Fantasy Football: What to expect from Keenan Allen in 2021

Keenan Allen has been a bankable producer, but where is his fantasy ceiling for 2021?

Keenan Allen, Fantasy Football
NFL Analysis Network

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has at least 97 catches in each of the last four seasons, with 100 or more grabs three times. If he had played all 16 games last year, he’d have had a fourth straight finish as a top-15 fantasy receiver in standard scoring. In full PPR, he was WR13 last year despite missing two games. Give him his per game average in those two missed games, and he’d have finished as WR6 in full PPR. He suffered a hamstring injury in Week 15 (24 snaps, one catch for 17 yards), so he really had 13 healthy games.

Narrow to his 12 fully healthy games with Justin Herbert under center, and Allen had 95 receptions for 938 yards and eight touchdowns (11.3 targets per game, double-digit targets 10 times). The per-16 game pace in those 12 games is eye-opening (127 receptions, 1,251 yards, 11 touchdowns).

Never known as a great touchdown scorer previously, Allen had a five-game scoring streak from Week 8-12. He scored in five of six stretching to Week 14. From Week 8-14, spurred by that scoring run, he was WR4 in full PPR.

Allen has never struggled for target share in the Chargers’ offense, but his targets per game is trending up.

2018, Targets Per Game: 8.5
2019, Targets Per Game: 9.3
2020, Targets Per Game: 10.5

The buzz that’s been around Mike Williams and the promise of a full season from running back Austin Ekeler has left Allen a bit off the fantasy radar. And that leaves out the optimism for Herbert, entering his second season behind an improved offensive line.

Keenan Allen 2021 Fantasy Outlook

Allen makes up for a lack of high-end speed by being one of the best route runners in the league and having great hands. He was a short area target for the strong-armed Herbert in 2020, with a below-par average depth of target as a result (7.0 yards). Even a small jump in that number this year would have a domino effect.

In 12-team full PPR, via Fantasy Football Calculator, Allen is coming in at WR9 and pick 3.03. His upside is not quite as great in standard scoring, assuming some touchdown regression. But Allen is a WR1 regardless of format, and drafting him in the mid-to-late second round will be on the radar for some. In PPR there’s top-5 upside, and dare I say overall WR1 potential, here.