The Indianapolis Colts should be as close to a balanced offense as they’ve been since 2018. The previous three seasons have seen them in the cellar of pass percentage, but that should be due for an improvement with the offseason acquisition of Matt Ryan. Regardless of Carson Wentz’s atrocious play last season, Pittman experienced a breakout season, more than doubling his production in receptions, targets, yards and touchdowns.
If playing season-long Best Ball on a site like Underdog, the goal is to find players due for an expanded role who are attached to high-powered offenses. Pittman fits this category. Underdog is giving users a $100 deposit match bonus, which includes Stokastic’s season-long Best Ball package for the offseason. Just click HERE.
2022 Fantasy Football Advice: Michael Pittman Jr.
Pittman Last Year (and Previous Year Production)
After running the third-most routes per dropback (98.1%) and seeing the eighth-highest target share (25.7%) in the league, Pittman enters this season as the unquestioned WR1 for Indianapolis. He doubled all his receiving production and finished as WR15 (half PPR) in his second season despite dealing with a quarterback change and the Colts ranking 28th in pass rate (52.6%).
Analysis of Pittman’s Opportunity and Efficiency
Evaluating the first two seasons of Pittman’s career presents the argument that the Colts’ pass rate is due for an increase. With Philip Rivers at the helm in 2020, they ranked 25th in pass rate (55.9) and attempted nearly five more passes per game. Additionally, a Ryan-led offense hasn’t averaged less than a 60% pass rate since 2017. Along with an expected boost to the pass rate, the Colts pass game will be revitalized by significantly better quarterback play. Wentz ranked 29th in accuracy rating (7.2) and 32nd in catchable pass rate (73.6%), while Ryan ranked eighth (7.8) and 14th (78.0%), respectively, per Player Profiler efficiency rankings. This should help Pittman improve his catchable target rate (76.7%), which ranked 44th in the NFL for wide receivers.
Indianapolis Colts Offense Overview
Since Andrew Luck’s retirement, the Colts have welcomed a new quarterback for four consecutive seasons. Ryan is this year’s lucky captain of a talented offensive unit. He brings an added element of experience, combined with the ability to sling the football around the field. Indianapolis was dreadful last season at passing the football, ranking 26th in yards per game (197.7) and 28th in pass rate (52.6%).
Pittman is projected to be the main beneficiary of Ryan’s arrival and has already begun gloating: “The ball is just right there, and you just turn and catch the ball. I mean, it just makes it easy,” he told reporters at OTAs. “Matt can pretty much put it wherever he wants.”
Pittman’s 2022 Opportunity/Range of Outcomes
While recent camp talks have been hyping Parris Campbell, it should come with some reservations, as he has missed 34 games over the last three seasons. Furthermore, Campbell’s emergence would truly enable Pittman to have more success in the middle of the field and over the top given Campbell’s ability to operate underneath from the slot. After finishing as WR15 last year, expect Pittman’s range of outcomes to fall between WR25, with the potential to finish within the top 10 at his position. He’s a legitimate deep threat as well as a red zone target who has the ability to break 100 receptions this season. If Ryan can help improve his touchdown mark, Pittman could end up being a major steal at the position.
2022 Best Ball Rankings and Projections
At the end of the day, Pittman is a high-risk, high-reward player going in the single-digit rounds of drafts. While he is currently being drafted slightly higher in Best Ball than Stokastic experts prefer, that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a steal if he were to drop in drafts. His hype, given the quarterback improvement, is valid. Ryan is still a premier passer despite the Falcons’ struggles during his tenure, evidenced by his ability to produce a top-10 wide receiver in six of his last eight seasons. Calvin Ridley secured WR4 in 2020, while Julio Jones locked up five straight seasons of top-10 performance from 2014 to 2018. A quarterback change led to a massive breakout for last season’s WR1, (Cooper Kupp), and this has the potential to be just as impactful.
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