Prior to the Julio Jones trade, Kyle Pitts’ fantasy value was limited due to the majority of targets going to Jones and Calvin Ridley. Now that Jones is in Tennessee, his targets will have to go somewhere, which is why Pitts could be in for a big year. Typically, rookie tight ends aren’t great fantasy options, but the former Florida Gator might be the exception after averaging just under 100 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game in college. He is a phenom, which is apparent in his 4.44 40-yard dash at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, but now that he’ll be the no. 2 option in the passing game, Pitts’ fantasy value has skyrocketed.
Nobody other than Calvin Ridley benefits more from a Julio-less Falcons’ offense as much as Pitts does. Even though Arthur Smith ran the ball a league-leading amount the last two fantasy seasons, I fully expect him to adjust his offense accordingly. The talent in Atlanta calls for fewer run plays than in Tennessee because of one simple factor — Derrick Henry. Smith will easily get Pitts over 100 targets, and his zero dropped passes last year indicates a high completion percentage.
Without Julio Jones, Pitts is likely to receive 115-125 targets in Smith’s tight end heavy offense, which threw to the position 29.6% of the time last since — fourth-most in the league. That high target rate is comparable to Travis Kelce and Darren Waller, who each received 145 targets. Since 2010, only Rob Gronkowski and Evan Engram have finished as TE1s — top 12 — as rookies. Pitts is essentially a lock to do so, as most projections have him conservatively as TE5. I personally think it’s disrespecting his ability.
Pitts isn’t like anyone in the league; he’s faster, longer, and more agile than most every tight end. He’s a certified freak that can line up anywhere on the field and run every route on the tree. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he finishes within the top-five TEs on his way to the Offensive Rookie of the Year.