We are now entering the fifth week of the 2022 NFL season. Daily practice reports are becoming longer and longer as injury updates pour in. Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen did not play last week due to a lingering hamstring injury. What is the latest on Allen’s status, and should fantasy football managers be prepared to be without him for another week?
Keenan Allen Injury Update
After consecutive seasons shortened by serious injuries early in his career, Allen has been remarkably healthy for the better part of the past five seasons. Unfortunately, that came to end in Week 1, as Allen strained his hamstring and hasn’t played since.
Allen has now missed as many games in 2022 as he missed from 2017 to 2021 combined (three).
What is the Latest on Keenan Allen’s Hamstring Injury?
To open Week 5, Allen remained absent from practice on Wednesday. While Wednesday practices have become largely meaningless over the years, seeing injured players return in any capacity bodes extremely well for their chances of playing. Allen’s absence places his Week 5 status in question.
According to NFL Network’s Bridget Condon, head coach Brandon Staley had “no new news” on Allen and very matter-of-factly stated, “I don’t think you’ll see him at practice today.”
We often complain about coaches providing unjustified optimism surrounding their players. The reality is that frank statements like the one Staley made often come across as very pessimistic.
Allen not practicing Wednesday is not a death blow to his game status, but it’s also not encouraging. If Allen does not get in at least a limited practice on Thursday, he will officially be trending in the wrong direction. As far as I’m concerned, he’s already trending in the wrong direction.
Three straight DNPs would almost certainly result in the Chargers ruling him out for Sunday. Even if they end up listing him as questionable, he would be extremely unlikely to play. Only a handful of times in recent history has a player played after not practicing all week.
Mike Williams Remains Volatile Even Without Keenan Allen
With or without Allen, Mike Williams is the same Mike Williams. Fantasy managers would love for him to become this alpha target hog when elevated to the WR1 role. Sadly, no such thing occurs — at least not consistently.
Williams commanded 10 targets in Week 2, saw just six in Week 3 (catching only one pass), and then was back up to 11 in Week 4.
You’re starting Williams regardless, but he shouldn’t be valued any more or less with Allen out of the lineup.
Josh Palmer Gains the Most From Allen’s Absence
Allen’s absence elevates Josh Palmer to the WR2 role. In Weeks 2 and 3, Palmer saw 17 total targets. He caught four balls for 30 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 and six for 99 in Week 3.
Palmer’s Week 4 can be discounted because he hurt his ankle halfway through the game, only playing 56% of the snaps. He participated in Wednesday’s practice on a limited basis, putting him on track to play this Sunday. If Allen remains out, Palmer is startable as a WR3.
Will Allen Play This Sunday?
Of course, we can’t make any definitive statements regarding Allen’s status on Wednesday or Thursday. All we can do is take the information we have and make our best educated guess.
If we don’t see Allen return to a limited practice on Thursday, fantasy managers should prepare to be without him in Week 5. If I’m being candid, you should probably do that right now.
There is always the chance Allen returns to practice Friday. Unfortunately, history would not be on Allen’s side. When players have already missed games, it’s exceedingly rare that they return to action following a week with nothing more than a lone limited practice on a Friday.
If and when Allen is recovered, he will almost certainly get in practices on both Thursday and Friday. Check back with us later tonight for an update on the Chargers’ Thursday practice, as well as tomorrow for Friday’s status. Both will be very indicative as to whether Allen’s hamstring injury will keep him out for another game.