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How Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. Projects For Dynasty Rookie Drafts

How Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. Projects For Dynasty Rookie Drafts article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Pittman Jr.

Michael Pittman Jr. Dynasty Rookie Analysis

  • Position: WR | School: USC
  • Height: 6’4” | Weight: 223 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.52 seconds
  • 2020 Age: 23 | Class: Senior
  • Recruitment Stars: 4
  • Draft Position: 2.34 (Colts)

Michael Pittman’s Fantasy Fit with Colts

“Pittman”: More like “fit, man” — amirite? Because it’s a good fit … get it? N-E-Wayz …

Pittman will be an immediate starter in Indianapolis and a strong No. 2 option for a team that has craved a complementary receiver to pair with the speedy T.Y. Hilton for years.

And as much as I love Hilton, he turns 31 years old this year and will be a free agent in 2021. This could be his last season with the Colts.

Pittman could the team’s No. 1 receiver as early as next year.

Michael Pittman: Dynasty Analysis

Pittman seems likely to go on Day 2, but entering the draft he has started to get some Round 1 buzz, and it’s not hard see why: He’s a big-and-athletic Power Five receiver with a physical playing style and an NFL bloodline as the son of a long-time professional running back.

That seems like the kind of guy the NFL would want.

A reserve player as a freshman and rotational receiver as a sophomore, Pittman emerged as a junior to lead the Trojans with 758 yards and six touchdowns receiving, and then as a senior he had a full-on breakout with a 101-1,275-11 receiving campaign in 13 games.

Pittman is somewhat limited in that he lined up heavily out wide to the left over the past two years: He’s not a JuJu Smith-Schuster type of receiver who lines up all across the formation. And he’s not the sharpest of route runners.

But there’s a lot to like about Pittman. He’s unbelievably physical at the catch point. He uses his large frame well to box out defenders on contested catches. He naturally high points the ball. He has a huge catch radius. And he has great hands: Throughout his college career, he dropped just five passes on 176 catchable targets (per Pro Football Focus).

And although he’s best on underneath and intermediate routes, he’s an under-appreciated downfield receiver thanks to his ability to win in one-on-one situations.

Pittman has a disappointingly Mike Evans-esque inability to accumulate after-the-catch production: He’s not quite a catch-and-fall specialist, but he doesn’t do much once the ball is in his hands. But he still has the potential to be an elite NFL receiver.

If you peruse the 2020 Sports Info Solutions Football Rookie Handbook — a great resource, by the way — you’ll see that Pittman in 2019 utterly outclassed his peers in his man-on-man dominance of opposing cornerbacks, as evidenced by his positive play rate vs. man coverage.

  • Michael Pittman Jr.: 74%
  • Justin Jefferson: 67%
  • Denzel Mims: 62%
  • Tee Higgins: 62%
  • Laviska Shenault Jr.: 61%
  • Henry Ruggs III: 58%
  • Jerry Jeudy: 48%
  • CeeDee Lamb: 48%
  • Brandon Aiyuk: 41%
  • Jalen Reagor: 32%

With his ability to man up defenders, Pittman has a good chance to be a consistent chain-moving and touchdown-scoring NFL receiver, even if he’s not an explosive yardage accumulator.

He has the upside for multiple 1,000-10 seasons.

NFL Prospect Comp: Marques Colston with major-program pedigree and way more draft capital

More Dynasty Analysis For Freedman’s Top Rookies

  1. RB D’Andre Swift
  2. RB Jonathan Taylor
  3. WR Jerry Jeudy
  4. WR CeeDee Lamb
  5. WR Justin Jefferson

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, part of The Action Network.

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