Colts tight end Dwayne Allen's role in the offense this year is going to be huge. We've talked about it all offseason how Allen's return is going to open up the offense a lot.
He's a good receiver, having caught 45 passes for 521 yards and 3 touchdowns, often functioning as a security blanket for Andrew Luck. Last year, in just one game, he caught only one pass, but it went for 20 yards and a touchdown. Even more than that, however, Allen is a great blocker. He can play as a receiver, as a tight end, or in the backfield, either as a fullback or protecting Andrew Luck. Allen is versatile and can do a lot of things in this offense - we'll definitely notice a chance in the offense with Allen in there this year versus the offense without Allen last year.
But, at the same time, a lot of Allen's impact comes in an area that isn't glorified in fantasy football, and that's in his blocking. He's a good all-around tight end, but only the receiving numbers get noticed in fantasy. Still, his skills and abilities as a pass catcher should make him a decent option as a tight end number two for fantasy owners, but so far, his fantasy stock is pretty low.
Fanduel has him ranked as the 22nd best overall tight end for week one, pricing him at $4,500 (keep in mind you have a salary cap with Fanduel). At CBS, Allen has an average draft position of 155.17, putting him number 19 among tight ends. At ESPN, his average draft position is 170.0, ranking 23rd among tight ends. And then at Yahoo, his average draft position of 133.0 puts him 24th at his position.
In 2012, Allen ranked tied for 21st among tight ends in receptions, 20th among tight ends in yards, and tied for 22nd among tight ends in touchdowns, while also ranking 22nd among tight ends in fantasy points. Keep in mind that was his rookie season. Basically, his average draft position so far this year is right in line with where he was two years ago in his rookie year. So, not factoring in any improvement from Allen this year, it seems like he's being drafted just about right.
The thing about Allen is that he has a lot of upside. Yes, the Colts have a lot of weapons in the passing game, but Allen will certainly be on the field for most of the snaps and if the Colts send him out for pass patterns, I wouldn't be surprised to see him turn into a safety blanket for Andrew Luck again this year.
If you're in a 12 team league and if everyone keeps 2 tight ends, there's no reason why some team shouldn't have Dwayne Allen. But ultimately, his biggest impact for the Colts cannot be measured by fantasy football, and that's the reason for his lower average draft position. I don't know if he's necessarily being undervalued in fantasy football, but if you're using fantasy football to judge reality (which is a terrible idea anyway), then Allen is very much undervalued. But in fantasy? It's probably about right - though don't hesitate to pick Allen if the value is right.
Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.