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Player Spotlight: Dwayne Allen

A detailed look at Dwayne Allen's fantasty prospects for 2016.

ROBOCOP REVITALIZED

Fantasy owners didn’t think much of former Colts Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton, but he did provide a memorable moniker for one of his players, tight end Dwayne Allen.

"Dwayne is like RoboCop, a big ball of muscle working the hashes and stretching the middle of the field..."

Plays like the one above illustrate what Hamilton was talking about. Allen is solidly built, a smooth mover, a good leaper, and a clear mismatch for linebackers and smaller defensive backs who get asked to cover him. He has proven to be a dual threat as a blocker and a receiver, meaning he does not need to come off the field. Indianapolis management seems to have complete faith in him. In his contract year, Allen was extended for four years and paid a whopping 29.4 million dollars. In turn, he wants to do all he can to be successful and healthy this year. Talking with the media recently, Allen divulged that he is participating in yoga this offseason to help increase his range of motion and durability.

Want to keep up the flexibility. Doing some work, whether it’s yoga, Pilates, all things tied to flexibility. Making sure I continue to go through football drills and stay in football shape from a muscle-memory standpoint ... You can’t run or over prepare for injuries. It’s going to happen. It’s part of the game. You do small things that you hope are preventative measures.

An advantage that Allen has this season is that he will no longer have to split the load with another tight end. Coby Fleener and Allen were both drafted in the same year. Both being competent receivers, they had cut into each other's targets. With Fleener signing a deal with the Saints, Allen now has an uninhibited path to being the primary tight end for the Colts.

Like his predecessor Hamilton, new Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski see the possibilities for Allen:

“I see Dwayne as a guy that could be or is a definite weapon for us. Again, his versatility is probably the thing that makes him unique in that he can do so many things well. It really allows us to be diverse on offense as well.”

Largely considered to be a tight end whisperer, Rob Chudzinski is responsible for the best seasons that fantasy owners have gotten from Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron. He’s also the Offensive Coordinator who helped Cam Newton reach historic territory in his rookie season. Employing concepts he learned from Norv Turner, Chudzinski tends to favor the vertical passing game. Look for Chudzinski to send Allen down the field more this year.

ASININE ALLEN

Dwayne Allen has squarely earned the injury prone label. His only full season of play came in his rookie season. He sat most of the 2013 season after suffering a torn hip labrum on a touchdown catch in game one. The preceding two seasons, he missed a total of six games with various injuries. To date, Allen has been somewhat of a weak producer. He’s never topped 600 yards or had over 50 catches during his four seasons in the NFL. While he did post 8 touchdowns in 2014, he has not come anywhere close to that mark in any of his other seasons. In part, last year’s failures were due to the state of the Colts offensive line. Allen was basically being used as an extra blocker more often than not because their protection was so poor. Our offensive line expert Matt Bitonti seems to think their line play will trend upward based upon the attention Indianapolis paid to the offensive line in the Draft. However, if the line does not improve as expected, Allen could be called upon again to block often, which would cut into his reception totals.

POSITIVES:

  • Allen is one of the few tight ends in the game who presents mismatch problems for defenses. His dual abilities blocking and receiving make him a three-down player.

  • He will no longer have to compete with Coby Fleener for targets.

  • The promotion of Rob Chudzinski to Offensive Coordinator bodes well for Allen’s production.

NEGATIVES:

  • He can’t seem to stay healthy.

  • Allen has a weak NFL production track record.

  • If the offensive line doesn’t improve, Allen could be asked to block as much as he did last year.

FINAL THOUGHTS

While Allen certainly has warts, the hate has gone a little too far. A round 13 price tag seems more than fair to pay for someone who could produce among the top ten of fantasy tight ends. Allen makes a great tight-end-by-committee candidate for these reasons.

In dynasty, Allen is a tremendous buy-low candidate for those who don’t want to pay a premium for the Rob Gronkowski’s and Tyler Eifert’s of the world. If Allen can turn in a productive season and stay healthy, his value in this format would be largely restored.

2016 PROJECTIONS

BOB HENRY'S PROJECTIONS

G

RSH

YD

Y/R

TD

REC

YD

Y/R

TD

FPT

15

0

0

0

0

57

640

11.2

6

157.00

MAURILE TREMBLAY’S PROJECTIONS

G

RSH

YD

Y/R

TD

REC

YD

Y/R

TD

FPT

16

0

0

0

0

58

477

8.2

4

129.70

OTHER VIEWPOINTS

Matt Franciscovich of NFL.com believes that Allen could be targeted over 90 times this season:

When healthy though, Allen has displayed extremely smooth route running abilities and an explosiveness that makes it easy to see why the Colts brought him back. He has the speed to get behind linebackers in coverage and the power to plow through secondary defenders for extra yardage after being contacted. His current ADP on FantasyFootballCalculator is late in Round 13 and he's not even being drafted in standard NFL.com mocks. As a tight end who could be in line for 90-plus targets in Andrew Luck's offense, he makes for an excellent bargain for those seeking late-round value.

Jordy McElroy feels the Colts overpaid for Allen:

“The Colts abandoned the usual ritual of big free agent signings and spent most of its money in-house this offseason. But if Allen struggles, the backlash from the team letting Fleener walk will be scorching. There is no question that Allen was at least slightly overpaid based off his limited production over the last four years.”