2013 Team Outlook: San Diego Chargers
WR Keenan Allen, SD - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update (8-7): Like everyone else in San Diego's wide receiver corps, Allen moves up the depth chart following Danario Alexander's season-ending knee injury. Unlike most of the other members of San Diego's wide receiver corps, this one should interest fantasy owners. After looking like a potential first round pick following a monster junior season at Cal, Allen slid into round three because of knee concerns. Though participating in camp, the 6-foot-3 target hasn't turned many heads yet according to reports, but unlike say Robert Meachem, there is hope for more. Probably not draftable in 12-team leagues, but certainly one to watch.
Keenan Allen slides into the number four reciever slot in San Diego according to most reports. This makes him a sleeper pick for most fantasy owners. It will be interesting to see how Allen is drafted in the mocks before we get to the real deal.
Update 8/23/13 - Allen will be on fantasy owners' radar in larger leagues for sure. He is not likely draftable in 10-team formats, but might be worth a very late round pick in 12-team formats. It appears Vincent Brown and Allen are going to be the primary passing targets at this stage. Malcolm Floyd plays the long ball game and this new offense is focusing on the short passing game and other schemes to keep games on their pace.
WR Eddie Royal, CHI - Solid/Safe Pick
Eddie Royal was off the fantasy radar until Week 1 when he scored two TDS on a few targets. Then he continued to impress in Week 2 with 7 grabs for 80 yards and 3 TDs. He finally fell back to earth in Week 3 with a mere 2 receptions for 34 yards, but Royal is likely to become a solid/safe pick inside the top 36 receivers as the season progresses and given his chemistry with Philip Rivers.
WR Danario Alexander, --- - Not Draft Worthy
Update (8/6): More bummer wide receiver news, this time out of San Diego as Alexander suffered a season-ending knee injury. Entering training camp, Alexander projected as the Chargers' No. 1 receiver. Now he projects to spending lots of time in the Chargers' rehab facility. Though he could return as a productive option next season, do not view Alexander as a keeper.
Alexander was productive when he played the second half of last season. He was Rivers' favorite target and his fantasy numbers were worthy to note. I am going to say that Alexander is a solid pick-up at wideout this season. He has the potential to put up 6-7 receptions per game for 80-100 yards and grab TDs here and there. If he can put together a full season and consistent play, he could be a strategic pick-up in your draft.
WR Vincent Brown, --- - Sleeper (undervalued)
Update (8/7): Already an intriguing fantasy option, Brown is now thrust into the spotlight following Danario Alexander's season-ending knee injury. Of course, the former third round pick's own issues with bumps and bruises has kept him off the field previously (including all of last season). On the very day of Alexander's injury, the 5-foot-11 target returned to practice after missing multiple sessions with a hamstring injury. Considering all the other uncertain options, Brown's route-running prowess makes him the best hope and potential WR3 - if he can stay healthy.
Brown is a super sleeper. We have not seen him on the field in a while given his severely broken ankle that kept him sidelined all of 2012. San Diego's training staff is keeping Brown's return to action slow paced, but it appears he will be ready for action as camp comes. Reports state that Brown will compete for wideout two-three positions with Meachem, Floyd and Keenan Allen. I like Brown's speed and think he has a shot at the number three wideout position. He could be productive fantasy-wise if provided the right opportunities.
Update 8/23/13 - Brown remains a sleeper, but he and Keenan Allen are going to see much of the action in the SD passing game. The value here depends on whether or not the SD offensive line can protect Philip Rivers and allow him time to effective pass the ball.
WR Malcom Floyd, SD - Bye Week Fill-in
Update (8-7): Rather than battle Vincent Brown for a starting job, Floyd now likely inherits one after Danario Alexander's season-ending injury. The imposing 6-foot-5 target has caught at least five touchdowns in three straight seasons, but the 31-year-old has never even had one 900-yard season. Owners could do worse if we're talking about a pure depth pick, but don't get excited just because he's now in the starting lineup.
Floyd is a sleeper in my book. He has up and down games and has some younger competition this year. Floyd has a solid relationship with Rivers so that means something, but he might find himself competing with Brown, Allen and Meachem for significant playing time. Floyd is a guy you can likely count on for 3-4 receptions per game, but his yardage can be moderate and his TDs are sporadic. You might be able to get Floyd in your draft for a steal if things go right.
TE Antonio Gates, SD - Gamble (high risk)
Gates was mostly a bust last season and it is hard to call him over the hill, so I will call him a gamble. His fantasy value took a big hit last season and those of us who kept starting him and waiting were just disappointed time and time again. I think there are some talented young TEs out there with QBs who have firepower. Take a look around before grabbing Gates too early this draft day.