This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NBAandNFLInfo or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more 2014 Fantasy Football Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
The Indianapolis Colts are going to be a different team in 2014 than they were a year ago. For one, it seems that offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has conceded that plowing Trent Richardson into the offensive line 20 times a game doesn’t really qualify as a game plan.
Indy is expected to get much more creative and more balanced on offense. Instead of shoving the football down the opposition’s throat via a lethargic run game, the Colts are instead aiming to simply "score first" and, understandably, more.
That’s easier said than done, but when you factor in Andrew Luck’s development (he had to rescue his Colts from their own philosophy more than a couple times) the sky could be the limit.
The team getting healthier helps a ton, too. Reggie Wayne, Dwayne Allen, Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard are all working their way back from injuries and the team even added talented veteran receiver, Hakeem Nicks.
The interesting dilemma brought forth by the new found health and offensive direction of the team is exactly how touches and targets will be divided up. One key position fantasy football owners are wondering about is tight end in Indy. Will Coby Fleener be able to build off of his solid (at least statistically) 2013 campaign, or will the return of Allen be a thorn in his side?
Let’s break down both tight ends and decide which is the more promising option as we get closer to the 2014 fantasy football season:
Why You Should Draft Dwayne Allen
Allen was the guy you could trust when these two tight ends were rookies in 2012, as he caught 45 passes for 521 yards and three touchdowns. A big reason why he outperformed Fleener that year was because he was a leaps and bounds better blocker. He also proved to be a more reliable receiver, with those two key attributes granting him 16 starts and the more consistent role in the passing game.
The only reason at all we forgot about Allen in 2013 is because he hurt his hip in week one and missed the final 15 games of the year. In that one game, he still caught a 20-yard touchdown, furthering his value and impressive play. It’s not completely realistic to expect Allen to just pick up right where he left off and banish Fleener completely to the bench, but he’s the better player and Indy is going to want to get him on the field. He lacks Fleener’s size and speed, but he’s actually a pretty solid athlete and playmaker in his own right. The fact that he’s not even being drafted on average right now shows you how quickly fantasy owners forgot about his promise.
Why You Should Draft Coby Fleener
Fleener benefited greatly from Allen going down last year, as he took over as the team’s top tight end and put up career numbers across the board with 52 receptions, 608 receiving yards and four touchdowns. With the extra playing time, he essentially doubled his rookie year production, putting his elite package of size and speed for the position to good use.
There is no denying that Fleener has some shortcomings, though, while the return of a fundamentally sound player in Allen will raise the question of whether or not he deserves to see the field. But he does, because he still has so much potential. Fleener absolutely is the better overall athlete, has the ability to go get balls Allen couldn’t dream of, and is some fundamental clean up away from being a potential star.
As much upside as Fleener really does have, it’s clear after watching 2013 tape that he just doesn’t really get it yet. He struggles with drops, isn’t the best in traffic, doesn’t always know where the yard marker is and seems a bit timid to do something after the catch at times.
Allen is a beast. He’s more compact and doesn’t have Fleener’s size, but he’s actually a pretty good athlete. He also can block like an ox, so the Colts are going to much prefer him to be on the field the majority of the time to help the running game. I still think Fleener has the most long-term upside, but with a healthy Allen, he could revert back to something closer to his rookie numbers. Neither will be an elite top-10 option thanks to the healthy bodies in Indy, but if you have to choose one it probably has to be the more reliable Allen.