Going Deep: Laying down a Diss(ly) track

Andy Patton examines the fantasy value of rookie tight end Will Dissly, who has a touchdown in each of his first two NFL games.

(Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire)

There’s not a lot to like about the Seattle Seahawks offense through two games this season. Russell Wilson, when he isn’t getting sacked, has not looked like himself. They have virtually no run game to speak of, and are missing their best receiver in Doug Baldwin.

Strangely, one of their only bright spots on offense has come from one of the most unlikely of players. Rookie tight end Will Dissly was a defensive end for two years at the University of Washington. He transitioned to a blocking tight end his last two seasons, hauling in just 25 catches. He was ranked as the best blocking tight end in the entire draft, prompting Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider to snag him in the fourth round. The Seahawks planned to use Dissly primarily as an extra run-blocker, with veteran Ed Dickson and third-year end Nick Vannett expected to be the primary pass catchers in a run-oriented offense. So yeah, he wasn’t exactly on the fantasy radar.

However, here we are two weeks into the season and Dissly has scored a touchdown in each contest. Eric Ebron of the Colts is the only other tight end with a TD in the first two games this year. So what the heck happened?

Well for starters, Dickson never managed to get healthy during training camp and the preseason, and began the year on the IR. That left Vannett and Dissly competing for the starting job during preseason. Vannett had four catches for 35 yards and a score, while Dissly had just two catches for 19 yards. Even Seattle’s first depth chart of the season had Vannett the No. 1 tight end.

Then, with 9:04 left in the first quarter of his first NFL game, Dissly caught a 15-yard touchdown from Wilson¬†– the first of Seattle’s season and obviously the first of Dissly’s career. He hauled in two more receptions, one for a huge 66-yard gain that featured some impressive moves by the big man as he moved all the way into Denver’s territory.

He finished his first NFL game with three receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown, a very nice 19.5 points in PPR formats. Most expected that would be it for Dissly, who was used primarily to exploit a Denver defense that was not expecting him to be a big part of their offense.

However, Seattle’s anemic offense in Week 2 against the Bears once again relied heavily on the rookie tight end. He was targeted just five times, but he once again had three receptions for a touchdown. This time it was just a two-yard gain, but that is twice that Wilson has gone to Dissly in the red zone. With Baldwin likely sidelined for a few more weeks, and virtually no run-game to speak of, don’t be surprised to see the six-foot-four, 265 pound Dissly heavily featured in Seattle’s red zone offense.

Overall, with a barren wasteland of talent available on the tight end market, Dissly is worth a pickup. I think he will be a touchdown dependent, inconsistent option – but even so he is probably a low-end TE1 going forward. I’d have him somewhere around 11 or 12 right now, making him worth a start in 12-teamers.

Don’t be surprised by the occasional clunker, but if Wilson keeps looking toward him in the red zone, he is worth rolling out there week after week.

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