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2020 Fantasy Football Bold Prediction Series: Keenan Allen to finish as a top-five WR

PFN 2020 Fantasy Football Bold Prediction Series: Keenan Allen to finish as a top-five WR
Photo Credit: USA Today

The great members of the PFN Dynasty staff were posed the following question: “what is your bold prediction for the upcoming season?” Five brave souls stepped up, and I will analyze these five 2020 fantasy football bold predictions individually in a series — each successive article will escalate in boldness. I kicked off the series by examining the bold prediction that Dak Prescott will finish 2020 as fantasy football’s QB1In the second installment, I tackled the bold prediction that Miles Sanders could be a top 3 running back in fantasy.

Related | 2020 Fantasy Football Bold Prediction Series: Miles Sanders could be a top 3 RB

In my third chapter of the 2020 Fantasy Football bold predictions, I direct my focus to the wide receiver position with the prediction that Keenan Allen to finish as a top-five receiver in 2020. 

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Keenan Allen to finish as a top-five receiver in 2020

Prediction made by Ben Rolfe (@benrolfe15)

Why it’s a bold prediction

Currently, Keenan Allen is being seen in varying lights because of the uncertainty of his situation. As it stands, Allen is ranked somewhere between the 15th and 20th wide receiver by many. However, what Allen has going for him is an opportunity and plenty of it. When it comes to pass catchers, the only proven ones on the Los Angeles Chargers roster are Allen, Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry.

Why it will happen

Of those four, Henry has had his struggles with injuries, missing 23 games since he came into the league, while Williams has a career NFL catch percentage of just 54.5. No matter who is under center out of Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert, they will be looking to find someone to rely on, and Allen is the perfect target with a catch percentage over 68 in his career.

Related | The top 25 wide receivers in the NFL

While the numbers do not suggest Allen is good at creating separation, when you watch the tape, he is adept at creating pockets and providing simple throws for his quarterback. That skill is exactly what Taylor and Herbert will need if they are to lead the Chargers to anywhere close to a winning record in 2020.

Prediction Analysis

Sorry Ben, but I’m having a tough time with this one. PFN’s Superflex Dynasty Rankings has Allen ranked as the WR19 heading into the 2020 season, and that might even be a tad higher than what I would be willing to pay for him this draft season.

Allen finished as fantasy football’s WR8 last year after recording 104 receptions on 149 targets for 1,199 yards and six touchdowns. That was with Philip Rivers under center forcing throws with the league’s sixth-highest passing play percentage.

With Rivers now in Indianapolis, Tyrod Taylor will start the season as the Chargers’ starting quarterback. Taylor has passed more than 3,000 yards just twice in his career. Taylor is just holding the seat hot until the rookie Justin Herbert takes over the reins. With no real rookie minicamp or offseason to this point, Herbert won’t start right away, but he is the quarterback in waiting.

Related | Fantasy Takeaways After Projecting All 32 NFL Teams: AFC Edition

Conclusion

Allen, who has posted three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, has the lowest floor of any of the top wide receivers.

The uncertainty of the Chargers offense scares me away from anyone on this offense except for Austin Ekeler. The Chargers defense finished middle-of-the-pack last season, and that was with the team missing key personnel. I don’t see Taylor and the Chargers offense getting into too many shootouts.

His route-running is exceptional, but what has made Allen stand out in fantasy has been his elite target share. In 2019, Allen, who hasn’t missed a game in three seasons, owned the fifth-highest team target share among wide receivers on a Los Angeles Chargers offense that threw nearly 600 times last season. 

The Chargers’ offensive philosophy in 2020 without Philip Rivers behind center is to run a conservative offense and rely on their defense and running game to keep them in games. That is not a recipe for fantasy success. Keenan Allen is an excellent WR2 for fantasy rosters in 2020, but please don’t tell Allen that. Allen might fire off some tweets at me about this evaluation as he did over his NFL Network ranking.

Dennis Sosic is a writer for the Pro Football Network covering fantasy football. You can follow him @Call_Me_SOS on Twitter and the PFN fantasy team @PFNDynasty.


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