Before we start talking about this week's Dynasty Football Debate about Michael Pittman Jr., I want to say something.
The last few weeks I have written about players I think are currently being overvalued in Rachaad White and Puka Nacua. They very quickly made me eat my words after putting up incredible Week 2 performances, but I will stand by my convictions. You have to be willing to be bold and make some tough decisions in fantasy, and we will see how those takes play out in the long term (doesn't look good for me right now).
Today is a new day though, and I have learned something from my last two articles...it's much easier to write about players in a positive light. So that brings me to this, Michael Pittman Jr. is not being talked about enough. I was too low on him going into this season, and you probably were too.
In my first article of the 2023 NFL season I broke down Anthony Richardson and why I believe in him having the potential to not only be a great long-term dynasty quarterback, but why I think there is a very real chance he could finish as a top 12 QB in his rookie season. Most of that opinion was tied to his raw athleticism, but I do think he has what it takes to become a capable passer in the NFL and although it's early into the 2023 NFL season Michael Pittman Jr. has proven to be more than capable of drawing his new rookie QB's (and Minshew's) attention so far.
Dynasty Football Debate: Michael Pittman Jr.
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The Early-Season Surge
I think we may have misjudged just how bad the Colts were offensively in 2021 and 2022. With the likes of Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Same Ehlinger, and Nick Foles throwing to him Michael Pittman Jr. was still able to draw impressive target share numbers and produce at a pretty high level.
Pittman Jr.'s 2023 campaign has started with a bang. Despite initial concerns about the Colts' offensive struggles, Pittman has shone brightly in the early weeks of the season. In the first two games, he showcased his reliability, drawing eight receptions on 11 targets with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson under center in game one, and another eight receptions on 12 targets in game two, where he played most of the match with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew. These impressive stats translate into a whopping 32.9% target share so far.
A Value Dip in 2023
Interestingly, Michael Pittman Jr.'s Fantasy Football value experienced a dip in 2023. Many expected the Colts to struggle offensively, and this perception influenced Pittman's Average Draft Position (ADP).
However, it's become evident that, even in a challenging offensive environment, Pittman's talents are translating into fantasy points. His ability to maintain such a high target share through the early season indicates his significance within the Colts' offensive scheme.
A Consistent Performer
Pittman's rise in value is not a sudden development but rather a continuation of his consistent production. In the 2021 and 2022 seasons, he boasted around a 25% target share despite less-than-ideal quarterback play and questionable offensive direction. This consistency was already a testament to his skills as a receiver and his capacity to perform, even in adverse circumstances.
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The Anthony Richardson Factor
One significant factor contributing to Michael Pittman Jr.'s ascent in dynasty fantasy football is the emergence of rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson.
As discussed in a previous article, Richardson is a young talent with a high ceiling. While he may face growing pains as a rookie, his potential to develop into a top-tier quarterback is undeniable. Pittman's early-season success with Richardson at the helm underscores the chemistry they're building and the potential for sustained success.
The Shane Steichen Effect
Another crucial element in the equation is the offensive-minded brilliance of Colts' head coach Shane Steichen. Steichen's coaching philosophy emphasizes utilizing his players' strengths, and he's been known to craft creative and effective offensive schemes.
As Richardson continues to grow, Steichen's influence could unlock even more opportunities for Pittman within the offense. The combination of Richardson's talent and Steichen's strategic acumen bodes well for Pittman's future prospects.
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The Rising Value of Michael Pittman Jr.
As the season progresses, there's ample reason to believe that Michael Pittman Jr.'s value in the dynasty fantasy football community will continue to rise. Here are some key factors supporting this argument:
- Target Share: Pittman's early-season target share of 32.9% is a clear indicator of his status as the go-to WR1 for the Colts. As Richardson gains experience, this share could potentially increase, leading to even more fantasy points.
- Consistency: Pittman's consistent production over the past two seasons, despite challenging circumstances, underscores his reliability as a fantasy asset. As the Colts' offense improves, he becomes an even more attractive dynasty option.
- Quarterback Development: Anthony Richardson's growth as a quarterback is an exciting prospect. If he fulfills his potential, Pittman stands to benefit from a young signal-caller with a bright future.
- Coaching Brilliance: Shane Steichen's offensive prowess has the potential to elevate the Colts' offense to new heights. His ability to create favorable matchups could result in increased production for Pittman.
- Opportunity: With Pittman's ADP dipping in 2023, savvy dynasty managers have an opportunity to acquire a player with WR1 potential at a value that may not last long. Trading for him now could pay dividends in the future.
Michael Pittman Jr.'s rise to prominence in dynasty fantasy football is no accident. His consistent performance, combined with the emergence of Anthony Richardson and the coaching brilliance of Shane Steichen, positions him as a valuable trade target in the community. While his value may have dipped heading into the 2023 season, the potential for substantial growth is evident.
Dynasty managers should consider making a move for Pittman before his value skyrockets. He has all the tools to become a premier wide receiver in the NFL, and the pieces are falling into place for him to achieve just that. In a landscape where securing top talent is paramount, Michael Pittman Jr. should be on every dynasty manager's radar as a player poised for a major increase in value. Don't wait; the time to invest in his bright future is now.
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