One may think the season-ending injury to Keenan Allen will be crippling to the San Diego offense. Given their performance last season without Allen, quarterback Philip Rivers averaged 344 yards and 2.25 TDs/game with Allen compared to just 255 yards and 1.375 TDs/game without him, it’s tough to argue otherwise. However, there’s one big difference in this version of the Charges offense; about 6’4″, 205 pounds of one.
Yes, Tyrell Williams was on the Chargers in 2015. He was also a rookie out of a small college (Western Oregon) who hadn’t gotten any meaningful reps since preseason ended, so expecting him to do much last year would have been more than a little crazy. After a full offseason in the Chargers’ program, different story. Williams put together a strong enough training camp/preseason for the Chargers to justify cutting veteran James Jones despite already losing Stevie Johnson for the year due to injury. He was already on many dynasty radars as he was valuable enough entering 2015 that San Diego kept him on the opening-day 53-man roster to ensure he didn’t get snatched up by another team. For an undrafted free agent out of a small college that is very noteworthy.
Now, does that necessarily mean he is ready to be a starter on your team? Absolutely not. This is an add now and ask questions later game though. Neither Williams nor Dontrelle Inman, who actually had more snaps, are going to completely replace Allen. However, there are a lot of targets to go around on a heavy passing offense and the existing players (Danny Woodhead, Travis Benjamin, and Antonio Gates) aren’t really equipped to handle many more targets. Reading the tea leaves, the Chargers wanted to increase Williams’ workload as the season went on; this would help explain the heavier usage of Inman in Week 1. I believe that clock is going to be sped up and there are some nice matchups on the horizon. It’ll take a fairly dire situation for me to consider starting the kid in Week 2, but if his targets trend up and he does enough with them, he has the Colts and Saints the following weeks. A primary receiving target against those defenses is something you want.
Don’t go crazy with your FAAB (free agent auction budget), but be assertive in your bidding; he is the priority Week 1 add.