 2022. He had missed two games last year due to injury, which dropped him to a WR24 finish, but he was the WR13 in PPR/G. Higgins is often overlooked because he is not the WR1 of the team, but this Bengals offense is capable of producing two WR1s in 2022.

Higgins averaged more intended air yards per game than Chase last year (101 vs. Chase’s 95 as per RotoViz) and is just as involved in the passing game as Chase.

The Bengals have significantly upgraded the O-line this offseason, giving Burrow a lot more time to get the ball out of his hands. This Bengals offense will be even better in 2022, and with more teams attempting to double-team Chase, Higgins could garner many more targets and is an excellent value at his current ADP. Don’t be afraid to draft him because he’s not the “number 1” on his team.

Michael Pittman Jr. (WR13 / 35.2 overall)
Pittman had a very productive 2021 in the Colts’ run-heavy offense. He finished with 88 receptions, 1,082 receiving yards, and six touchdowns last year in his sophomore season. He had the third most route wins (262), fourth highest route win rate (51.3%), and eighth highest win rate vs. man coverage (44.7% as per PlayerProfiler).

The Colts acquired Matt Ryan this year, which is a considerable upgrade for Pittman and signals the team may take a more pass-heavy approach this year.

D.J. Moore (WR17 / 43.4 overall)
D.J. Moore is the epitome of “GET THIS MAN A QB.” Moore has been squandered by lousy quarterback play since entering the league. He is the only wide receiver in the NFL to have 1,200 scrimmage yards in each of the last three seasons.

He’s had the fourth most receiving yards over the previous three years (3,525) and pulled that off with Cam Newton, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, PJ Walker, and Will Grier throwing him the ball. Baker Mayfield has had a rough tenure with the Browns, but he is probably the best passer Moore has had up to this point. Moore commanded a 28.4% target share last year and could be in for a career year in 2022.

 

Conclusion

Keenan Allen should still be in for a big 2022, but Mike Williams is a better value. Passing on Allen at current ADP for someone like Pitts, Higgins, Pittman, or Moore is a better move as they are being drafted roughly around where they would finish, compared to Allen being drafted at his ceiling. Mike Williams is currently going approximately 1.5 rounds after Allen.

In all formats, the best strategy would be to land Pitts in the third round (ideally) and reach for Williams in the fourth (even if it’s slightly higher than his ADP). Williams is in for a HUGE year and has the potential to finish higher than Allen (only 0.7 PPR/G less than Allen in 2021) at a much lower cost.



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