Dennis Pitta: Assessing Ravens TE's Fantasy Value for Week 2 and Beyond
A week ago, Dennis Pitta was little more than an OK tight end with 41 career receptions and three touchdowns.
Seven days later, he's being heralded as the key to Baltimore's offense.
All it took to turn Pitta into a star was a stellar relationship with quarterback Joe Flacco, a little bit of trust and one huge game against the Bengals in which he caught five passes for 73 yards and a touchdown to lead all receivers.
Now, the big questions are, how long will the heroics last, and what can Pitta do for your fantasy team?
By all indications, Flacco has every intention of keeping Pitta involved—very involved—in this offense. Flacco went to him nine times in the season opener, four more times than he looked to leading wide receiver Anquan Boldin, and it worked out pretty well for the Ravens, who took down the Bengals 44-13.
Baltimore's offense seemed to be operating on all cylinders, accumulating 430 total yards, including 308 in the air. This is a passing attack that suddenly looks very intimidating, and Pitta is at the center of it all.
There's no use fixing a game plan that isn't broken, so much like the way Tom Brady never stopped going to Rob Gronkowski once the massive tight end proved to be a force impossible to reckon with, Flacco isn't likely to stop going to Pitta.
As The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Cowherd writes:
Flacco totally trusts him as a receiver. And they share a similar emotional balance. They might celebrate big plays with a quick whoop and a fist-pump. But seconds later, they’re back to having the demeanor of a tax auditor.
But the main thing you saw from Pitta, the part of his game that’s so strong, is this: he finds a way to get open.
And if Pitta can become the league's next Gronk...imagine what that could mean for your fantasy team.
One important thing to remember, however, is that this was one game against the Bengals. Pitta always found a way to get open—against the Bengals. One excellent game against Cincinnati doesn't guarantee a season ripe with success—although given the way the Eagles looked in Week 1, it wouldn't be unfair to expect similar success out of Pitta in Week 2 against Philly.
The way Pitta performs against the Eagles will tell us a lot about what he can truly do this season, for the Ravens and for your fantasy team. And if he has another game where he leads all Baltimore receivers in receptions and yards, it's safe to say he'll be a positive asset to your roster.
The trust between a quarterback and a target only gets stronger throughout the season, and the more comfortable Flacco gets with Pitta—and the more success the two of them have together—the more confident they will become. The more dangerous they will become.
Week 1 was a good sign, but there need to be a couple of more good weeks in order to solidify Pitta as a worthwhile fantasy prospect. This is a guy who had only made one career start before 2012, after all. There's no reason to jump the gun.
Then again, sometimes, things can click quickly. If things keep clicking for Flacco and Pitta against the Eagles, there's a good chance this is a partnership that could pay off big time for your fantasy team.
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