Is Josh Allen this year’s late-round QB steal?

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Josh Allen was a top-10 quarterback in 2019 but is not being drafted like one in 2020. Can he repeat that feat or was he just a flash in the pan?


There may not be a more underrated quarterback in fantasy football than Josh Allen. He is coming off a huge breakout sophomore season but is still not in the conversation with other young, standout quarterbacks.

Allen quietly had a very impressive season in 2019. He finished as the QB6, only behind superstars such as Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and a polarizing player in Jameis Winston.

Josh Allen is not being drafted like he is coming off a top-six finish despite his top finish at the position last year. Four of the five quarterbacks that finished ahead of him in 2019 are being drafted in the top-six at the position (with Winston obviously being the exclusion).

Allen is being drafted as the QB11, toward the back of the starting options. He is being drafted behind guys like Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Tom Brady.

While each of those signal callers are great players, they do not possess the upside that Allen does. They may finish as top-10 quarterbacks at the end of the season, but only Allen can greatly exceed his draft spot and give you a top season at the position, like he did last year.

Allen is being overlooked in fantasy right now for a handful of reasons. He is this year’s diamond in the rough at the quarterback position. He will reward the fantasy players that take a chance on him by leading them to the championship.

Josh Allen’s Dual-Threat Ability

A quarterback does not necessarily have to put together an All-Pro worthy stat line to be a valuable fantasy asset.

Just look at the previously mentioned Winston last year. He finished as the QB5 and had over 300 fantasy points but threw 30 interceptions. Now he is backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans.

The reason Allen is such an intriguing fantasy option is not because he plays like one of the best in the league in the pocket. His ability to make plays with his legs provides guaranteed production.

Allen is one of the elite rushers at the quarterback position. He has rushed for 1,141 yards in his two-year career.

He finished third in quarterback rushing yards in 2019 with 510 yards and second in 2018 with 631 yards. Allen also finished first in quarterback rushing touchdowns each year and has 17 in his career.

Those rushing numbers have equated to over 100 extra fantasy points each season for Allen. Taking him from a middle of the road fantasy quarterback to a borderline elite one.

There is little reason to expect a drop-off in rushing production from him in 2020.

Allen scored all of his nine touchdowns last year in the red-zone, with eight of them coming on rushes inside the 10-yard line. He proved himself to be the most effective goal line rusher for Buffalo, a role that may increase in 2020.

Allen did not lead the team in red-zone rushing attempts in 2019, that honor went to Frank Gore. Gore is no longer on the roster, leaving just Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss as serious threats to take away carries in that part of the field.

Singletary got a decent amount of red-zone carries, but he did not do much with them. He rarely received carries inside the 10-yard line, just five of them.

Allen looks like he is going to continue to be used around the goal line. If he sees an increase in carries in that area, he has the opportunity to rush for double-digit touchdowns. He could become just the ninth to do so, and first since Cam Newton in 2015.

Don’t Forget About Josh Allen’s Arm

Allen’s rushing ability is definitely the most impressive part of his game and gets a lot of attention. That does not mean that he is completely useless through the air though, he has actually proven to be solid in that aspect.

He threw for 3,089 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2019. Not great by any means, but he was solid.

Allen does not have to throw the ball too often in the Bills’ offense.  He attempted just 461 passes in 2019, the 21st-most in the league.

He threw the ball fewer times than guys like Gardner Minshew, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kyle Allen, and Mitch Trubisky. Yet he destroyed those players in fantasy production.

Allen does what is expected of him through the air. His 3,089 passing yards were the 23rd-most in the league, very close to where he finished in attempts.

The biggest drawback when it comes to Allen is his inaccuracy. It was the biggest question during the draft and still persists to this day.

That concern is very warranted. Allen had a completion percentage of 58.8 percent in 2019, lowest among primary starters.

Despite accuracy concerns, Allen still managed to throw for a decent chunk of yards. That is mainly due to Allen’s propensity to chuck it deep.

He had the sixth-most intended air yards per attempt with an average of 9.3, meaning he threw it deep as much as anyone else in the league.

A lot of times, Allen did not receive much help from his receivers. He had just the 26th-most yards after completion from his receivers. He experienced a drop rate of 7.2 percent, the highest in the league.

It is important for Allen’s receivers to improve in those two areas, which could lead to increased accuracy from Allen. A more accurate Allen would be a far more valuable fantasy asset.

Helpful Supporting Cast

The biggest reason why Josh Allen should be able to improve his passing statistics in 2020 is who he will be throwing to.

Allen’s marginal 2019 success came on throws to John Brown, Cole Beasley, and Dawson Knox. All three of those players will be returning this year, and they will be joined by off-season acquisition Stefon Diggs.

Buffalo gave up their 2020 first-round draft pick among other selections to trade for Diggs. It is a worthy price to pay for a player coming off a 1,130-yard, six-touchdown season.

He fits in perfectly with what Josh Allen likes to do on offense: throw the ball deep.

Diggs had 828 yards before the catch last year, proving himself as one of the best deep threats in the entire league. That number gave him the ninth-most air yards in the league. He finished right behind new teammate John Brown, who had 850 such yards.

Another reason that Allen should be improved in the passing game in 2020 is that other than Diggs, he will be familiar with all of his receiving targets.

Only one player with over 100 receiving yards in 2019 is not on the Bills in 2020: Gore, who had exactly 100 yards on 13 receptions. This means Allen has had a chance to build up chemistry with just about every player he will be throwing the ball to this season.

Brown and Beasley will both return to their same roles that yielded success with Allen in 2019. Both players were in their first season in Buffalo last year. Another season will give them more familiarity with the system in 2020.

Dawson Knox also features to take a big step forward in his sophomore year. He showed promise in his 11 starts last year. With a full off-season as the starter under his belt, he could be even more valuable as Josh Allen’s safety valve.

Conclusion

Allen has a guaranteed path to a top-10 quarterback based on his rushing ability and baseline passing stats. He can become a top-five fantasy quarterback if he shows his maturation as a passer and greatly benefits from the addition of Diggs.


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