NFL Splits Tool, Week 7: What Keenan Allen Does for the Chargers


After seven-plus months of preparation and analysis, the NFL season is in full swing as we head into Week 7 of the regular season. Over the offseason, I did an “NFL Splits” series, looking at historical trends to help predict the outlook of the 2022 season. I will be continuing the series during the season by using the FTN Splits Tool and looking at actionable takeaways from the previous weeks.


The Splits Tool allows me to experiment with different situations, such as active/inactive players, spreads, locations, and more, to get a better understanding of the rest of the season. Users can sign up for an FTN Fantasy subscription and gain access to all the tools needed to dominate their fantasy leagues.

Bolt Up

After back-to-back losing seasons, the Chargers hired former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley as their new head coach in 2021. Although Staley led the Chargers to their first winning season since 2018, they fell a game short of making the playoffs. The bar was set high for Los Angeles entering the 2022 season. They made significant moves in free agency and had a team ready to win now. Justin Herbert put on a show in Week 1, passing for 279 yards and three touchdowns in a home victory against the Raiders. His performance was even more impressive considering he did most of his damage without Keenan Allen, who exited the game early with a hamstring injury. Initially diagnosed as a minor hamstring strain, Allen has missed the Chargers’ last five games. The Chargers have gone 3-2 without Allen and have struggled offensively without him. 

Allen missed 26 games in his first four seasons in the NFL but remained relatively healthy the next four. From 2017 to 2021, he played in 79 of 82 possible games (including playoffs), only missing three games within a five-year stretch. There is no guarantee Allen will suit up this weekend, but signs are pointing toward a potential Week 7 return. Below, I’m going to take a look at how Allen’s presence has impacted LA’s offense since Staley’s arrival last season. 

 Justin Herbert, QB

Justin Herbert Week 7 Fantasy Football Splits Tool

Justin Herbert has been nothing short of spectacular since entering the league in 2020. As a rookie, he set the record for most passing touchdowns (31), total touchdowns (36) and completions (396) by a player in his first year. He built off his rookie campaign by passing for over 5,000 yards (5,014) and scoring 18 total touchdowns in 2021. His 77 touchdowns in his first two seasons were good for a new league high. Herbert has played five games without Keenan Allen this season and one a season ago. With Allen out of the lineup, Herbert is averaging more attempts and completions but not as many passing yards. His rushing production and touchdowns rate has also decreased with Allen sidelined. In his most recent game, Herbert set a new record for most pass attempts without scoring a touchdown (57) in a winning effort.

Austin Ekeler, RB

Austin Ekeler Week 7 Fantasy Football Splits Tool

Austin Ekeler had his best season as a rusher last season, setting a career-high in rush attempts (206), yards (911) and touchdowns (12). He was just as effective as a receiver catching 70 passes on 94 targets for 647 yards and eight touchdowns. Ekeler has picked up right where he left off in 2022 and is currently the RB1 on the season. He has 116 touches for 610 yards and six touchdowns through six games. In the games Keenan Allen has missed, Ekeler has a minimal dropoff in rush attempts and receiving yards but sees a significant spike in rushing yards, targets and receptions. Without Allen occupying the middle of the field, Ekeler has emerged as Justin Herbert‘s safety valve while under pressure. 


Mike Williams, WR

Mike Williams Week 7 Fantasy Football Splits Tool

In 2021, Mike Williams topped 50 receptions (76) and 1,100 yards (1,146) for the first time in his career. It was also the first time he had more yards than Keenan Allen, despite seeing 28 fewer targets and 30 fewer receptions. Williams receiving production takes a significant boost in the games Allen has missed. However, he has not had the same success finding the end zone with Allen sidelined. Williams has been a volatile receiver this season, including Week 1, with Allen out for the majority of the game. He’s finished as a top-10 wide receiver and had 110-plus receiving yards in three out of six games while failing to eclipse thirty receiving yards in the other three. Most recently, Williams was locked down by Broncos’ cornerback Pat Surtain Monday night. He caught just two of six targets for 17 yards and zero touchdowns.

Joshua Palmer, WR

Joshua Palmer Week 7 Fantasy Football Splits Tool

The Chargers’ fourth-round pick out of Tennessee fared well as a rookie. Primarily operating as a part-time player, Joshua Palmer caught 33 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns in 2021. He started the season fourth on the depth chart but slowly carved out a larger role. When Palmer saw at least 60% of offensive snaps, he averaged 7-plus targets, 50-plus receiving yards and a touchdown in three games. Entering the 2022 season, Palmer took command of the WR3 spot, locked in as a starter in three-wide sets. His role became even more solidified after the Chargers’ fourth wide receiver, Jalen Guyton, tore his ACL in a Week 2 loss against the Jaguars. Although he has been much better without Keenan Allen, his uptick in playing time has also allowed him to show out on the field. He had a career-high in targets (12) and receptions (9) in Week 6, with Mike Williams struggling to get open. Unfortunately, Palmer is in concussion protocol and is questionable to play in Week 7. If Palmer plays and Allen is active, he will likely bump down in the pecking order.

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