Point/Counterpoint: Is TE Kyle Pitts Worth his ADP on Underdog?
By Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup:
Every offseason and all summer long, fantasy football analysts debate about different players, teams, schemes and everything in between. What we’ve noticed as we approach the end of the offseason is you can find data and stats to support just about any argument for or against a player.
That’s fine, and it is good to have debates on players to hear both sides. The lesson I have learned is not to blindly follow one side of a stance on any player. For fantasy purposes, it is best to read about both sides of the argument and decide which side, data, and analysis YOU agree with. From there, you can use that decision to help you in drafts, best ball drafts, daily fantasy, and sports bets.
That’s why we will be doing a series of Point/Counterpoint, in an effort to show both sides of an argument “for” and “against” a player. It also helps that the Point/Counterpoint is a back and forth between us as siblings. We are used to many debates, especially about fantasy football! Today we are debating TE Kyle Pitts ADP on Underdog Fantasy.
There is no denying the immense talent and upside that TE Kyle Pitts has. But I’m having trouble taking him at his current ADP of 30.2 on Underdog Fantasy. Especially because I love so many of those 3rd round wide receivers.
I know you have a high exposure percentage to Pitts in best ball. Do you really think he’s worth his ADP?
Pitts is an interesting debate, because as you said he’s going in a range with a number of top end players. Right now he is sandwiched between WR 13 and 14 (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams) and just ahead of QB1 Josh Allen and RB 15 and 16, James Conner and Travis Etienne. This is an area where you don’t want to make a mistake, as the opportunity cost can be serious.
For me taking Pitts is well worth the value here despite the number of quality players you can choose from. Even if you just evaluate him as just a receiver, he had an impressive 110 targets, 68 catches, and 1,026 yards as a rookie. Among the impressive rookie WR class, only Chase had more yardage, and only Chase and Waddle had more catches. And among all players with 100 or more targets, Pitts’ 15.1 yards per catch tied Mike Williams for 4th in the league. The only thing that really was a knock on Pitts as a rookie was his singular TD, but that is a clear anomaly given his usage and size profile.
You hit on my biggest concern…this is an area you don’t want to make a mistake. And personally, I love so many players at their ADPs in that range. My reasons for spending on QB Josh Allen are obvious. And perhaps I am getting too enamored with potential breakouts with wide receivers in that range.
I am not concerned about Pitts only having 1 TD last year. Based on the number of targets last year and the number of targets projected this year, I feel very confident there will be strong positive TD regression.
My hesitation is that I feel the other players in that range will outscore him. So even if you bump up Pitts’ projected TDs to 6 or 7, and increase his projected catches and yards by 10-15%, where would he have finished with all receivers (tight ends and wide receivers) last year?
If you increase Pitt’s catches and yards by 10% and bump his TD total to 7, he would have had 192 points in .5 PPR fantasy points last year or 11.3 per game. In total fantasy points, that score would have finished as WR 19 last year in between CeeDee Lamb and D.J. Moore. In Points per game, he would have finished as WR 25, and still ahead of players like Marquise Brown, D.J. Moore, and Terry McLaurin.
Among TEs that production would have been 3rd in total points and 5th in points per game. This is where Pitts’s positional value comes into play. Yes, in your scenario he’s producing like a mid-to-lower WR 2 (18-24 range), but you are having to draft him in the high WR 2 range. That seems like a poor bet, but Pitts is giving you that level of production from your TE. That is something that most other players simply won’t be able to match. Even if they take two mid-tier TEs it will be tough to match what Pitts could bring to the table.
It can be tough to pass on a surefire WR option in that early 3rd round, but Pitts does give you a major advantage at TE over most teams. With as deep as WR is and the ability to pair multiple spike weeks with floor players, you can still cobble together a very strong WR group. That is just much harder to do at the TE spot if you miss out on the top guys.
I do agree with you about the importance of locking up a high TE score to gain an edge on most teams. So you make a great point that I need to give more consideration to. Outside of Kelce, I usually wait until the Dalton Schultz range to start investing in tight ends in best ball.
But this is why I usually pick wide receiver in that ADP range. I don’t think Pitts will outscore multiple of those receivers. And I am bullish on wide receivers like DJ Moore and Courtland Sutton to have a huge, breakout season with the quarterback upgrades they are getting. No, it may not be another Cooper Kupp rising to WR1, but I think both Moore and Sutton have the potential to finish in the top 10 for wide receivers. I also love the Chargers receivers attached to QB Justin Herbert. So for me, it feels like it’s more my attachment and bullish stance on these receivers than it is my lack of belief in Kyle Pitts. Because watching him play, I absolutely see the upside.
I do have one other concern. Kyle Pitts plays on a bad Falcons team with potentially one of the weakest quarterbacks in the league. Does that give you pause or concern? I know they will be playing from behind a lot, which will help pass attempts. But what if Marcus Mariota is such a downgrade to Matt Ryan that it affects Pitts’ overall statistics?
I do worry about the level of quarterback play, but I think there is enough to make up for that risk when it comes to Pitts. As mentioned before Pitts didn’t fully produce as he probably should have a year ago. His TD numbers were far too low (even for a poor offense) and he didn’t get featured as much as you’d expect early in the season. So between some potential positive regression coming, and just him being a 2nd-year player ideally improving, his production should be in a strong range.
That is why I highlighted some of his big play ability earlier with his 15.1 yards per catch. That is very impressive for a WR, to say nothing of it being incredible for a TE. Even if poor QB play and a bad offense cap his total targets and scoring opportunities, I feel his big play ability makes up for it. In many ways, he’s a WR in a TE role. Pitts wasn’t just split out in the slot last season, he spent a significant amount of time out wide. That makes it so tough for opposing defenses to match up with him.
I also think as you mentioned this Falcons team will be down a lot, so even with an inefficient offense, the targets will be there. The Falcons don’t have much else in the passing game and both Drake London and Kyle Pitts are likely in the 25% or above target share.
You do raise a good point of the 2v2 of Kyle Pitts and a 5th or 7th round WR vs a Mike Williams/Keenan Allen and a Darren Waller/George Kittle in the 5th or Dalton Schultz in the 7th. I probably would lean in more with the WR in the 3rd and hoping to land one of the TEs later, but it is risky if you miss out on those guys. How about you which 2v2 do you prefer?
You make a lot of great points, especially about his big play ability, positive TD regression, and the value of locking up a high TE score. As far as the 2v2, I would still take Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, DJ Moore and Courtland Sutton and then take a TE in the 5th or 7th as you mentioned.
But this debate helped me see that I want to still diversify my best ball portfolio more and get some more shares of Kyle Pitts. Because let me tell you, I have a lot of TE Travis Kelce when I can draft him. When I can’t draft Kelce, my TE exposure is very high in the Dalton Schultz, Dallas Goedert, and Dawson Knox range. So I think it’s smart to get more exposure to Pitts as well, as long as I’m hitting on my wide receivers a little later.
This was a tame debate for us but still brought up good points on both sides and data to support each argument. So which side do you land on? Do you think TE Kyle Pitts is worth taking in the early 3rd round on Underdog Fantasy?