Rookie React: Kyle Pitts to punish defenses in Falcons debut


Mercifully, the poking, prodding and Wonderlic-ing has ceased. With player destinations finally set, this wannabe soothsayer forges ahead previewing what newly drafted contributors could accomplish in their fresh digs for fantasy/betting audiences. Today’s rookie under the microscope: Kyle Pitts.

Current fantasy ADP: 70.65, TE6 
Current player props: 750.5 receiving yards (-115/-115, PointsBet); to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+1100, DraftKings) 

Kyle Pitts' Fantasy Outlook

Upsides: ‘Generational’ is an overused description when it comes to elite talents but for Pitts, it most certainly applies. Athletically an unnatural freak, he separates with unusual suddenness for a player at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds. His catch radius is also almost mythical. To no one’s surprise, he finished top-five in multiple categories at the position among Division I participants, including total deep catches, deep yards and contested catch rate. His 4.91 yards per route run was nothing short of extraordinary for a tight end. Whether outside or up the seam, he’s sure to gash assignments, especially with a fairly accurate QB in Matt Ryan (QB16 in adjusted completion% in ‘20) tossing him the pill. DBs and LBs attempting to chase him down will need Medina Spirit-level performance enhancement methods (Urine soaked hay?) to hang with him. 

Downsides: With Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones on the roster, the calculus says Pitts’ target share could be capped in the 14-17% range. Of course, any transaction involving Julio would greatly alter the math, but, for now, the greenhorn isn’t a slam dunk to rack oodles of receptions. History is the only other potential deterrent. It’s rare for a first-year tight end to make a cannonball splash. All-time, only eight plus-sized targets surpassed 150 PPR points in their inaugural campaigns. Still, he could match or exceed what Evan Engram accomplished out of the gate in 2017 (64-722-6), the fourth-greatest rookie TE season in fantasy football history. 

Fearless forecast: 62 receptions, 716 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns 

Kyle Pitts is a rare talent who could fly in 2021

Final word: Pitts is sure to buck the “never draft a rookie tight end” axiom. He’s a rare mixture, a player with a complete composition. Knowing defenses will have to account for Ridley and Jones, he’s sure to benefit from one-on-one situations. If you pass on the big boys at the position (e.g. Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Darren Waller), Pitts is the ultimate consolation prize. Expect the Falcon to fly high this fall.

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