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Will Dissly - Fantasy Football's New Star Tight End

You can mark down September 15 2019 as the day Will Dissly of the Seattle Seahawks truly made his way onto the fantasy football radar. He caught two TD passes in a road win at Pittsburgh, finishing with five receptions for 50 yards. It was a stirring win for the Seahawks on Pete Carroll’s birthday, and the performance was also a big victory for Dissly, who had come a long way physically since the previous September.

The two-score performance was a clear signal that Dissly had successfully recovered from a torn patellar tendon injury that he suffered on September 30 2018 at Arizona. Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer certainly realized the significance of Dissly’s outing.

“Just really pleased for him,” Schottenheimer said. “I was happy for him. He had a great first game last year. For him to come back and do that was cool.”

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The Road to Fantasy Respect

Dissly saw the TD receptions as a way to start putting his knee injury behind him while he regained an important role in the Seahawks offense.

“It was kind of just a deep breath. Like, okay, there’s a lot of questions when you go down obviously. You don’t really know if you’re going to lose a step, if you’re even going to play again, kind of those kind of questions,” Dissly said. “Kind of having that moment of getting in the endzone and kind of being back, winning games is the best feeling ever.”

Tight end is such a thin position in fantasy football, so owners started to immediately consider Dissly a strong pickup. He was the fourth-most added player in FleaFlicker leagues after Week 3. Savvy fantasy players were not unfamiliar with Dissly. He had a 105-yard outing in his rookie debut last season, and scored in each of his first two career games.

The Seahawks had drafted him in the fourth round, mainly for his acumen as a blocker. A converted lineman out of Washington, he caught just 25 passes for three TDs in his last two years in college. But Schottenheimer said when Dissly arrived in Seattle, they saw a more complete player.

“From the moment he got here, we knew he was so talented. I see a better football player now than I saw even in college. The instincts and the ability to make people miss and the tough catches that he makes. He just does so many things really, really well,” Schottenheimer said.

After four weeks, Dissly has apparently arrived as a fantasy player, as he has clearly started to blossom as a pass-catcher at the pro level. After his jump into fantasy relevance in Week Two, he demonstrated that he was no fluke. Dissly has caught 13 passes for 119 yards in his past two games and has scored in each outing. He has now caught TD passes in his past three games.

Dissly has six TDs in his first eight career games, which ties him with three other TEs for the most scores in that span to begin their careers since the NFL/AFL merger, according to ESPN.

Fantasy owners have rapidly taken notice, as Dissly was again the fourth-most added player on Fleaflicker after Week 4, is now up to 67 percent owned, and the number will surely continue to rise. There’s 33 percent of league players who are missing on a breakout run.  He may be on his way to threatening Jimmy Graham’s 2017 Seahawks franchise record for TD receptions by a TE (10).


Zoning In

After the Seahawks’ Week 4 win at Arizona, head coach Pete Carroll pointed out another stat that showed that Dissly is indeed in the midst of an impressive stretch.

“Will had a career-high seven catches and just continues to be a really, really dependable football player,” Carroll said in his postgame press conference. “I love the way he’s playing. He and Russ are hooking up at crucial times, tough catches.”

That last sentence of Carroll’s quote is one of fantasy significance. Russell Wilson is looking for Dissly on many important passing downs. Wilson is counting on Dissly to help him get drives moving, as he has 12 of his 19 catches and 124 of his 181 receiving yards on first downs. More notably, all four of his TD receptions have come inside the opposing 20-yard line, with two inside the 10. Listed at 6-4, 265, he is becoming the Seahawks’ prime passing target when they get closer to the end zone.

While Tyler Lockett clearly is very reliable for Wilson and rookie DK Metcalf has already emerged as a downfield threat, Dissly has embraced becoming the go-to guy when the team needs a key shorter reception (9.5 yards per catch) or Wilson looks to the end zone. He has become an apparent complement to Lockett and Metcalf’s unique skill sets. Lockett is a speedster who has become more productive as a possession receiver, and Metcalf is a home run hitter. Dissly, the emerging big target for the high percentage and TD tosses, said he is now comfortable as a red zone receiver for Wilson.

“Any time that you have a quarterback looking at you, I think you really want him to have confidence in you. Russ is doing his thing. He’s reading, taking what the defense gives you,” Dissly said. “You can’t guarantee those opportunities. To have that trust and confidence, that when there’s a window there, that he’s willing to fire his gun, and obviously good things happen.”


Dissly Deserves your Fantasy Faith

Dissly is now the sixth-highest scoring TE in fantasy football, ahead of big names such as Zach Ertz and Greg Olsen. With his important role being established in the Seattle offense, fantasy players should be able to lean on him as a starter going forward. If he is somehow still available in your league, you should add him even if you already have another top TE. While it feels odd, there is nothing wrong with using a tight end like Dissly at your flex spot. You don’t have to feel pressured to trade him if you have two quality TEs on your roster.

If you need tight end help, you should put out some trade offers and see if you can acquire Dissly, especially if his owner has two quality TEs. If your team has a hole at TE and you want to deal with an owner that can afford to part with him, you should be able to pry him away with mid-range WR2 type or a RB2 who produces at an adequate level or has some upside. Players such as Emmanuel Sanders, Sterling Shepard, Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery could be the possible building blocks of a Dissly trade.

Wilson has obviously developed the trust in Dissly that the TE spoke about.

“He can really catch. His timing is remarkable. How he makes just plays, his catch radius is really special, he’s physical,” Wilson said.

After three consecutive solid outings on top of his early 2018 glimpses of promise, it appears fantasy players can also trust Will Dissly. Lock him in at TE and enjoy the type of production you cannot take for granted at the position.

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