The clock is ticking. You knew 2 minutes wasn’t going to be enough time in between picks. You knew it in your gut. It should’ve been 3 at least. Hell, 5. Too late now. You’re up, and you’re sweating it out. Cheatsheet & rankings shaking in hand, you feel prepared, yet you couldn’t pull the trigger even if your life depended on it. It’s down to two guys – both seem like the right guy. YOUR guy. But who is it? The Fantasy Authority knows this conundrum all too well & we’re here to help. We’re kicking off a new series: “Toss Up.” The clever minds here at TFA will collectively choose two players at the same position with similar ADP’s to debate on. We’ll make compelling cases on both sides of the aisle and ultimately come to a decision on who we’re hanging our hat on. Let’s toss it up with a couple of WRs going in the early third round: Amari Cooper or Keenan Allen.
Amari Cooper or Keenan Allen
Name a better training camp moment so far this summer than this majestic diving grab that Keenan Allen hauled in during a scrimmage against the LA Rams. The Rams’ secondary now stands without functioning ankles. Shotgunning beers doesn’t count, for the record. This perennially underrated Chargers wideout will continue to put the league on notice once the regular season kicks off next month.
Last year’s 6th highest rated WR, per PFF, Allen belongs in a conversation among the league’s elite. He’s coming off nearly back-to-back 100 catch seasons (missed the 2018 mark by just 3 receptions) and the Chargers boast an arsenal of weapons around him to keep defenders occupied. The opportunity shouldn’t be a factor even with the talent-laden Chargers skill players commanding the attention of the ageless Phil Rivers. Allen boasted the #5 overall hog rate (target % per snap) among wideouts at 18.4% in 2018 and owned the best rate in the league a year prior, 19.9%. He’s also posted a top-six target share in both years. On top of that, Allen finished 6th in the league in yards per route run, ahead of fantasy stalwarts Davante Adams, Odell Beckham & Mike Evans. The situation will only continue to blossom with Tyrell Williams and his 65 targets having departed for the Silver & Black up north.
Allen is widely considered to be the best route runner in the NFL & has Philip Rivers’ complete trust as not only a safety blanket underneath but as a burner who can control the middle of the field. To add the cherry on top, the Melvin Gordon holdout saga continues to persist with no end in sight. No premier RB combined with an atrocious Chargers O-Line (ranked 29th per PFF), will lead to Rivers’ airing it out all season. Look for Rivers to target Allen in droves this season as he feels the heat in the pocket. Keenan will again eclipse the 100-catch mark and top 1,500 yards in a career year for the storming Bolts offense.
From the moment Cooper donned the famed blue star on his helmet and trotted out onto the turf at Jerry World, we witnessed a fantasy superstar in the making. Only three WRs finished ahead of Cooper in fantasy production since he joined the Dallas Cowboys: Antonio Brown, Davante Adams, & Julio Jones. Sounds elite to me. Cooper’s talents were wasting away in Oakland under Derek Carr’s tutelage. Not to say Dak Prescott is an elite arm talent by any means – he just knows how to get his freakish playmaker the ball in space. Cooper never finished a game in Big D with under 5 targets going his way. In 7 out of his 9 starts, he saw more than 7. In those same 9 starts, Cooper finished with a 2.16 yards per route run, per PFF. That mark was good for 11th in the league. Over a 16 game season, Cooper would’ve come close to eclipsing the 150-target mark. Bottom line: the dude will get fed.
He’s no pushover once the ball is in his hands, either. Per PlayerProfiler, Cooper boasts a speed score in the 92nd percentile & an agility score in the 97th. He takes advantage of these freakish attributes after the catch, posting the 13th best yards after the catch in 2018, even with his dreaded Raiders days included. Look for Cooper to assert himself as the next in line to the great lineage of Cowboys receivers over the years. He will finish as a top 5 option when all is said and done in 2019.
Advantage: Keenan Allen. This comes down to the QB. I’d rather have Philip Rivers throwing my WR1 the ball over Dak Prescott. Not to say Amari doesn’t have a shot to finish inside the top-5 at his position, but Allen possesses the much higher floor with a better overall passing attack. Uniquely, both teams have star RBs holding out at the moment, but Zeke Elliot means much more to the Cowboys offense than Gordon does to the Bolts.
Who do you think deserves the nod? Let us know by tweeting @FF_Authority or hit me up @themurph34!