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Jack Doyle Fantasy Outlook 2018

Jack Doyle

Jack Doyle Fantasy

The emotional roller-coaster of being an Indianapolis Colts‘ fan is certainly not one to be too envious about. Take last season as a perfect example. The face of the franchise, Andrew Luck was missing all season, the run game was about as mediocre as a vanilla milkshake and T.Y Hilton looked like a lost sheep at times on the field. That’s not even mentioning the offensive line that had more holes than Swiss cheese and a defense marred with injuries left, right and center. Having said all of this, there were also some glimmers of light that managed to be the silver lining on what has been a pretty miserable 2017 campaign for the Colts.

Jack Doyle FantasyJacoby Brissett had a fairly solid year (3,098 yards, 13 TD’s with 7 INTs) and established himself as a solid backup option that is able to move the ball through the air and the ground competently. Adding to his 81.7 passer rating was the ability he has by using his legs. As we know in fantasy football, having a Quarterback that has a decent floor when using his legs gets you a leg up on your opponents. Brissett racked up 260 rushing yards with 4 rushing touchdowns over the season and finished QB 20 in fantasy last year with 205.9 points in accordance with ESPN scoring leaders. Over the course of the season, Brissett struck up a healthy and productive rapport with tight end Jack Doyle

Doyle was a key part of the little success that Indianapolis had last season and saw him draw 29% of the team’s receptions, far more than any other receiver on the roster including main wide threat T.Y Hilton (20% reception share). In fact, only Kansas City and Tennessee had a higher percentage of receptions thrown to tight ends and Travis Kelce was the only tight end finishing with more receptions (83/80). Not only was Doyle the team leader in receptions for Indy, he also topped the charts for Yards After Catch too with 323. All of this translated admirably in fantasy football too where he finished TE 7 in PPR scoring. 

 

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In the last two seasons, Doyle has clearly won coaches over at Lucas Oil. The tight end position has always been exploited, first by Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark, then by Luck with Coby Fleener. Considering both Fleener and the promising talent of Dwayne Allen were allowed to leave the team in recent years, trust must have been high in Jack Doyle. He hasn’t disappointed either as the last two years has seen him convert 139 receptions for 9 touchdowns with a 41.2 yards per game average and 76.4% catch rate. 

Surely then, the 28-year-old out of West Kentucky should be targeted as a locked in starting tight end in fantasy teams?

Well, not exactly.

For the last two seasons, competition has been very lack-luster for him in Indianapolis. Brandon Williams didn’t offer too much in 2017 before having his season ended in week 10 with a concussion, Erik Swoope missed the whole season with a knee injury and rookie Darrell Daniels managed a meager 23.1% catch rate. This offseason saw the Colts acquire former Detroit Lion, Eric Ebron– which will surely eat into Doyle’s prominence in that offense.

Ebron is a pass-catching tight end who struggles with blocking duties on the line of scrimmage.  Doyle has much better attributes for blocking and therefore one would assume he will see his pass-catching upside potentially capped as Ebron steals the main pass-catching role across the middle of the field. Notorious last season for dropping some easy looking catches and red-zone chances, Ebron would seemingly have to work on that downside in the off-season- even though he still had a 61.6% catch rate in 2017, far from terrible.

There is a silver lining though for Doyle truthers. Luck will be back (he will just wait and see!) and he loves making the tight end his ‘go-to man’. That partnership is not new either; Luck found Doyle in the end zone five times in 2016 and made him fantasy relevant as the TE 13 overall in PPR scoring formats. There is also not many other established pass-catching options on the rest of the depth chart. After T.Y Hilton, the rest is a mystery. New acquisition Ryan Grant is somewhat unproven with only 84 receptions spanning his 4-year rookie contract in Washington and existing receiver Chester Rogers has offered very little since joining the Colts as a UFA after the 2016 draft. The remaining pass-catching corps are unknown quantities in rookies Daurice Fountain (5th round, 159th overall) and Deon Cain (6th round, 185th overall).

So what’s the skinny on Doyle? Well, it’s hard to really define his role before seeing what system the Colts roll within week one. I think Indy will likely look to use both Doyle and Ebron is a ‘tight end by committee’ kind of approach. Similar to what Baltimore may look to ride this season with Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams and Mark Andrews all likely wanting roles when in attack mode. So does this make Doyle a top 10 tight end this year in fantasy?

Doyle will likely share the red zone targets with Ebron and I predict both will end up in the 15-20 range as bye week fillers or match-up based starts…but then which one will be the target guy for that game? Personally, I will be avoiding drafting Doyle in my fantasy drafts as he is possibly going to be available after week one on the waiver wire in most leagues. Especially with upside talents such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins and David Njoku available after him if their current ADP’s ring true.

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Who do you like more, Doyle or Ebron? Leave a comment below

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