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When should you draft Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts in redraft fantasy football?

Flowery Branch, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) shown on the field during rookie camp at the Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Pitts is taking fantasy football drafts by storm. The generational rookie tight end has skyrocketed up the best ball draft board with a new average draft position (ADP) on Underdog Fantasy as the TE4 (50th overall) since the aftermath of the Julio Jones trade.

Pitts has the chance to not only buck the trend of rookie tight ends failing to produce in Year 1, but also to be an immediate game-changer for fantasy teams due to the skill set he provides at a desolate position.

His upside is tantalizing, but has the price of acquisition become so inflated that he’s not worth targeting with a Round 4 or 5 selection? After all, fantasy football isn’t about hating players; it’s about hating the prices associated with them.

Let’s dive in.


The tight end position is one of the most difficult when it comes to transitioning from college football to the NFL. Not only do tight ends need to learn complex route schemes, but they are often asked to understand blocking in both the run and passing games. With all of that mixed together, it’s extremely rare for a rookie tight end to break out.

Based on data provided by Reddit user Oliver_babish, no rookie tight end has exceeded more than 173.6 PPR fantasy points or 11.6 fantasy points per game (Evan Engram, 2017) since 2000.

Rank Player Year PPR
1 Evan Engram 2017 173.6
2 Jeremy Shockey 2002 171.4
3 Rob Gronkowski 2010 154.6
4 John Carlson 2008 147.7
5 Aaron Hernandez 2010 142
6 Hunter Henry 2016 129.8
7 Jermaine Gresham 2010 123.1
8 Heath Miller 2005 120.9
9 Tony Moeaki 2010 120.6
10 Dustin Keller 2008 119.5

For a player to finish as a top-50 non-quarterback (Pitts’ current ADP), he’s needed to accumulate at least 190 fantasy points based on the past two seasons.

There’s overwhelming evidence that suggests betting on a rookie tight end returning a top-50 ADP is a poor proposition, but the main counterargument is that Pitts is simply a different specimen. It’s not fair to compare a 6-foot-6 (85th percentile) unicorn with 4.44-second 40-yard dash wheels (99th percentile) to other rookie tight ends.

And when the parameters change to include rookie wide receivers who finished second on their team in target share Pitts should rank second in targets behind Calvin Ridley the results are much more encouraging.

Since 2015, 11 different rookie wide receivers (approximately two per season) have scored at least 180 fantasy points in their first years while not commanding the majority of targets in their team's offense.


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