If Melvin Gordon holds out, draft Keenan Allen

by Josh Crocker ·

Melvin Gordon is considering a 2019 holdout. Fantasy gamers are clamoring to scoop up Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson as a result, and for good reason. Either or both of them could be relevant contributors in Gordon’s absence, but in 2020, their value remains uncertain. There’s another beneficiary in Los Angeles whose value is safer. Keenan Allen makes a great target in dynasty leagues based on his advanced stats, metrics, and analytics profile.

Keenan Allen Production Profile

Keenan Allen has been a prolific NFL producer from early on in his career. As a result, his college profile has become a closed case. His success has not kept detractors from painting him as “not a true number one.” He doesn’t play like a prototypical NFL boundary receiver, running 89.7-percent of his routes from the slot last year. But few prospects have been more dominant. He first flashed his talent at just 18.4 years old, earning a 98th-percentile Breakout Age at the University of California. He announced himself to the NCAA, accounting for 49.5-percent of his team’s receiving yards and touchdowns. That feat earned him a 94th-percentile College Dominator Rating. He is not just a slot compiler in a good situation. He monopolized the offense while sharing the college field with future successful NFL wide receiver Marvin Jones.

Check out Keenan Allen on PlayerProfiler’s “World Famous” Draft Kit:

Keenan Allen has been efficient under an avalanche of volume since entering the NFL, culminating in a 29.2 percent (No. 2 among qualified wide receivers) Target Share and 0.61 (No. 7) Fantasy Points Per Pass Route last season. While not a downfield threat, Allen did log 802 (No. 12) Completed Air Yards in 2018. Fantasy gamers love Allen for his consistent floor. He only fell below 10 PPR fantasy points in one contest on the season, in Week 3 when he sprained his knee. He combined this floor with a high ceiling, spiking to five WR1 weeks in the second half of the season.

Melvin Gordon Splits

Keenan Allen’s late season spree coincided with Melvin Gordon‘s absence. Gordon’s intentions to play with his current contract are in question, and Allen is overlooked as a beneficiary. In three games without Gordon, Allen’s Target Share jumped from 28-percent to 34-percent. His PPR points per game jumped over five points, reaching 21.93. His weekly finishes in that stretch included a 34.8-point week as the number one receiver in Week 13. If he gets a chance to play a full season without Gordon, he could be an absolute monster.

2018 Keenan Allen Splits with Melvin Gordon

Drafters are selecting Allen in the mid to late third round as a back end WR1. He’s capable of returning that value even if Gordon plays. And unlike the team’s other running backs, it’s not as though Allen’s value depends on Gordon’s absence. Moreover, there’s always a possibility of injury for an NFL running back, and the holdout decision could make Gordon’s future with the franchise tenuous. If the Chargers don’t extend Gordon and instead find a short-term solution, he could be moving to another NFL home soon.

Hunter Henry’s Return

The Chargers look forward to the return of Hunter Henry in 2019. Henry has been a very effective tight end when he’s been on the field, best-evidenced by his 406 Completed Air Yards, No. 4 among all NFL tight ends in his sophomore season. However, Henry’s presence didn’t have a significant impact on Keenan Allen‘s production when they have shared a field, suggesting that when he does return, his targets likely come at Mike Williams’ expense. Conversely, Allen has already shown us he can maintain a grip on his piece of the offense while sharing the field with either of these players.


During Melvin Gordon’s last absence, Keenan Allen demonstrated that he has the most upside in this Chargers offense. He’s a strong buy at WR10-WR12, and has top-five upside.

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