Hop out of your cry-filled showers, your fantasy hibernation and sorrow.
Dennis Pitta is set to return, fantasy fans.
A favorite heading into 2013, Pitta devastated fantasy owners after suffering an unfortunate, scary hip injury. The injury originally appeared to be season-ending, but the Ravens placed him on the designated to return list. It’s a good thing they did, because considering the tight end position in Baltimore, they are going to need him. As of right now, the combination of Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson has combined for 45 catches for three scores. Pitta is a guy who will immediately serve as one of the top targets for Joe Flacco in the passing game. Taking a look back at last season, we get an idea of how Pitta will be used in this offense. And guess what?
There may even be more usage.
The Boldin Factor
Pitta showed signs of taking the next step last season, but inconsistency was an issue. Of course, the presence of Anquan Boldin interfered with his fantasy upside, but as you may know, Boldin is in San Francisco now. That’s terrific news for Pitta owners, and as Denny Carter (Pitta lover) of XN Sports touched up on, the two undermined each other quite a bit in 2012. When Pitta caught a handful of passes, Boldin was invisible, and vice versa. The reasoning behind this is both guys operated out of the slot quite a bit, and were effective doing so. According to Pro Football Focus, last year, Boldin ran 527 routes out of the slot, which was the ninth-most among wideouts. That’s good for 62.2% of his routes. Meanwhile, Pitta ran a healthy 396 routes from the slot, scoring six of his seven scores came from the middle. 64.6% of his routes came from the slot, creating a headache for Pitta/Boldin owners. Both were awesome in that regard, but Pitta consistently served as the safety valve for Flacco. Trust me, a struggling offense in Baltimore, Flacco is itching to get Pitta back into the lineup.
It’s only going to be for a few games, but Pitta could be very, very productive for fantasy owners who grab him. He will run as many pass routes as he can handle, and with a struggling offensive line in Baltimore, many checkdowns may be in Pitta’s future as well. And because Baltimore is struggling to run the ball efficiently up close, Pitta could easily score some touchdowns. He saw a healthy 13 red zone targets last season, and five of his seven touchdowns came from inside the red zone. Torrey Smith, meanwhile, is very good, but has some inconsistency to his game. Pitta is going to see plenty of targets to matter in fantasy land, and fantasy owners need to take notice.
Owned in just three percent of Yahoo! leagues, Pitta is going to be religiously added in all leagues once it is announced that he is playing. In a position that is inconsistent, Pitta may be a guy who can come back and win owners fantasy leagues.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.