Keenan Allen fell to the third round of April’s draft for two reasons. First of all, he sustained a torn left PCL that cut his junior season at Cal short. Second of all, he ran in the 4.7s at his Pro Day.
Exactly 31 other teams are kicking themselves right now as Allen tears through the league. The rookie out of Cal was at it again on Thursday night, scoring two touchdowns as the Chargers upset the Broncos 27-20 in Denver.
Both of the scores were of the spectacular variety and came on crucial third downs. The first was a quick crossing pattern against zone coverage that saw Allen literally hurdle Kayvon Webster and then bull through Mike Adams into the end zone. The second saw Allen simply win a jump ball like he’s been doing all season.
Even before this game, Allen was Pro Football Focus’ No. 10 wideout in the league. That’s not based on stats, that’s based on how he performs on each play. Philip Rivers has certainly noticed and appreciated, saying Allen “knows how to score. He’s unbelievable.”
Allen now has 63 catches, 931 yards and seven touchdowns despite not really playing until Week 4. He’s a strong candidate for Waiver Wire Player of the Year and a fine WR1 in next year’s fantasy drafts. Allen’s season is not a fluke and the entire nation saw why on Thursday night.
CHARGERS at BRONCOS RANDOM THOUGHTS
I was flat-out wrong when I made Jacob Tamme my No. 2 waiver add at tight end. With time to prepare, the Broncos chose to ride with a three-wide set featuring Andre Caldwell. … Fantasy owners don’t want to hear it anymore, but Ryan Mathews is having a spectacular year. He went off for 29/128/1 on Thursday and continues to run exceptionally hard. … The Chargers once again used Ladarius Green as a blocker. He had zero targets. … A bad game for Peyton Manning still yielded 17.5 fantasy points. Seems absurd. … Knowshon Moreno had 14 touches for 60 yards, Montee Ball had seven touches for 43 yards. Things will be better for both with games against Houston and Oakland on deck. … I wouldn’t go nuts on a waiver add for Andre Caldwell. The Broncos need to win their final two games now and Wes Welker (concussion) has plenty of time to get cleared. … A lot of owners that were riding Broncos are going to get eliminated from the playoffs. But if you can advance with a big day on Sunday, stay the course. This is a desperation league, and the Chargers clearly wanted it more on Thursday night. The Broncos will be hungry come Week 16 against Houston and will likely hang a very crooked number.
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NEWS OF THE DAY #1
This Reggie Bush situation has owners in a real pickle for the second straight week.
First of all, let’s go back to last week. Contrary to the original story, Bush did not slip while warming up on the snowy field in Philly. He was simply jogging and aggravated it. Bush admitted that there was no way he could have played in the game – even if the field wasn’t a wet mess. That suggests the pull is pretty severe.
On Thursday, Bush did not practice. He said that was a precaution and vowed to play this week. Now I fully believe that he intends to play – and the fact the game is inside on Ford Field’s fast track certainly helps – but putting him in lineups comes with a ton of risk because the game is on Monday night. If Bush is going to aggravate the injury jogging, how can we count on him to play the whole game? Or what if he aggravates it while walking his doggy Monday morning?
Ideally, owners will also have Joique Bell and just relax. But if not, other options need to be explored.
NEWS OF THE DAY #2
Some coaches claim their players don’t lose their job to injury but when the chips are down, they forget about that. Marc Trestman meant it. Even though Josh McCown is among the hottest quarterbacks on the planet right now, the Bears will start Jay Cutler at Cleveland on Sunday.
I’d be comfortable simply putting Cutler into lineups as a top-10 quarterback option because of Trestman’s scheme and Brandon Marshall/Alshon Jeffery. I’d give Marshall a slight boost because he’s got the bromance thing going on with Cutler. And I’d be fine with dropping McCown if you need the roster spot. Trestman is unlikely to waffle here, even if Cutler plays poorly.
NEWS OF THE DAY #3
There are a lot of owners out there completely panicked on T.Y. Hilton. He hasn’t topped 44 yards since Week 10 and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 9. But I think benching him this week would be a mistake.
Speaking this week, coach Chuck Pagano was clear that getting Hilton going was a priority for the offense. He has the right spot to do it (home vs. Houston, a team he put a 7/121/3 line on in their last meeting). And finally, the emergence of Da’Rick Rogers/LaVon Brazill (probable, foot) will do wonders for the offense as a whole. I can’t think of any WR2/3s with more upside than Hilton Sunday.
INJURY QUICK SLANTS: QUARTERBACK AND RUNNING BACK
Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) will have a scan on Friday morning. I’d be shocked if he were cleared, but it’s possible. … Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) are both very, very shaky for Sunday. … The Packers are optimistic on Eddie Lacy’s (ankle) status. If he’s active, I’m starting him. … Darren McFadden (ankle) appears to have packed it in. Rashad Jennings is a candidate for 16-20 touches Sunday. … Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) appears to be on the bad side of a game-time call. I’m liking Jordan Todman more and more. … Willis McGahee (concussion) could be done for the year. Chris Ogbonnaya is risky because he’s not a true tailback, but I’d be surprised if he got less than 10 touches against the Bears. … Lamar Miller (concussion) is ready to go as part of a timeshare with Daniel Thomas.
INJURY QUICK SLANTS: WIDE RECEIVER AND TIGHT END
Jordan Reed can’t shake his concussion symptoms and might be done for the season. Owners can move on. … Denarius Moore (shoulder) is on track to return, sending Andre Holmes off sleeper lists. … Target monster Garrett Graham (hamstring) is suddenly questionable. Keep an eye on him. … Cecil Shorts (groin) missed another practice Thursday. He’s now headed for a game-time call in a 1pm ET dream matchup with the Bills. … If Michael Floyd (ankle) plays Sunday, he’ll likely be at less than 100 percent and on the road against two very good corners. Shaky. ... Delanie Walker (concussion) is good to go and gets the dream matchup against a Cardinals defense that can’t defend tight ends. … Percy Harvin (hip) isn’t going to play in Week 15 and can be dropped.
DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
No stat correction on the Antonio Brown lateral play from last week. He officially finishes with five catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. … Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen are expected to see bumps in usage with Rob Gronkowski down. … Note that the Robert Griffin III shutdown is for the rest of the season, not just Week 15. Drop him in re-draft.