1. Keenan Allen leads the NFL in total receptions
Keenan Allen posted a career-high in receptions last season with 104 and was third in the entire league in total receptions, trailing Christian McCaffrey (116) and Michael Thomas (149). It might not seem like Allen has any chance to lead the league in receptions, especially with Thomas around, but the stars are aligned for Allen to do so.
Allen’s best trait is his ability to create separation with his elite route running and elusiveness. Allen is not the quickest player on the football field and is not the most physically impressive, but is one of the best route runners in the entire league with sure hands.
When Keenan Allen gets open, he get open. The change in quarterback is not going to change that fact for Allen.
In fact, in an offense where I think we see more drag and slant routes with Tyrod Taylor rolling out of the pocket in the same direction of the receivers, Allen is really going to thrive. He is going to get open even more often with a new route tree to fit Taylor’s strengths, and his receptions are going to increase.
I also think with a worse quarterback under center, Allen is simply going to be targeted more and schemed more as that number one guy. He is going to be Taylor’s security blanket.
The two guys ahead of him on the list are primed to get fewer receptions as well. The Saints added Emmanuel Sanders, and while they lost Ted Ginn, the team actually has a notable second receiver that can take some targets from Thomas.
The Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater as well. So while McCaffrey will be involved, the Panthers now have a quarterback that can actually spread the ball around the field that does not need to rely on the CMC check-down pass.