The Los Angeles Chargers‘ wide receiving corps was severely hurt due to the losses of Stevie Johnson and Keenan Allen last season, but even without them, receivers such as Tyrell Williams still managed decent fantasy production. With the return of Allen and the departure of Johnson, how will the Chargers’ receiving corps fare in the fantasy realm come next season? Here are some thoughts.
Aug 28, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) rests on the sidelines in the game with the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Allen was a severe fantasy disappointment last season, as he was unable to even play one full half of football due to his torn ACL in the Chargers’ Week 1 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
While Allen has proven to be deadly when healthy, his proclivity to injury has definitely affected his fantasy value significantly. Allen has not been able to play a full season in two years, and that is very worrying for fantasy owners.
With that in mind, fantasy owners have an interesting predicament when it comes to drafting Allen this year. While he may no longer be a second or third-round pick like he previously was, Allen could be a steal later in a fantasy draft.
Allen has potential to be a top receiver in the league when healthy, which means that if you can snag him in your fantasy draft you are gaining a lot of value.
Dec 24, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) catches a pass as Cleveland Browns strong safety Briean Boddy-Calhoun (20) defends during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Allen’s absence allowed a breakout season for Williams, who hadreceived for over 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns.
While Williams has undoubtedly proven that he is a valuable asset to a fantasy team, as he became a very strong asset towards the end of the season, he invariably loses some value with the return of Allen.
While Allen’s return likely means less targets for Williams, he also becomes a sleeper wide receiver that could be a steal in later rounds in a draft. If you find yourself halfway through your draft needing a receiver, then Williams could provide you a lot of value.
Dec 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin (12) runs after a catch during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Acquired by the Chargers during the last offseason, Travis Benjamin so far has not exactly lived up to expectations.
Many believed that Benjamin was destined to be a fantasy star after his Week 2 performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars where he had 115 yards and two touchdowns, but he only managed to accrue 500 more yards and two more touchdowns over the rest of the season.
Benjamin also struggled as a returner, which was ironic considering his return abilities in Cleveland were one of the reasons he was brought to the Chargers. Ball security was also an issue for Benjamin, as he fumbled five times on the season.
In his current role, Benjamin is truly a boom-or-bust fantasy option, but with the return of Allen and the performance of Williams, Benjamin only becomes worth a late-round pick.
Nov 27, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Dontrelle Inman (15) makes a reception and scores a touchdown during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
At the beginning of the Chargers’ last campaign, Dontrelle Inman was truly an afterthought considering the amount of receivers the Chargers had, but after some key injuries, Inman actually stepped up and had a very strong season.
While Inman saw very little use throughout the first six weeks of the regular season (excluding Week 4 where he had 120 yards and a touchdown), he managed to accrue over 600 yards and three touchdowns over his last 10 games.
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While these numbers may not seem phenomenal, one has to keep in mind that Inman was essentially a third receiver last season, so his chances were extremely limited to say the least.
With the added competition of Allen, it is likely that Inman will see even fewer chances next season, but the savvy fantasy owner could take him late in a draft as a very diligent flier pick or handcuff to Allen or Williams.
Let us know in the comments section which Chargers receivers you would want on your fantasy team next year and why.