After the 2012 season, the only person that loved Dennis Pitta more than fantasy owners was the guy throwing him the football, Joe Flacco. He was the ideal security blanket for Flacco, ultimately scoring seven touchdowns and finishing as the number seven tight end in fantasy. Heading into 2013, everyone was targeting this guy, but a preseason hip injury sidelined him for 12 games last year, crushing the hopes and dreams of fantasy owners. But Pitta is healthy now, and could legitimately be a top-five tight end.
Pitta is loved by Flacco, so the targets are going to be there. In 2012, he had 93 targets, which was good for the ninth-most among tight ends. But, more importantly, Flacco looks for Pitta where it means the most– in the red zone. In 2012, Pitta led the Ravens pass-catchers in red zone looks with 13. And, when writing about Pitta in 2012, it was important to notice that he and Anquan Boldin often cancelled each other out. When Pitta had a good game, Boldin was useless, and vice versa. Boldin is (and has been) gone, and with Gary Kubiak calling the shots, you know he’ll get a ton of looks in the red zone. In 2012, Owen Daniels saw 14 red zone targets under Kubiak in Houston, the third-most among the position.
Sticking with Daniels, I guess it hurts a little bit that he’s now in Baltimore, interestingly enough, but I think Baltimore wants to use him to block a fair amount, too. Football Outsiders ranked the Ravens as the 32nd run-blocking unit in football last year, so I think Pitta and Daniels will be asked to block a decent amount, too, which will take away some looks in the passing game. Also, Pitta isn’t as young as people thinking, being 28-years old and is still shaking off some rust from his nasty hip injury.
Assuming Pitta can stay healthy, I think Pitta should be able to walk into top-10 fantasy production. Flacco absolutely loves him some Pitta bread, and should target him religiously. I think he could score double-digit touchdowns, especially under Kubiak, and if that’s the case, the yardage and receptions won’t even matter too much.
Bye Week: 11
Projected Round: 7th-8th
Auction Value: $2 (via ESPN)