The Baltimore Ravens eked out a 13-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. With offense at a premium, Joe Flacco and Co. had to rely on a stout defense to extend their lead in the AFC North.
While the Ravens offense had been solid through the season's first nine games—averaging 354.1 yards and 28.7 points per game—its 200 total yards and 13 points will have to improve to keep up with the other top teams in the AFC (Houston Texans and New England Patriots).
How much of that offensive struggle can be attributed to tight end Dennis Pitta leaving the game early with a concussion? And how will they replace his production?
Entering Sunday night, Pitta was second on the Ravens with 37 receptions and three touchdowns. His 57 targets and 376 receiving yards ranked third.
The question is whether or not backup tight end Ed Dickson can step in and replace what Pitta brought to the table should he miss an extended period of time. The way the Ravens offense works would indicate that he will get every opportunity to do so.
Dickson finished Sunday night with only two catches for eight yards. But the passing offense wasn't a factor—nor did it need to be—so these results can't be deemed as a measuring stick going forward.
Prior to the game, Dickson had tallied 12 catches for 144 yards and no scores on the season. But his 2011 season (54 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns) could be more indicative of what the tight end is capable of in this league.
Based on his past performance, Dickson will be a fine replacement in the Ravens offense. But how will that translate to fantasy success.
Seeing that Pitta wasn't a stud tight end himself, Dickson's expectations should be tempered for those wanting a spark at the position.