Kyle Pitts' Fantasy Outlook After Falcons Select TE in 2021 NFL Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

FILE - Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (84) tires to get past Georgia defensive back Lewis Cine (16) after a reception during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Jacksonville, Fla., in this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, file photo. Kyle Pitts is arguably the most dynamic playmaker in the NFL draft, a versatile tight end who will try to impress league executives in person during Florida's pro day Wednesday, March 31, 2021.  (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Kyle Pitts is one of the most intriguing talents in this year's draft, to the point that the Atlanta Falcons selected him with the No. 4 overall pick in the first round of Thursday's NFL draft. 

But will all that talent immediately translate to fantasy football success? It's one of the harder questions to answer regarding the upcoming fantasy season. 

On one hand, rookie tight ends are rarely very productive, especially from a fantasy football perspective. No rookie cracked the fantasy football top 25 at the position last year. 

On the other hand, the Florida product legitimately has the skill set of a wide receiver and might be used as one often by the Falcons. If ever there was a rookie tight end to buck the trend of the production struggles at the position, it would be Pitts. 

The NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah ranked the 20-year-old as the No. 2 overall player in this draft class in late March, behind only Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, calling him "a long, lean tight end prospect with excellent speed, ball skills and production."

He noted that Pitts "beat upper-echelon SEC cornerbacks on a weekly basis" and added that he's a "unique talent with the ability to take over a game. He is the definition of a mismatch player."

Charley Casserly @CharleyCasserly

Kyle Pitts TE ⁦@GatorsFB⁩ 6-5 1/2, 245, 4.40 in the 40. Can line up at TE, WR & HBK. One of the best TE’s I ever scouted. I see some similarities to Travis Kelce ⁦@Chiefs⁩ as a player ⁦@NFLDraft⁩ ⁦@nflnetwork⁩ https://t.co/0dhQ4y0WKf

Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report

Kyle Pitts is a generational talent - as in one of the best players we’ve ever seen enter the draft. The “positional value” argument - old school says you can’t draft a TE so high - is irrelevant as a result. The team fortunate enough to select Pitts won’t regret it for a second!

It seems highly likely that the Falcons will line Pitts up all over the place and utilize him as much as a receiver as they do an in-line tight end. He looks like the sort of player who might put up big numbers at the tight end designation for fantasy players. 

Yes, drafting him in the TE1 range is risky. Adjusting to the NFL isn't easy, especially for pass-catchers. But in the middle rounds, Pitts has the opportunity to really pop. History suggests he won't. Sometimes, though, you have to ignore that and roll the dice on a high ceiling. 

Landing in Atlanta is a double-edged sword for his fantasy value, too. One one hand, he'll get a solid veteran quarterback in Matt Ryan who has fed wideouts like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to big fantasy seasons in the past. 

On the other hand, Jones and Ridley will still be the top two options in the passing game. They'll likely eat into his fantasy production, at least somewhat. Hayden Hurst isn't chopped liver at tight end, either.

But the Falcons will find a way to get Pitts involved immediately. He should be a major threat in the red zone. The safe bet is to consider him a high-end TE2, but there's no doubt he has the potential to be a TE1. If he falls in your draft, scoop him up. But don't be surprised if he's overdrafted, as people assume his talent will translate to immediate TE1 production. 

Don't make that assumption. Play it safe when it comes to Pitts.