Dynasty League Football


Rookie Report Card: Week Six

In my weekly column, we will take a long look at two or three rookies. I will compare their performance to date against my original expectations of them. Let’s continue this series off by looking back at Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright, and Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen after their week Six games:

Kendall Wright, WR TEN

Here were my original thoughts on Wright in college: I re-watched his games against Washington and TCU. Wright has
excellent hands, good agility, sets up his would be tacklers with some good juking, and uses his very quick feet. He uses his size and strength well to out-muscle his coverage, keeps his legs churning, and breaks tackles despite being only 5′ 10″ 196 lbs. In his senior year at Baylor, he produced 108 receptions for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Wright tracks the ball well in the air, sells his double move, and adjusts his body to the ball.  He is one of the few rookie wide receivers that can play well on the line or in the slot and can be effective in trick plays as a passer. I worry about his physical play holding up as he isn’t a big, physical receiver, but then again neither was Hines Ward. Hopefully, Kenny Britt will be on the field drawing double coverage to let Wright work the underneath routes and occasionally bust out the huge downfield play.

This past week against the Steelers, I saw a spark plug for the Titans offense despite his initial struggles: His night started off as a disaster. Wright pushed off a Steelers corner back in the end zone while he managed to let the ball slip right through his fingers. This lack of concentration caused the opening drive to be reduced to a field goal. He would have a few more of those, including a costly false start that stalled another first quarter drive.  Matthew Hasselbeck had faith in him and continued to target the young receiver. The frustrated quarterback’s throws were not connecting well with Britt (four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets) nor Nate Washington (three catches for 57 yards on 10 targets). Keep in mind, the former Baylor receiver was not used in the Titans base two receiver sets, Britt and Washington were.

Wright made the most out of his eight targets as he caught six of them for 71 yards which led the team. Hasselbeck tried to use him on a few short passes that the defense snuffed out early for zero or negative yardage. At times, he looked visibly frustrated that he couldn’t use his quickness in tight spaces. He was more effective catching deeper routes as the Steelers defense struggles against slot receivers when Troy Polamalu doesn’t play. One of his best receptions was on a critical third down play that set up a field goal right before halftime. Another deep over the middle of the field snag kept the Titan comeback in the works to tie the game in the fourth quarter.

Through his first six NFL games, Wright has 33 receptions for 285 yards and two touchdowns. His 8.64 yards per catch average is low; however, his role as a third receiver seems to supplement the Titans anemic rushing attack. He is catching over 63% of his targets while gaining the confidence of whichever quarterback is throwing him the ball.

For dynasty owners that got him in the late first round or early second round in rookie drafts, you should be very excited as he is the play maker we saw at Baylor. I doubt he will be a dominate WR1 for your team, but he should be a solid WR2 as soon as next year. This year I would use him as a WR3 or flex option as the Titans will continue to pass. If you find an owner willing to sell, I would buy him before he gets the starting gig alongside Britt.

Dwayne Allen, TE IND

Here were my original thoughts on Allen in college: I re-watched his 2011 games against Auburn, Boston College, and Virginia Tech. Allen uses good footwork/technique to gain separation and find the soft spot in the defense. What will help him get on the field is his ability to lineup everywhere: beside the tackle on the line, in the backfield, out wide, and in the slot.

Allen has good hands, excellent route running, and determination to fight for the ball even when it’s off target. He can get up to meet the ball at its highest point to come down with the difficult catch and can shield the defender away even when the defender is in his back pocket.

This past week against the Jets, I saw an under-utilized weapon: At the beginning of the game, Andrew Luck targeted his both of his rookie tight ends early on. Allen was quite effective running a drag route behind the line of scrimmage. This kept his assigned defensive coverage behind a slew of bodies (offensive and defensive linemen alike). He cleanly released with a quick pass to gain 12 yards on the play. This play was ran twice more, but Luck over threw the young tight end from Clemson on those attempts.

Allen is a goal line threat (two short touchdowns so far) and blocks effectively in the running game. He lines up as the h-back, in the slot, and, at times, as full back. When sent in motion, he gains an advantage blocking linebackers as he sometimes struggles to get off the line otherwise. On his 21 yard reception, Allen ran with power, punishing defenders as he turned up the field.  Unfortunately, he does not run many routes that let him build up a head of steam like that catch. Later in the game, he lost concentration during a sideline pattern when safety LaRon Landry separated him from the ball with a powerful blow. He finished the day with only two receptions for 33 yards which will not win you many fantasy games.

Allen has produced with his limited targets, 16, as he has caught 12 passes for 109 yards and scored twice in his first five games. It is concerning that Luck passed the ball 44 times against the Jets and only targeted him four times, but then again Coby Fleener saw six targets at the other tight end spot. The majority of Luck’s targets were down field in trying to come back from over a two touchdown deficit. Allen is a TE3 who may become a TE2 before the end of the season. The Colts lack of play makers outside of Reggie Wayne will force the young tight ends and receivers to step up or step aside.

Andy Miley can be found @AndrewMiley on twitter and in the forums as dlf_andym.
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Zach Levitt
9 years ago

Who is better Allen or Ladarius Green?

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