MIAMI, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Tears rushed down Keenan Allen's face Sunday after he tore his ACL and was carted off the field.
With his injury, the San Diego Chargers offense won't be the same. The injury also meant millions of fantasy football owners are without their No. 1 wide receiver for the rest of the season.
With waivers hitting Wednesday in most leagues, those owners will be sniping key free agents in order to fill-in for what they lost in Allen. Some of my top options are comprised of resurging veterans and breakout rookies.
My favorite candidates to replace Allen include: Tennessee Titans' Tajae Sharpe, Baltimore Ravens' Mike Wallace, Houston Texans' Will Fuller, Atlanta Falcons' Mohamed Sanu, and New York Giants' Victor Cruz.
The Chargers also have a few options available on its roster including: Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman. I like Benjamin to see the biggest bump in production out of that group and Inman to see more playing time, but not enough to be considered a fantasy football starter. Benjamin could move into the WR3 range, but not consistently. He will be a shaky flex starter in deep leagues.
While some of these players were mentioned as part of our top waiver-wire pickups for Week 2, none of them excite me quite as much as Victor Cruz.
Cruz should remain a trusted option for Giants quarterback Eli Manning throughout the season. Manning looks poised to put up a top-10 2016 campaign with Cruz back in the fold, rookie Sterling Shepard sizzling, and stud Odell Beckham Jr. dominating outside. On Sunday, Manning didn't go to Beckham, but Cruz when the Giants needed a vital score on third down in its win against the Dallas Cowboys. Be ready for many more salsa dances this season as Cruz faces single coverage. He could be Manning's second look in the red zone and on third downs.
Most importantly to note is that Cruz has seven match-ups this season against defenses that ranked in the bottom five in terms of fantasy points allowed to wide receivers in 2015. He has just one match-up against a defense that ranked in the top-5 in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to the position last season.
Sharpe should see a consistent workload as Marcus Mariota's second option, behind Delanie Walker. Fuller also has the benefit of working opposite an elite receiver, in DeAndre Hopkins. Look for Brock Osweiler and Fuller to hook up consistently his offseason, but don't depend on it for more than WR3 production.
Sanu had five receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown Sunday in his Falcons debut. He should see a plethora of targets opposite Julio Jones and could see even more targets should Jones miss games with injury. If the Falcons' running game continues to struggle, Matt Ryan will be forced to throw to Jones and Sanu, pumping up their numbers. Wallace should have caught your eye with his 66-yard, stiff-arm touchdown Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. With Flacco's big arm, the lack of production from the Ravens backfield, and Wallace's ability to slip the secondary, looks for solid value out of the veteran wide out.