Tight End is a fantasy football position that has exploded in production over the past several seasons, but the depth at the position is still lacking. There are a select few ultra-elite options, but once those are off the board early in the draft sometimes it’s best to wait and grab a sleeper who has the potential to break out. One of the options that I like the most in that second group of starting TE’s is Baltimore Ravens’ starter Dennis Pitta.
Pitta has made it safely through this preseason which is an improvement over last year when he dislocated and fractured his hip on the third day of Ravens camp on July 27 in a collision with Ravens safety James Ihedigbo. Pitta required surgery on his hip injury and was initially thought to be out for the season. He was placed on IR-designated to return and slowly worked his way back returning for the final four weeks of the season. In those four games, Pitta lacked some of his previous explosion and power but still managed to haul in 20 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown.
Before his injury, Pitta had grown into a go-to role over the middle and in the red zone for Joe Flacco on the Ravens run to their 2012 championship. He was a reliable starting tight end in almost all fantasy football formats and was growing into a fringe elite option, a level which I think he can return to this season if he is fully recovered as all reports out of Ravens’ camp indicate.
Another reason why I think Dennis Pitta is a great sleeper if you can get him later in your draft is that the Ravens have a new look on offense under Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak. While Kubiak struggled last season in Houston, one consistent of his attack was the invovlment of the tight end. Whether it was Owen Daniels or Garrett Graham, the tight end was a top target especially around the goal line.
Pitta should step into that role nicely in the Ravens offense as they look to move him into space. Pitta could easily be the first or second most targeted receiver in the Ravens’ attack with Torrey Smith getting plenty of looks as well. The competition for looks at tight end could have come from Owen Daniels who followed Kubiak to town from Houston, but Daniels has had a rough preseason and doesn’t appear to be healthy enough to cut into Pitta’s workload.
In PPR leagues, I think Pitta will be a top four tight end which makes him an ultimate value with his average draft position in the eighth or ninth round. He stands to see a huge gain in his workload this season and should be a nice fantasy option as a result.