Dynasty Standoff: Keenan Allen vs. Michael Floyd
In the first edition of our new “Dynasty Standoff” series, we’re going to look at the values of two similar players and decide who we would rather take if we were starting a new Dynasty fantasy football franchise today. This time around we’re going to compare two young and promising wide receivers who emerged for their NFL teams and their fantasy owners last year: Keenan Allen and Michael Floyd.
Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd, in his sophomore season, had 65 catches for 1041 yards and 5 touchdowns. He was the #24 receiver in standard scoring.
San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen, in his rookie season, caught 71 balls for 1046 yards and 8 scores. He was the #17 receiver in standard scoring.
Keenan Allen vs. Michael Floyd: Age
This category is pretty straight-forward. Obviously younger players are going to be more valuable in Dynasty leagues as you will own their career for longer, but also because it is typically easier for a wiser, more mature, more experienced, and more physically developed (read: older) player to perform. If two players have identical production but different ages, it is a more impressive feat for the younger player.
Keenan Allen: Apr 27, 1992 (22.1 years)
Michael Floyd: Nov 27, 1989 (24.5 years)
The fact that Allen is nearly 2 and a half years younger than Floyd and already as productive in the NFL is something that should not be taken lightly. Allen is young enough to be a 2014 rookie. The Carolina Panthers’ newest 1st round pick, WR Kelvin Benjamin, is 23 years old, so Allen could have even been a 2015 rookie. Even though Floyd is older, he is still plenty young for a player that just exceeded 1,000 yards in the NFL. Still, the math says there’s a clear winner.
Advantage: Keenan Allen
Keenan Allen vs. Michael Floyd: Talent
This is a tough one because talent is such a subjective thing. How do you define talent? Do you go down the list of individual attributes a player can have? Do they include both tangibles and intangibles? How do you weigh each attribute against each other?
Do you include draft pedigree, which is essentially the opinion of professional talent evaluators? Floyd was a high 1st round pick while Allen was taken in the 3rd (partly due to an injury). Going by the draft also gets tricky because Tom Brady was taken in the 6th round. Is he less talented than the quarterbacks that went ahead of him? What if some of the QBs taken ahead of him actually were more talented but never put it together? Is work ethic a talent?
Instead of trying to answer those impossibly difficult questions and rather than coming up with any sort of hard rule or complex formula to identify talent, I’m going to do it the old fashioned way and eyeball it.
Although Keenan Allen is listed at 6’2″, he looks and plays much smaller on the field. Rather than being a physical presence that dictates positioning to defenders, he uses his quickness to maneuver around them and find the perfect blind spot in coverages. He’s not particularly fast, though faster than his pre-draft 4.71 forty-yard dash would indicate, but he makes up for it with advanced route running and soft hands for a player that was a mid-round rookie. With those set of skills, Allen is more of a short-to-intermediate receiver that is probably not going to be a perennial threat for double-digit touchdowns, but could eventually push for 100 catches a season. I see him more of a high-end #2 or low-end #1 receiver in fantasy, which is more or less what he was in 2013 after he took hold of the starting role.
Floyd more closely fits the mold of the prototypical #1 receiver. He’s an inch taller and about 10 pounds heavier than Allen, plus he plays more to his size. He has no hesitation getting into a defender’s body and making a contested catch. He’s also more willing to leap over a defender and take the ball out of the sky with his strong hands. He has faster timed speed at 4.47 which does look like it transfers over to the field both on deep routes and shorter catches he turned into long gains. On the other hand, he’s not quite as good in short spaces as Allen and is not as skilled as a route runner which can lead to some quiet days. He may not be as consistent as Allen, but if Floyd continues to develop, he has the tools more comparable with names you frequently see in the top 5 among fantasy receivers every year. He’s not there yet.
Both players are very talented in their own right with differing styles. I think Allen is more likely to maximize or come close to maximizing his talent, but Floyd has a much higher ceiling. Some fantasy writers have expressed concern that Allen has already reached his ceiling, although I wouldn’t go quite that far. Even if Floyd does not reach that high ceiling, he could be a fantasy force if he even comes close. As an owner that prioritizes shooting for upside, I’m going to lean towards Floyd having the talent edge, but it could really go either way depending on your preferences and what you look for in a player.
Advantage: Michael Floyd
Keenan Allen vs. Michael Floyd: Situation
Sometimes even all the talent in the world cannot overcome a terrible situation. Just ask Floyd’s teammate, Larry Fitzgerald. The fact that a potential Hall of Fame receiver still in his prime has struggled so much to produce since Kurt Warner retired should tell you enough about the situation. The Cardinals now have a battle-tested pass-heavy system with head coach Bruce Arians (formerly of the Colts and Steelers), but they lack the QB and offensive line to fully employ that system. Carson Palmer is aging (34), in a contract year, and is an average player on a good day at this point in his career. With the Cardinals being a complete enough team to not be in the running for a top 5 or even top 10 pick, finding the right QB to make the offense take flight will be a difficult task. In the interim, Fitzgerald’s presence is siphoning away targets from Floyd because the offense is not good enough to support two high-end fantasy receivers.
Allen’s side of things is much the opposite. His quarterback in Philip Rivers is not a young man either at 32, but still has plenty of years left to pilot the team. While Rivers has had a couple of head-scratching years recently, he appears to be back to the form that initially led many to believe he was an elite quarterback. Allen is also not competing with any major threat for targets. Antonio Gates is fading by the day and the Chargers’ #2 receiver is a huge question mark at this point. Is it Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal, or Malcom Floyd? It probably doesn’t matter.
The two situational concerns for Allen are that the team became quite run-heavy in 2013 compared to other years, and also there is question whether teams will see Allen as the only legitimate receiving threat and begin clamping down on him. Over the years I’ve found that the latter concern is often overblown.
Advantage: Keenan Allen
Keenan Allen vs. Michael Floyd: Cost
Even if age, talent, and situation all went to the same player, cost could completely swing the answer as fantasy football is a game of accumulating value. If one player is a 2nd round pick that performs like you would expect from 2nd round pick, while another player is a 5th round pick that performs like a 3rd round pick, you’d rather take the second guy.
In the case of Floyd vs. Allen, this is where things really get interesting. It’s hard to find average draft positions (ADP) for start-up Dynasty drafts, but there are some available. According to the latest ADP data at DynastyLeagueFootball.com, Allen is going 13th overall while Floyd is going 10 spots later at 23.
Depending on your individual league’s number of teams and just the unique flow of each individual draft, this could be a full round difference.
Advantage: Michael Floyd
Keenan Allen vs. Michael Floyd: Our Final Decision
Of the 4 categories laid out, Michael Floyd and Keenan Allen split them evenly, making this a very close decision for me. As much as I like Allen, I find that the appeal of taking a higher ceiling player potentially a round later ends up being the deciding factor. I feel like they are close enough as Dynasty commodities that I’d be willing to pass on Allen to take a player going in his vicinity, and then take Floyd with my next pick. Going by the provided ADP, that is roughly the difference of taking Giovani Bernard and Floyd over Allen and DeMarco Murray. Of course, if you feel like Floyd will be gone before the draft snakes back to you, I would go ahead and take Allen.
Winner: Michael Floyd
Who would YOU take in a Dynasty league?