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New Opportunity Makes Dwayne Allen Undervalued in 2016

Tight end (with a few exceptions) is usually the last position player considered by drafters when putting together a team for best ball leagues. And for the most part, that is a good strategy. Unless you are able to get a Rob Gronkowski or Jordan Reed at a discount, the TE spot will likely be one of the lower point scoring slots in your lineup (not to mention the fact that they are rarely used at the flex spot). The average TE1 scored 11.8 points per week, as compared to 17.9 for WR1s and 13.8 for RB1s. With that in mind, finding a late-round value TE who can perform at a TE1 level can be crucial to winning your MFL10. I’m here to tell you that late-round value TE is Dwayne Allen.

With the exit of Coby Fleener from Indianapolis coupled with the return of Andrew Luck under center, Allen is positioned well for a breakout fantasy season and has a chance to drastically outperform his ADP.  

Dwayne Allen’s ADP

Using the Best Ball and MFL10 ADP App, Allen is being drafted at pick 150 overall as the 18th TE off the board (since March 1st). By comparison, his former teammate Coby Fleener is being drafted 120 overall and is the 14th TE off the board. Both Fleener and Allen have seen their ADP steadily rise with the news of Fleener signing with New Orleans and Allen re-signing with Indianapolis (as shown below).AllenADP

Why are these numbers important?  Because with Fleener going at 120 overall, and more recently around pick 100, he’s now being valued as a fringe TE1. Allen, on the other hand, is still being seen as a mid-range TE2. To outperform his draft value, Allen will need to score more than the TE2 weekly average of 7.2 points per week.

Performance and 2016 Opportunity

Fleener and Allen joined the Colts together in 2012 along with their rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck. And since arriving to Indianapolis, Luck has thrown frequently to his tight ends. Looking at his tight end targets compared to his passing attempts, Luck has thrown 19.94 percent of his total passing attempts to one of his tight ends. If his passing attempts are adjusted to remove passes thrown away, batted balls, and QB hits, the aimed frequency of targets jumps up to 21.57 percent. The table below shows the target splits between Fleener and Allen with Luck at QB.

2012 2013 2014 2015 Total
Luck Pass Attempts 627 570 616 293 2,106
Adjusted Pass Attempts 577 534 570 266 1,947
Tight End Targets 114 105 152 49 420
Tight End Adjusted Target % 19.76% 19.66% 26.67% 18.42% 21.57%
Dwayne Allen Targets 64 2 47 11 124
Allen Adjusted Target % 11.09% 0.37% 8.25% 4.14% 6.37%
Coby Fleener Targets 45 84 86 31 246
Fleener Adjusted Target % 7.80% 15.73% 15.09% 11.65% 12.63%

Despite his drop in targets from 2012 (taking into account his games missed in 2013 and 2014 and Luck’s shortened 2015 season), Allen’s points per opportunity has increased since his highest target season. In 2014, Allen finished as the 13th overall TE while playing only 12 games with 116 points and 0.42 points per opportunity. In 2015, through the seven Andrew Luck games and missing three games of his own, Allen had 21 points and 0.34 points per opportunity.

Further, in a small sample size, Allen has demonstrated that his numbers rise in games Fleener missed.

AllenSplits

Due to the small sample size, the split doesn’t take into account an increased likelihood for touchdowns. In 2012, Allen was targeted eight times inside the red zone, including three targets from inside the five yard line. In 2014, his red zone targets rose to nine with four targets inside the five yard line. With only eight career drops, Allen’s steady hands show he can be trusted as a red zone target for the Colts, and should see an increase in TD opportunities as the top TE on the roster.

Conclusion

The Colts had their choice of which free agent tight end to keep this off-season and chose to keep Dwayne Allen for four years at $29.4M. Additionally, with Coby Fleener’s exit from Indianapolis, approximately 12.6 percent of Andrew Luck’s aimed targets exited with him. Assuming that Allen absorbs a portion of those targets, he has TE1 upside. Using an estimated 600 total pass attempts and a 16 percent market share of targets, then using Allen’s historical output per target his stat line is as follows:

Targets Receptions Touchdowns Yards PPR Points 2015 TE Finish
96 50 9 780 182 TE9

Allen’s current ADP allows drafters to take him as their TE2, or at earliest a back-end TE1, and opens up more opportunity to load up on WRs and RBs through the early rounds. But he could very well outperform his ADP and deliver at TE1 level for those drafters willing to take a chance on him.

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