Every year after the first quarter of the regular season, you will notice a very bare availability of running backs. It gets picked clean in the most competitive leagues.
So what does a fantasy owner have to do in order improve its lineup and depth? As stated here and other places many times, the NFL is now a passing league. The yards and touchdowns are coming from the air a lot more often these days. Teams that are taking their lumps with rookie quarterbacks present great value at the running back spot. For example Fred Jackson and Bilal Powell could have been had in the 10th round or later in a lot of leagues. But those teams are few and far between. More opportunity is found in the passing game. This season a few of the pass dominant offenses are going through some transitions and rookie receivers making impacts are becoming more common. The passing / spead offenses are kicking out more NFL ready receivers than ever.
The Patriots may have found that explosive pass catcher in undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins. Shift now to the other coast. The San Diego Chargers just lost Malcom Floyd officially for the season. Philip Rivers has found Floyd mostly on vertical routes and was effective in that role. But without Floyd last weekend, Rivers was still able to pass for 400 yards and 3 passing scores. If you go down a few layers, you’ll notice that 20% of his passing yards went to rookie third round receiver, Keenan Allen. Sure Vincent Brown is around, but has been the last several seasons and has yet to seize the look of a dominant pass catcher.
Before the draft, Vikings hall of fame receiver, Cris Carter said this about Allen, “I don’t see any receiver in the first round that’s better than him.”
Questions about his knee caused Allen’s stock to drop, but with Philip Rivers surging back into the top ten of fantasy quarterbacks, he’ll need a wide receiver that can help keep him there. Besides the opportunity, Allen, as Cris Carter alluded to, has the upside to make significant contributions in his rookie campaign. NFL.com’s draft profile on Allen is that he is similar to Jordy Nelson: big, good hands, and fast enough to make impact plays. NFL.com also gave him a grade of 86.3, compared to the 91.4 they gave to the top receiver drafted in 2013, Tavon Austin. So the talent is there, the opportunity is there on the perimeter, and the starting quarterback delivering the passes is also there. If you have the spot or would like to unearth some points on the waiver, Keenan Allen is a good prospect.