Dwayne Allen will have fringe TE1 value with New England
The New England Patriots have agreed to trade for Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The move signals the end of Martellus Bennett’s run in New England after just one season. The deal also suggests that Jack Doyle will be the main man in Indianapolis, as the big tight end just recently re-signed with the Colts.
The Patriots, of course, are already home to the best tight end in fantasy (and real life) in Rob Gronkowski. But even with Gronkowski back on the field in 2017, Allen has fantasy appeal in this offense. The Patriots have a knack for making two tight ends relevant in fantasy at the same time.
In games with both Gronkowski and Bennett on the field last year, the Patriots produced two top-10 fantasy tight ends (Gronkowski was No. 1 and Bennett was No. 7). There’s definitely room for Allen to make an immediate impact on the fantasy scene.
Additionally, it’s probably safe to say New England didn’t bring Allen in to block. He has a reputation as a good blocking tight end — Bill Belichick cited his blocking prowess in 2014, and it was true that in the 2014 season, Allen was a strong blocker — but in 2015 and 2016, Allen was one of the worst-graded tight ends in the league in both run- and pass-blocking. In fact, Of all 126 tight ends who were in on a pass-blocking snap last season, Allen’s pass-blocking efficiency was the fourth-worst.
As a receiver, Allen was mostly a disappointment in 2016, catching just 35 passes for 406 yards and six scores. However, three of those touchdowns came in one game, showing Allen’s high ceiling. And in 2014, Allen scored eight touchdowns in just 12 games with the Colts. He has legitimate pass-catching skills, even if they flash inconsistently.
And even with his mostly disappointing 2016 campaign, Allen still performed well in a few advanced metric categories. His 1.72 yards per route run via the slot ranked 11th among all tight ends last year — just ahead of Bennett’s 1.59 YPRR. Allen ran 50.3 percent of his routes from the slot last season (Bennett ran 41.3 percent of his routes from the slot with New England). Additionally, Allen scored 0.26 fantasy points per snap last year, tied for 12th among all tight ends. If Allen continues to struggle in pass protection, we could see him be used primarily as a receiving threat on passing downs, which is certainly not a bad thing from a fantasy perspective.
It’s always difficult to make declarative predictive statements about New England’s offense — Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski are the only “easy” predictions — but Allen no doubt has borderline fantasy TE1 appeal in New England, with legitimate top-10 potential.