You’ll recall that I’m a firm believer in the need to wait on tight ends this year. And most years, because as appealing as Jimmy Graham and a healthy Rob Gronkowski are with their production usually so far ahead of their peers, the gap isn’t nearly sufficient to justify a second-round investment.
Of course, with Gronk needing constant backiotomies (Dustin Parkes is the specialist of that procedure, and I’m not sure of the spelling), the belief that you should wait until the later rounds grows even further. Oh, and there’s the whole bit about his teammate Aaron Hernandez possibly being “directly tied” to a homicide. Not cool.
So now more than ever you need to wait on those TEs to fall and tumble, especially after a year when the likes of Heath Miller and Brandon Myers were among the top 10 producers at their position, and they were both drafted over 10 rounds after Gronkowski and Graham.
One of your primary targets with high upside could be Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, and this morning we learned about a pleasant bit of information regarding him.
Oh, it could be nothing. Or it could be a whole lot, which is the nature of the offseason chemistry building cauldron. A general manager is forced to add and subtract some pieces after each season, and then every spring he watches while possibly wearing a cape to see how the new components come together.
So this morning by way of the fine folks over at Rotoworld, there was some welcome news on the Pitta front: he’s Joe Flacco’s new favorite target. That’s the observation John Eisenberg from Ravens.com made, meaning John Eisenberg is a great man:
Joe Flacco looked like the accomplished veteran he has become, very much in command. And there’s no doubt his favorite target is tight end Dennis Pitta. Pitching the ball to Pitta almost seems to be Flacco’s default mode now. The two are best friends off the field and have a keen rapport on it. You can’t manufacture that, but it would be nice to see Flacco develop the same caliber of rapport with another downfield target.
After the departure of Anquan Boldin, Pitta has an opportunity to rise, and maybe rise fast. Torrey Smith is a speedy dude, and he’s just generally really talented. But he’s also primarily a vertical target, and Boldin was Flacco’s steady and reliable intermediate option to get a new set of downs.
Now that guy could be Pitta, as beyond Smith there’s Jacoby Jones — who’s also best used in a vertical capacity — and then a lot of of inexperience and unproven raw potential in the form of Tommy Streeter, Tandon Doss, and David Reed. One or more of those latter names could bust out, and provide fine waiver wire value early in the season. But Pitta could just as easily be set to inherit most of Boldin’s targets.
Boldin was targeted 112 times this past season, which accounted for 35.9 percent of Flacco’s total pass attempts. Meanwhile, Pitta was targeted 94 times, which he translated into 669 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, fine overall production despite three weeks with five or fewer yards. A jump to the 120-target range for Pitta would mean that a leap into the neighborhood of top five tight end status in terms of receiving yards is also very possible (Heath Miller was fifth in 2012 with 816 yards).
The potential bargain for his high upside could be pretty delicious, though Pitta’s ADP will certainly rise over the next two months before we get into the true heart of fantasy draft season. But currently, he’s sitting at 81st overall according to FantasyPros, which is the beginning of the eighth round in standard 10-team leagues, and nearly 60 slots behind Graham.