The Atlanta Falcons will be without one of their biggest weapons on Sunday, wide receiver Calvin Ridley, when they face the New York Jets across the pond in London. NFL fans, and those with their eyes on fantasy football, think it means one thing: time for Kyle Pitts to break out.
The Falcons have very high hopes for the uber-athletic tight end out of Florida. He has the size to be an incredible weapon at the position, but the speed and leaping ability to compete as a top-flight wide receiver. So far, we’re still waiting to see that flash that many expect.
On the year, he has 15 receptions on 26 targets, for a total of 189 yards. He’s yet to reach the end zone.
With Julio Jones’ offseason departure, and Ridley’s absence on Sunday, the offense will be wide open for Pitts. Russell Gage, an experienced wide receiver for Atlanta, is also out. Running backs Cordarrelle Patterson and Mike Davis are second and third on the team in receptions, followed by Pitts, Hayden Hurst, and Olamide Zaccheaus. It’s not exactly an incredible crew, so the time is here for Pitts to prove that Atlanta didn’t make a huge reach in selecting him at No. 4.
If Kyle Pitts doesn’t go off this week, he ain’t ever going off.
— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) October 7, 2021
Happy Kyle Pitts week ‼️ pic.twitter.com/aqne8PYTiS
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 7, 2021
Fantasy managers looking at Kyle Pitts now like pic.twitter.com/iPlxyftH5v
— Yahoo Fantasy Sports (@YahooFantasy) October 7, 2021
Falcons TE Kyle Pitts looking at the Jets coverages coming his way Sunday with Ridley and Gage out pic.twitter.com/SrnxnhcDqh
— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) October 7, 2021
Looking at only opposing tight ends, the New York Jets haven’t been the easiest defense to face. The group of Ian Thomas, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Noah Fant, MyCole Pruitt, and Anthony Firkser have combined for 13 receptions for 139 yards and a two-point conversion over four games.
Yahoo Sports credits the Jets defense with the eighth fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends in standard scoring leagues.
Of course, if Pitts it the No. 1 option on the outside Sunday, he could more closely resemble a wide receiver, so this may not mean much. One week shouldn’t define a rookie’s season, but with that London game in a standalone time slot, plenty of attention will be paid to what Kyle Pitts does out there.
Sports Illustrated ranks Pitts as the No. 5 tight end this week, even ahead of guys like George Kittle and Dalton Schultz, given the circumstances.