Dennis Pitta NFL Stats
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Dennis Pitta NFL Game Log
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(Compared to other TEs)
Free Agent Team Injury Report
Given that Pitta led all tight ends in receptions last year, what’s he doing buried in our rankings? There are two primary reasons. We have to dock Pitta for a lack of touchdowns — he only spiked twice on his 86 grabs — and we have to note that he managed just seven games in the three previous seasons. All the missed time was caused by a pair of major injuries to his right hip, with the second nearly forcing him into retirement. Pitta once again injured his right hip during a practice in early June, and while the Ravens avoided jumping to any conclusions, it's possible the latest incident could bring an early end to his career. And even if the injury is less serious than it initially seemed, Pitta's touchdown-allergic resume limits his upside in the fantasy realm.
After dislocating his right hip in both 2013 and 2014, Pitta sat out all of 2015 while admitting he might have to retire. He’s now attempting a comeback and even participated in OTAs, but the Ravens have loaded up at tight end over the last few years, knowing they couldn't count on Pitta to be available or productive. Even if he successfully returns, Pitta will likely just have a part-time role on passing downs, as Ben Watson is expected to earn the starting job.
Pitta has played just seven games over the last two seasons, due to a pair of dislocations in his right hip. The injuries are considered career-threatening, and Baltimore's decision to select Maxx Williams in the second round doesn't bode well for Pitta's future. Even if he does return, Pitta will be at increased risk for suffering a third hip injury, and he now faces serious competition at his position. On the other hand, he was arguably Joe Flacco's favorite target before the injuries derailed his career.
Pitta missed the first 12 games last season recovering from a fractured and dislocated hip. It took him no time to get re-acclimated when he returned, as he saw 33 targets in his four games. Pitta was used more as a wide receiver than a tight end, lining up in the slot a league-leading 74 percent of his snaps. He'll likely see a lot of time in the slot again this season under new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who loves to use tight ends in the passing game. Owen Daniels followed Kubiak from Houston to Baltimore, which makes it unlikely that Pitta will match his career-high 94 targets from 2012, but both tight ends are expected to play a lot together in two-TE sets. Pitta is a skilled route runner who has the speed to get by linebackers. And at 6-4, he can do some damage at the goal line. The Ravens also drafted Crockett Gillmore in the third round this year, but he is expected to be used as a blocking tight end.
After sharing tight-end targets with Ed Dickson in 2011, Pitta exerted his superiority over his position-mate last season with 94 targets to Dickson's 33 and posted career highs across the board. And those numbers came in essentially 14 games – Pitta suffered a concusion after one snap in Week 11 and played only 11 snaps in a meaningless Week 17.
Pitta's developed a nice on-field rapport with Joe Flacco, his off-field friend and road-trip roommate. Pitta was especially effective running the post in the red zone and finished with seven regular-season touchdowns, before adding three more in the playoffs.
Pitta's biggest strength might be his route-running, which makes it difficult for bigger defenders to stay with him in coverage. This season, Baltimore will be without the services of Anquan Boldin and his 112 targets, meaning Pitta could play an even larger role in the passing attack, particularly in the red zone. Pitta had only 13 red-zone targets a year ago, but could see some of Bolden’s nine directed his way in 2013.
Pitta worked his way into a bigger role in the offense as last season progressed, getting five of his six red-zone targets and all three of his touchdowns in the final nine games. He also added a touchdown in the playoffs. Other than Ed Dickson’s 14-target performance Week 10 in Seattle, Pitta received a similar number of targets and receiving yards in the second half of the season. An injury to one would greatly increase the value of the other, but for now it appears they’ll share targets, making neither a particularly attractive fantasy play.
With Todd Heap gone, Pitta should see the field more often. Still, coaches regard Ed Dickson as a much higher upside tight end prospect. If Pitta sees regular playing time, it will likely be in a platoon.
Pitta and Ed Dickson were both drafted as great pass-catching tight ends to compete with Todd Heap. Neither is expected to take over a starting spot just yet, though coaches are very high on their abilities. Pitta doesn't have the athleticism of Dickson, but is currently the better blocker which could allow him to see the field quicker.