Pittman, a rookie out of USC who the Colts drafted 34th overall, entered Thursday with just 14 receptions for 135 yards in an injury-shortened year that forced him to miss three games. He averaged just four targets per game during that stretch.
From a fantasy perspective, Pittman was unplayable aside from keeping him on the bench and hoping for better opportunities down the road.
Those chances may have appeared now that Pittman dominated in a huge game against a division rival, which put the Colts into the AFC South lead via tiebreaker over Tennessee.
There were encouraging signs last Sunday that Pittman could break through: He amassed seven targets for four catches and 56 receiving yards against a stout Baltimore Ravens defense while also playing 87 percent of snaps, per Pro Football Reference.
He was also second on the team in routes run, per Adam Levitan of Establish the Run:
Granted, the Colts did not have T.Y. Hilton on the field, but Pittman was a focal point in the Colts' offense Thursday even after he returned.
Given the usage, the opponent, the massive playoff-picture implications and Pittman's performance despite Hilton's return, it's fair to wonder whether his night foreshadows a big second half of the season, thereby making him a big-time fantasy asset.
Zak Keefer of The Athletic was impressed with his work:
Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star was as well:
Pittman ended up being fine, and after the game, he offered some encouraging words on his emerging chemistry with veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, per Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star:
Rivers offered some kind words too:
That work was clearly evident Thursday, as Pittman made some huge plays, including this 40-yard reception:
Ultimately, Pittman should be a popular waiver-wire addition before Week 11 and rightfully so. Perhaps most importantly, the Colts' schedule sets up for some big passing days. They play the Houston Texans, who have allowed 415.8 passing yards per game (30th in the NFL), in Weeks 13 and 15. A Week 14 date with the Las Vegas Raiders (385.6 passing yards, 23rd) looms, and so does a Week 12 meeting with these same Titans.
Pittman is now a must-add and strong flex option who could end up being a strong candidate to start as a second wide receiver for fantasy teams down the stretch. If Rivers treats Pittman like the team's de-facto No. 1 wideout in Weeks 11-17 as he did Thursday, then starting him is a no-brainer call.