Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Can Dennis Pitta be an elite TE?

Dennis Pitta re-signs with Baltimore. What does it mean?

Dennis Pitta recently re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens to the tune of a 5 year/ $32 million deal. This is obviously good news for the Ravens, as the only solid weapon they had last year receiving wise was Torrey Smith. So now the question stands, what does it mean for fantasy purposes?
First off, I love what it does for Torrey Smith and his fantasy value. As stated above, Smith was the only decent WR for Baltimore and therefor saw a lot of double teams. He still performed as a WR2 (finishing the season as the WR19 in standard leagues). With Pitta now healthy and signed, Smith will see less double teams. Pitta has a lot of athleticism and is a great route runner. He will keep defenses honest in that regard.
Next, Pitta looked pretty good down the stretch when he was able to return from a hip injury that sidelined him for most of last season. He has the ability to perform immediately. In 2012 Pitta posted 669 yards receiving and 7 TDs. These are easily starting TE numbers. Also, these were before Torrey Smith really broke out and before they signed Gary Kubiak to the coaching staff. Which leads me to my final, and maybe most important, point...
Gary Kubiak is the new Offensive Coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens after being fired as head coach of the Houston Texans. As HC of the Texans, Kubiak installed a system that relied heavily on the TE position. A majority of the passes by Matt Schaub in Houston were to the TE. This bodes very well for Pitta. So Kubiak will look towards Pitta often in Baltimore, which can only help his value.
Pitta is one of those TEs that has a lot of upside. He will fall somewhere from 5-7 in most TE rankings. Feel free to draft Pitta with confidence.

2014 Projection: 65 receptions, 743 yards receiving, 8 TDs

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