Fantasy impact of Colts re-signing Dwayne Allen
The Colts have re-signed their 26-year-old tight end Dwayne Allen end to a four-year, $29.4 million contract.
The move came as somewhat of a surprise, as earlier reports had implied a reunion was unlikely, with the team instead setting their sights on re-signing Coby Fleener. Adding to the perplexity of the agreement is the magnitude of a deal that places Allen among the highest-paid at the position. It appears the Colts were not granted a home-team discount, nor a price reduction based on the fact that Allen has missed 21 games over the last three seasons.
While it was a down year for the entire Indianapolis team in 2015, Allen seemingly did little last year to warrant a contract of this size. In 13 games, Allen was targeted 26 times, catching just 16 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. Fleener significantly outproduced Allen, catching 54 passes for 491 yards and three touchdowns, on 81 targets. Among the 137 tight ends we graded last season, Allen graded out second-worst.
This signing likely has a lot to do with Allen’s skills as a blocker and the upside he flashed in earlier seasons. In 2012, as a rookie, Allen graded out as our No. 1 tight end. In 2014, he ranked ninth overall and first as a pass blocker. The Colts undoubtedly believe Allen can stay healthy and “flash” with more consistency.
From a fantasy perspective, this signing offers fantasy owners a fair amount of hope. It’s clear the Colts like and trust their young tight end, and given the hefty financial commitment, it is likely Fleener will no longer be on the team to eat into Allen’s snap totals and target share.
While Allen was an afterthought in the passing game last season, in 2014, he ranked fifth among all tight ends in fantasy points per route run and second in fantasy points per target. That season, he caught 20.0 percent of the team’s receiving touchdowns, despite accounting for just 7.6 percent of the overall target market share.
If the Colts offense looks more like what we saw in 2014 than 2015 — a reasonable expectation, given Andrew Luck’s health issues in 2015 — and Allen is given a chance to be more of a focal point in the passing game, then Allen has significant upside as an elite touchdown scorer on a top fantasy offense.