We have been waiting 10 days to find out if Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen is playing in Week 3 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and entering Sunday morning, we still don’t really know. Let’s examine the latest updates around Allen’s status and what fantasy football managers should do if he is active or inactive this week.
Update: Keenan Allen is inactive for the Chargers’ Week 3 game.
Is Keenan Allen playing today?
It has been mixed all week as to whether Allen would be available for Week 3 after he missed last week’s Thursday Night Football game with his hamstring injury. Things appeared to be trending in the right direction as he was limited both Wednesday and Thursday. However, Allen missed practice completely on Friday before being listed as questionable.
That absence on Friday shouldn’t be dismissed. According to injury analyst Deepak Chona, the absence would indicate either a setback or that the injury was underestimated. While he was giving Allen a 75% chance of playing entering Friday, he has now dropped that to less than 50%. That has huge ramifications for fantasy managers, especially with the Chargers playing in the late-afternoon window.
What should fantasy managers do with Keenan Allen in Week 3?
At this point, it is incredibly dangerous to consider starting Allen in your lineups for Week 3. Friday’s absence from practice has changed the outlook entirely. The first point of decision will come ahead of the 1 p.m. ET games, where managers may have to choose another player who is active in that window.
Given the uncertainty over Allen’s status, if you have no one you can trust in the later windows, then it should be a serious consideration to start those players that are active in the early window over Allen.
The next decision point comes in terms of whether you can even trust Allen in your lineup. We know how talented he is, but hamstring injuries tend to impact a player’s speed and burst as they recover. Therefore, we could see Allen struggle to create separation, and in essence, be a decoy, even if he is active this week.
It’s extremely tough to start Allen this week simply because the range of outcomes is so wide. The potential limitations on his speed mean that Allen’s ceiling could be heavily impacted unless he can catch some short touchdown passes. Additionally, the uncertainty over whether he will even be targeted means there’s not even a floor that we can trust.
On top of all of this, we don’t even know if Justin Herbert will play. While Chase Daniel is a perfectly serviceable backup, it is another knock on Allen’s ceiling. The offense with Daniel is almost certainly likely to be less adventurous than that of one with Herbert at QB. All of this is just reinforcing that starting Allen this week is incredibly risky.
What does all of this mean for Mike Williams as a fantasy asset?
Normally, the absence of Allen or the presence of a limited version of him would be good for Mike Williams’ fantasy value. We saw Williams targeted 10 times last week, compared to just four times in Week 1. He should be heavily utilized again in Week 3, but the ceiling of that usage really depends on who’s playing QB.
If Herbert is active, then Williams is a must-start regardless of Allen’s status. However, with Daniel under center, Williams slides more into Flex-starter territory. He should still see solid usage, but the ceiling of that usage is limited. Again, this is all tough for fantasy managers with the late-window kickoff time. Ideally, you have other starting options to consider in the later windows so you can make a decision on Williams with knowledge of Herbert’s status.
However, if all our alternative options play in the early slate, then you have a tough choice to make. The usage should be high enough that I would lean towards Williams regardless, but it depends on who else you have on your roster. To help you make that decision, check out PFN’s fantasy rankings for both the WR position in Week 3, as well as at Flex.
If Allen is absent, what does it mean for DeAndre Carter, Joshua Palmer, and Gerald Everett?
We have a pretty good idea of what the Chargers’ offense will look like. Joshua Palmer is expected to slide into Allen’s role as the option in two WR sets, with DeAndre Carter then coming for the three WR sets. Palmer presents more of a PPR floor play, as his usage should be short-sharp passes with decent usage. Carter is a deep league big-play upside option when Herbert is fully healthy.
With the uncertainty this week, I would lean toward Palmer as a 16-team Flex option if Allen is out, regardless of who is at QB. However, Carter is someone I’m only considering if Herbert is active. Expecting Daniel to be able to support two big-play receivers in Williams and Carter is unrealistic.
Gerald Everett is somewhat intriguing this week, regardless of Allen’s status. We saw Everett get 10 targets last week with Allen out, and he appeared to have taken all the work from Tre’ McKitty. The return of Donald Parham Jr. could have an impact long term, but right now Parham should be limited. This might be the last week you can use Everett, but he should be in line to see 5+ targets this week, regardless of the starting QB.