Posted by Bob Harris
Friday, July 13, 2018 - 10:23pm
A year after spending most of the season on the sideline, watching Philip Rivers throw the most interceptions of his career and watching his team limp to a 5-11 record, Allen is back at the center of the franchise's future. Allen's 2017 journey back to redemption received its topper when he was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year. He rebounded from his six-catch, 63-yard 2016 season that ended with a torn ACL by catching 102 passes for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns last year. He made history during the season as well, becoming the first player ever to record three straight games of at least 10 receptions, 100 receiving yards, and one touchdown. Allen's return provided the Chargers with a big-play, field-stretching element that was missing the previous season.
Allen has missed significant time to injuries; as noted above, he missed 15 games with a torn ACL in 2016 and he missed eight games in 2015 due to a lacerated kidney. So while the missed time has been significant, there hasn't been a chronic issue we should be wary of here.
2018 Bottom Line
All in all, Allen's contributions were more than sufficient to move him back to the top of the fantasy ranks. But could he do even more this year? It's possible. The Chargers ran three-receiver sets on 584 offensive snaps last season, No. 20 in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Chargers used at least two tight ends on 374 offensive snaps last season, No. 8 in the league. This year, with Hunter Henry (ACL) out and last year's first-round selection Mike Williams expected to contribute at the start of the year, expect the number of three-receiver sets to go up in 2018, and the number of two-TE sets to decline.
Given all this, it's worth noting that Allen had the third-most receiving yards and fifth-most catches among wide receivers between the numbers last season. Allen could replace some of the production lost by Henry over the middle of the field. And the busier he is, the happier those landing him will be.