Receiver Roundup: Los Angeles Chargers
By Cody Smith
As we continue through the AFC West, the next team in line for the receiver roundup is the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chargers enter their second season in Los Angeles with a similar receiving corps to last season. The only missing piece from the offense will be Tyrell Williams, who will play for the division rival Oakland Raiders. The team adds tight-end Hunter Henry back to the fold after a torn ACL in OTAs prevented him from contributing last season.
Though Los Angeles is deep in position player talent, the team is quite thin as far as fantasy-relevant receiving options go.
The obvious top receiving option in Los Angeles this season will be Keenan Allen. Allen comes off his second consecutive 1,000 yard season and the third of his career. Allen hauled in a team-high 97 receptions for 1,196 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough to place Allen inside the top-10 in PPR leagues as the 10th ranked wide-out.
Injury concerns often come into question with Allen who has missed time in previous seasons with injuries such as a torn ACL and a lacerated kidney.
After playing in all 16 games in each of the last two seasons, it is safe to say the injury red flags associated with Allen are a thing of the past.
Allen did bruise his knee at the Pro Bowl, but according to the folks at Rotowire, he is 100% healthy and has been participating in the team’s off-season programs.
Though Allen’s top-10 stats from last season were a drop off from his impressive 2017 campaign, I believe he remains a consistent fantasy option that should easily post a third consecutive 1,000 yard season.
Allen sees plenty of targets to make that happen. In 2018, Allen ranked 2nd in the league in target share, being targeting on 29.2 percent on Chargers' pass plays.
Allen is currently being drafted at the tail-end of the second round/beginning of the third round at 23rd overall. Allen is certainly worth a pick in this area, as he has shown the last two seasons that he has the potential to finish as a WR1. I wouldn’t be afraid to deploy him as just that in 2019.
The only other fantasy relevant wide-out for the Chargers in 2019 will be Mike Williams.
Williams is entering his third season in the league out of Clemson, and everyone is still waiting for the former early draft pick to break out.
Last season, Williams played in all 16 games for Los Angeles, but started in just five of those contests. Williams high total in the touchdown department helped keep him in the flex spot conversation throughout the season. Williams caught 43 passes for 664 yards and 10 touchdowns in his sophomore season.
WIlliams’ target share was down in 2018, as he was targeted just 66 times in 16 games, meaning he was targeted on just 13 percent of passing plays.
This season Williams may find himself more involved as former Chargers wide-out Tyrell Williams is no longer on the team. This will free up 65 more targets from last season, though a nice chunk of those may go to tight-end Hunter Henry.
Williams is currently being selected late in the fifth round of 12-team PPR leagues at 59th overall. This seems like a reach to me. I’m not sure Williams will be able to replicate the 10 touchdown season he had in 2018, and in just his third season in the league, he already has an injury history.
Williams is currently being drafted as a borderline WR2, but I’d feel more safe taking him as a WR3/flex option. Other wide-outs being selected around Williams include Tyler Lockett, Jarvis Landry, Tyler Boyd and Alshon Jeffery, all of which I would rather own than Williams even though the upside is certainly there.
The third wide receiver on the 2019 Chargers squad seems most likely to be Travis Benjamin.
Benjamin did not have a huge role in the Chargers' offense last season as the team’s WR4, but with a chance to play more often in three receiver sets this season, expect Benjamin’s numbers to take a jump.
Last season Benjamin caught just 12 passes for the Chargers for 186 yards and a touchdown.
Benjamin is not on my radar as far as a draft pick goes, but should Williams suffer an injury, Benjamin will be a must add off the waiver wire.
The Chargers’ fourth wide receiver going into training camp looks to be Artavis Scott. Scott was added by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2018 season, but never saw the field after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason.
According to Ricky Henne on twitter, coach Anthony Lynn has stated that Scott has “picked up where he left off." After being offered a new one-year deal in the off-season, it is plain to see that the Chargers coaching staff likes what they see in Scott.
Scott is not worth a draft pick, but will all but certainly be the replacement to Keenan Allen in the slot should the star receiver go down with an injury. At that point, Scott will be a must add.
Players looking to round out the roster at wide receiver include Dylan Cantrell, Geremy Davis, Justice Liggins, Jason Moore, Andre Patton and Fred Trevillion.
The next receiver roundup will be coming shortly with the Oakland Raiders as the subject.