Keenan Allen injury update: Will fantasy managers have him for Week 3?

What is the latest regarding Keenan Allen's hamstring injury, and should fantasy managers trust him in their lineups heading into Week 3?

It seems a long time ago that Keenan Allen’s injury was the hot topic for fantasy football managers. With Week 3 now on the horizon, his hamstring injury is back into sharp focus as fantasy managers begin contemplating their impending lineup decision. Let’s take a look at the latest updates regarding Allen’s injury and whether fantasy managers can expect to have him available this week.

Will Keenan Allen return from injury for fantasy managers in Week 3?

Allen left the Los Angeles Chargers Week 1 game with a hamstring injury. On a short week to their Thursday Night Football game in Week 2, we didn’t get a real glimpse of his recovery. With the Chargers heading back into practice on Monday and Tuesday, Allen didn’t have the normal time to recover. Ultimately, he was a non-participant in all three practices on the short week and was ruled out in the final injury report last Wednesday.

We’ve now had to wait a full week to get another official update on Allen. That update came on Wednesday ahead of Week 3, and it generally appeared positive. Ahead of practice, head coach Brandon Staley referred to Allen as being day-to-day. He was then seen in practice doing individual drills and described as “moving well” by The Athletics’ Daniel Popper. In his tweet, Popper also revealed that Allen told him he has “got a shot” of playing Sunday.

It seems we’re trending in the right direction with Allen, but there is still uncertainty. Unless we see Allen become a full participant during the week, there will likely be question marks heading into the weekend. At the very least, Allen is expected to be questionable heading into the weekend, leaving fantasy managers waiting for Sunday.

To compound the issue, the Chargers don’t play until the 4 p.m. ET window on Sunday. Therefore, when fantasy managers are making the bulk of their lineup decisions on Sunday morning, we may not have complete clarity on Allen’s situation.

What should fantasy managers do with Allen in Week 3?

The instinct will be that if Allen is expected to play that you start him. The matchup is nice, and in his early week PPR fantasy rankings, Senior Fantasy Analyst Tommy Garrett has Allen as his WR7. The problem if Allen enters the weekend limited is that we’ve seen him used previously as a decoy for this offense. He was on the field, but they never looked his way and just let him take the focus of the defense.

That is always a risk whenever a star WR plays when limited. That is tough to judge, and it can often lead to fantasy managers leaving out a player who has a big day. It’s a huge risk to take, and in some ways, it’s easier if he’s just not available, and you can roll with a matchup-based starter in his place.

If Allen is not available, then we saw the outline of the plan in Weeks 1 and 2. Mike Williams should lead the receiving group in targets while Joshua Palmer plays in two wide receiver sets, and DeAndre Carter is the third WR. With Allen out, Williams would become a must-start WR option, Palmer a PPR option in 14-team leagues, and Carter would be a boom-or-bust type play in deeper leagues.

The other people that would potentially see a boost from Allen being unavailable are Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett. Ekeler should have a solid role regardless, but Everett’s role could be heavily dependent on Allen. He saw 10 targets in Week 2 with Allen out, compared to four in Week 1.

Ben is the Managing Editor at Pro Football Network. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Ben’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @BenRolfePFN.

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