In the third of a five-part series, I’m going to go over the wide receiver who could have been found in your league’s waiver wire that saved desperate fantasy owners this season.
Keenan Allen, WR San Diego Chargers
Allen went undrafted in virtually every league this season but heading into Week 17, the receiver out of California has 66 catches, 957 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in what has been an extremely impressive rookie campaign. Allen is 16th among wide receivers in total fantasy points, ahead of players like Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, Marques Colston, Mike Wallace, Steve Smith, Dwyane Bowe, Hakeem Nicks and Roddy White.
Had we known what Allen was going to do this season, he would have likely cost prospective owners a fourth- or fifth-round pick on draft day; but instead, he was free for owners to pick up well into the season. If you whiffed on wide receivers early in your draft (let’s say you drafted White, Danny Amendola and Greg Jennings), you could’ve made up for a lot of lost ground by picking up Allen.
Allen has finished in the top-30 in fantasy points among wide receivers in eight out of his 12 starts this season. He’s finished in the top-15 in six of those games and got in the top-10 in four. Allen has averaged 10.8 fantasy points per game since being inserted into the starting lineup in Week 4, which is 11th in the NFL ahead of Andre Johnson, Jordy Nelson, Pierre Garcon, Vincent Jackson and Larry Fitzgerald.
Allen should continue to provide value beyond this season as well. He’s an extremely valuable commodity in any sort of keeper format. If you picked Allen up off of free agency this season, chances are your leagues rules are going to allow you to keep him at a very small cost, and he’ll likely be ranked in the top-20 among wide receivers heading into the 2014 season.
Allen wasn’t just one of the most valuable wide receivers found on free agency this season — he was one of the most valuable receivers period. There were over a dozen wide receivers who I would consider draft day busts in 2013, and Allen saved the day for many of the fantasy owners who found themselves feeling like Rex Ryan and the New York Jets midway through the season.
Honorable Mention: Riley Cooper