Super Charger (USAT)
Fantasy Football is a game about opinions and disagreements. Sometimes the debates are casual, sometimes they get nasty. And sometimes we turn to our Yahoo readers when our pundits can't seem to get on the same page. Pick out a winning WR2 from this collection of two. We're forever in your debt.
Brad Evans and Scott Pianowski are here, ready to play the feud.
Noise To Open: Keenan Allen’s rookie season was nothing short of remarkable. Because of concerns centered on his surgically repaired knee (PCL tear) and sloth-footed 4.71 40-yard Pro Day time , he slipped to the third round in the 2013 NFL Draft. As a result, he was brought along slowly throughout the summer. By Week 5, however, he exploded, transforming into Philip Rivers’ weapon of choice and certifiable WR1 in 12-team leagues. From that point on he cracked the top-10 among WRs in PPR and standard settings compiling 63 receptions, 936 yards and eight touchdowns, many of those catches of the dazzling variety.
Overall, Allen operated as a near elite performer, stunning when weighing his inexperience and early physical obstacles. According to Pro Football focus, he ranked top-13 at his position in drop rate (12), yards per route run (13) and WR rating (4). In the latter category, only DeSean Jackson, Demaryius Thomas and Anquan Boldin were more efficient.
To avoid a sophomore slump, Allen has worked diligently this offseason improving his speed and separation downfield. Last year, on caught only two passes beyond 20 yards. He’s far from an athletic freak like Julio Jones, but his reliable hands and smooth routes are high-end qualities and the reason why he can be trusted as a WR1.
The Chargers have designs of going more run heavy this season, but even if Rivers “only” chucks the rock 500 times this fall, expect at least a quarter of those shot-puts to head in Allen’s general direction. Eddie Royal, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates and buzzy LaDarius Green are clearly backup singers.
I have nothing against Randall Cobb. He should also land comfortably inside the top-10, particularly in PPR, working out of the slot in Green Bay. But remember Allen is the unrivaled No. 1 – Cobb has competition from Jordy Nelson. The Bolt is sure to light up fantasy scoreboards.
Pianow says his piece: I have no disrespect for Allen; I have these guys ranked similarly. You land either player, you've done well. But the assignment says we have to pick our preference, and at the end of the day Cobb gets my check mark.
When in doubt with similar wideouts, I use the supporting cast as the tie-breaker. Who's working with the best quarterback? Cobb, definitely (hiya, Aaron Rodgers). Which passing game has the most year-to-year continuity? We have to give that to Green Bay over San Diego (remember the 2012 train wreck?). The Chargers also have to make do without former OC Ken Whisenhunt, part of the braintrust that resurrected the Bolts last year.
Cobb was hurt much of last season, sure. But don't forget it was Allen's checkered injury history at Cal that pushed him to the third round of 2013's draft. Will defenses have a better plan for Allen after a year to work on it? It's certainly possible.
Cobb's ready to rock the slot, and he's also a dynamo on the occasional return and running play. He's been around the block more than once. Take the leap at Lambeau.
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- Randall Cobb