The Los Angeles Chargers, now entrenched in SoFi stadium with second-year superstar quarterback Justin Herbert at the helm atop the AFC West, have been a fantasy football gold mine so far this season. Mike Williams has been a huge surprise, and Keenan Allen is Keenan Allen. But how will the offense look this weekend against the Baltimore Ravens with Williams battling injuries? Will Jalen Guyton see a boost?
Mike Williams is banged up and very questionable to play
Williams has looked like the dominant wide receiver out of Clemson that he once was, amassing 471 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns through the first five weeks. He is currently the overall WR1 in half-PPR scoring.
That’s right, the WR1.
Williams didn’t practice all week because of a knee injury. He has apparently been dealing with swelling, and the team is being cautious with his outlook. Head coach Brandon Staley said they are hopeful that Williams can play. Still, a player not being able to log even a limited practice during a week is typically not cause for optimism about their availability on Sunday.
What are we doing with Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen?
The short answer is that you’re playing them — always. Austin Ekeler has been a dominant force both on the ground and through the air. He’s the overall RB2, and of running backs that have played five games (I’m using this qualifier because Leonard Fournette has more receptions than Ekeler, but he played on Thursday Night Football … which is shocking and weird, but I digress), Ekeler has the fourth most receptions. He’s also punched in 7 TDs from scrimmage.
Ekeler is elite.
Allen has been slightly overshadowed by Williams, but he’s been strong in his own right. While Williams has hauled in 6 TDs, Allen only has 1. That’s been the biggest difference in Williams being the overall WR1 while Allen sits at WR23.
If you separate the touchdown numbers, Allen has seen almost an identical workload. He’s seen 53 targets to Williams’ 51, while hauling in 34 of them to Williams’ 31. Yet, Williams has the edge in yards, 471 to 369.
Looking at it another way, Williams and Allen have combined for 51.7% of the Chargers’ targets. Add in Ekeler’s targets, and you’re looking at 64.2%. If Williams misses this week, it’s even more pieces of the pie for Ekeler and Allen to take a bite out of.
Who else could step up if Williams misses time?
Behind Williams and Allen, no other wide receiver has been notable for the Chargers’ offense. There will be debates about whether Jalen Guyton and his 13 targets through five weeks could be the next man up without Williams.
You won’t hear that discussion out of me.
The prevailing wisdom about Guyton is that he’s a deep threat, but he’s currently 61st in the NFL with an average depth target of 9.5 yards. Additionally, he’s seen exactly 1 deep target through five weeks while averaging only 2.6 targets per game. No, thank you.
While others in your league might be trying to figure out who the fourth receiving option is after Allen, Ekeler, and even tight end Jared Cook, my advice is that it won’t matter. Expect the top options to feast and not much else.