The Los Angeles Chargers’ Jalen Guyton culminated his return from a torn ACL that cost him nearly all of 2022 and the first half of the 2023 campaign when he scored his first touchdown since December 2021 on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
With Los Angeles having suffered significant attrition at the receiver position this season, should fantasy football managers look to add the veteran speedster off the waiver wire ahead of Week 11?
Should Jalen Guyton Be a Fantasy Waiver Wire Add in Week 11?
Guyton’s on-field return — his first game action since Week 3 of last season — actually transpired in the Chargers’ Week 9 Monday night win over the New York Jets. Guyton played 33 snaps in that contest, failing to bring in either of his two targets.
However, he broke the ice in noteworthy fashion in Week 10’s high-scoring affair versus Detroit. Guyton recorded his first four catches of the season for a total of 41 yards, and one of those was an 18-yard touchdown grab just before the midway point of the third quarter.
Guyton drew six targets overall and played a robust 57 snaps from scrimmage, the latter dispelling any concerns about the health of his surgically repaired knee. Guyton trailed rookie receiver Quentin Johnston — who’s currently serving as a No. 2 receiver with Mike Williams (knee) gone for the season and Joshua Palmer (knee) out indefinitely — by only four snaps overall.
The accelerated participation level for Guyton after such an extended layoff is especially encouraging. The fact he already put together a solid fantasy effort in his second game back isn’t entirely surprising, either, considering Guyton’s previous rapport with Justin Herbert and his speed/experience combination.
Prior to his injury-shortened 2022, Guyton essentially grew up in the NFL alongside Herbert. The undrafted North Texas product initially caught on with the Chargers a year before Herbert’s arrival in 2019, but he didn’t record his first professional catch until the 2020 season opener.
While that pass came from Tyrod Taylor, he played the remainder of that season with Herbert, finishing with a 28-511-3 line that included seven receptions of 20+ yards.
Guyton continued to demonstrate his downfield chops in 2021 by averaging 14.5 yards per catch on his 31 receptions, which went for a total of 448 yards and three more scores. He then gained 64 yards on his first two grabs of 2022 before suffering his Week 3 season-ending injury.
Johnston has largely been considered a disappointment thus far, although he’s shown some recent signs of life with five- and four-catch tallies in two of his last three games, a sample that includes his first professional touchdown. Johnston’s impressive size and draft pedigree are likely going to afford him plenty of opportunity to hold on to the No. 2 job, but Guyton seems to already have a firm grip on the No. 3 spot.
Guyton’s presumptive competition for that role is rookie Derius Davis, a gadgety, 5’8”, 165-pound speedster that’s logged just 11 targets all season while also filling both returner roles. Guyton’s experience and impressive size/speed combination should afford him plenty of snaps moving forward, especially considering the Chargers are passing at an elevated 59.2% rate entering Week 11.
With Palmer potentially set to miss the rest of the season and Williams out until 2024, I’d certainly recommend fantasy managers consider Guyton if they’re looking for some big-play upside down the stretch.
While his production could certainly fluctuate given his status on the depth chart, the chunk plays and touchdowns he could provide while frequently facing teams’ second-tier cover men could make him worthwhile.
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