As Keenan Allen deals with a hamstring injury heading into Thursday Night Football in Week 2, the Los Angeles Chargers WR depth chart has come into sharp focus. With Allen set to miss the game, who can the Chargers turn to as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs this week?
Chargers WR depth chart for Week 2
The Chargers WR depth chart looks a little light with Allen. Besides Mike Williams, there are just three other WRs on the 53-man roster. However, the Chargers also have three receivers on the practice squad. If Allen is out, at least one of them will likely be elevated for the game against the Chiefs.
With that in mind, let’s look at the other three receivers on the active roster for Week 2 before considering the merits of the three practice squad players. Can any potential options on the Chargers WR depth chart be relevant for fantasy football managers this week?
We saw Joshua Palmer being used the most as the third receiver before Allen was injured in Week 1. When Allen was injured, Palmer stepped up and played most of the time in two wide receiver sets. Therefore, that is the pattern we would expect to see continue this week.
However, Palmer had some strange usage. He saw just four targets, catching three of them for five yards. Additionally, his average depth of target was 2.5 yards, suggesting he was being used in and around the line of scrimmage last week.
That significantly limits his fantasy value, especially in non-PPR leagues. Based on what we saw last week, Palmer would need to see his targets more than double to be assured of having fantasy value in 12 or 14-team leagues this week. In deep leagues, he is someone you can look to play, but only in PPR formats.
Jalen Guyton is listed second on the depth chart behind Williams, and based on Week 1 usage, he may very well be a direct backup for Williams. Guyton played on just seven percent of the snaps, the same percentage that Williams did not play.
The usage for Guyton was the lowest of any of the five receivers active last week. He is someone that should remain off fantasy radars for this week.
When you look at DeAndre Carter’s usage last week, there are some promising elements. While he did not play much when Allen was active, he was immediately involved following the injury. He stepped into the three WR sets alongside Palmer and Williams. He also saw three targets in the two drives immediately following the one where Allen got injured.
Carter also appeared to be used as a deep threat by the Chargers. His average depth of target was 19.3, and he finished with 64 yards and three receptions on four targets. He also caught a touchdown late in the second quarter.
If you are looking for an upside play in deeper leagues, then Carter could be exactly that. The biggest risk is that his playing time will likely be limited, with Williams and Palmer expected to be the guys on the field in two receiver sets.
Practice squad options
The three practice squad options are Joe Reed, Michael Bandy, and Jason Moore.
Reed did not see the field in 2021 after having one target and five rushing attempts in 2020. His primary role when he was active was as a kick returner. Even if he is elevated, there would appear to be no fantasy relevance here.
Moore has been with the Chargers for three years. He has suited up for 14 games and been targeted nine times. Moore has five career receptions for 99 yards. He has the potential to be an explosive receiver when he is on the field, but he is unlikely to play a significant role, even if elevated.
Bandy played just 10 offensive snaps as a rookie. He had four kick returns on six snaps on special teams. Of the three, he has the least experience on the offense, so even if he were elevated, it would be unlikely he played more than a handful of snaps.