Kyle Pitts was a hyped-up dynasty commodity after the 2021 season. Pitts had a historic rookie season with 1,000 yards as a 21-year-old tight end. However, last year didn’t go according to plan. The Atlanta Falcons had a new identity as a run-heavy team with Marcus Mariota under center, and Pitts suffered from this.
Despite an underwhelming 2022 campaign, Pitts compares well to some of the best tight ends in recent memory. We’ll look at who Pitts compares to and why I’m bullish on him heading into the 2023 season.
Finding Pitts’ Comparison
The first step in finding Pitts’ best comparison was filtering for close statistical comps in terms of efficiency and volume thresholds.
Pitts doesn’t necessarily play a traditional tight end role, often lining up as a wide receiver. So, I wanted to filter for some aDOT comps, too. Pitts runs more deep routes than any tight end we’ve seen in recent memory.
There’s only one other tight end who has had an average depth of target (aDOT) of more than 10 yards with 100 or more targets in their first two seasons: Mark Andrews.
Pitts’ 11.9 aDOT is absurd for a tight end. To put that more into context, I looked at some wide receivers used similarly to Pitts in their first couple of years.
A.J. Brown was insanely efficient with similar targets. A lot can be credited to his ability after the catch, but this also shows how poor the quarterback play has been for Pitts in his first couple of seasons (or at least last year).
It’s evident in a historical context Pitts is a unique tight end in terms of how he’s utilized.
Improving From Last Season
Last year went as bad as it possibly could’ve, but things will improve for him. We saw him finish first among all tight ends in targets per route run, first in unrealized air yards (on only 56 targets) and second in target share. These are extremely positive signs showing Pitts is being used at elite levels within the context of the passing offense.
The Falcons passed for the fifth-fewest pass attempts per game, much of which concerned Mariota. Also, the quality of Pitts’ targets was abysmal. Only 59.3 percent of his targets were catchable, easily one of the lowest rates in the league. Much of this has to do with Pitts being used downfield a lot, but still, there were plenty of downfield opportunities Mariota simply missed on.
Desmond Ridder likely will be the starting quarterback for the Falcons this year, and surprisingly they increased their passing attempts per game by 25 percent with him starting last year.
We don’t know how Ridder good will be, but it certainly can’t be as bad as last year in any way, shape or form. Last year might end up being one of the all-time unluckiest fantasy seasons for a top-receiving weapon.
I’m incredibly bullish on Pitts’ long-term ceiling as a game-changing weapon in this league. I’d happily take Pitts anywhere near the end of the third round in re-draft leagues, so good thing he’s going in the early sixth round for a discount.
In Dynasty, he’s still my top tight end, and I would have no issues selecting him in the late first or early second round in startups. You’ll likely get a massive discount, as he is going towards the end of the third round.
I’d have no issues trading the 1.03 in this rookie draft for Pitts straight up or finding creative ways to pivot off top dynasty wide receivers like CeeDee Lamb for Pitts.