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Michael Pittman Jr. breakout year?


Bolt Colt
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Michael Pittman Jr.

In his second NFL season, Michael Pittman Jr. was the clear favorite target for quarterback Carson Wentz with 88 receptions for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns. The Indianapolis Colts have brought in Matt Ryan, a former MVP and second in the league in passing yards since 2017.

With one of the best running games in the league, Ryan should see an improvement in the play-action passing game. If Paris Campbell can stay healthy or the Colts bring in a solid receiver through free agency, look for Michael Pittman Jr. to have a huge breakout year.

 

Pittman got the true WR1 treatment from the Colts coaching staff in 2021, running a route on 96% of offensive dropbacks – third to only Cooper Kupp

 (WR1) and Ja’Marr Chase (WR4) through 17 weeks. He also finished the season tied for the league’s eighth-highest target share (24%), which was 11 percentage points higher than the next closest Colt, Zach Pascal, at 13%.

He also made 18 highlight-reel contested catches – fourth most in the NFL. And his 31% target share from Weeks 13-18 cemented his place in Indy’s WR1 chair heading into 2022.

With Matt Ryan

 under center Pittman has the volume potential to be a top-12 fantasy option. Ryan has a history of fueling top-end fantasy WRs like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, making a top-five finish not all that crazy for Big Mike in 2022.

Don’t forget that last season, Ridley as the Falcons’ No. 1 receiver owned the sixth-highest target rate per route run and ranked second among all wide receivers in expected fantasy points per game (16.5).

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On 6/30/2022 at 11:16 AM, Bolt Colt said:

Michael Pittman Jr.

In his second NFL season, Michael Pittman Jr. was the clear favorite target for quarterback Carson Wentz with 88 receptions for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns. The Indianapolis Colts have brought in Matt Ryan, a former MVP and second in the league in passing yards since 2017.

With one of the best running games in the league, Ryan should see an improvement in the play-action passing game. If Paris Campbell can stay healthy or the Colts bring in a solid receiver through free agency, look for Michael Pittman Jr. to have a huge breakout year.

 

Pittman got the true WR1 treatment from the Colts coaching staff in 2021, running a route on 96% of offensive dropbacks – third to only Cooper Kupp

 (WR1) and Ja’Marr Chase (WR4) through 17 weeks. He also finished the season tied for the league’s eighth-highest target share (24%), which was 11 percentage points higher than the next closest Colt, Zach Pascal, at 13%.

He also made 18 highlight-reel contested catches – fourth most in the NFL. And his 31% target share from Weeks 13-18 cemented his place in Indy’s WR1 chair heading into 2022.

With Matt Ryan

 under center Pittman has the volume potential to be a top-12 fantasy option. Ryan has a history of fueling top-end fantasy WRs like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, making a top-five finish not all that crazy for Big Mike in 2022.

Don’t forget that last season, Ridley as the Falcons’ No. 1 receiver owned the sixth-highest target rate per route run and ranked second among all wide receivers in expected fantasy points per game (16.5).

One could argue that last year was his breakout year. He went over 1000 receiving yards and had 6 touchdowns.

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I think he will continue to get better with experience. However if fans r eating for him to be that #1 receiver that D coordinators game plan for, u will be disappointed. He has the talent to become a very good #2. Now hopefully Cambpell and Pierce can also develop  as very good #2's. I don't thinkk we need a true#1 as long as we have talent and depth.

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16 hours ago, Moosejawcolt said:

I think he will continue to get better with experience. However if fans r eating for him to be that #1 receiver that D coordinators game plan for, u will be disappointed. He has the talent to become a very good #2. Now hopefully Cambpell and Pierce can also develop  as very good #2's. I don't thinkk we need a true#1 as long as we have talent and depth.

Did coaches game plan for Larry Fitzgerald?

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Pittman has already proven his worth. 1000 yards in your rook season seals that deal. 

And IMO, he really wasn't used in ways that could highlight some of his traits. 

 

There are three things that could impact his stats this year.

  1. Parris staying healthy, or another guy like Alec emerging might cut down on his targets. That would be a good thing for the team, but bad for Michael's stats. 
  2. Michael could be used more in the slot, which would likely help out his YAC. He played inside and outside in college, and had very high value on the inside/seam. That could drive his numbers, or at least his AVG ypc up.
  3. If we're more wide open (more passing in general, and more deep passing), that helps every pass catcher in the rotation.

 

IMO, best case scenario for the team is a more wide open offense, more balanced across pass catchers, and more use of Pittman on the inside and deep. That could lead Pittman to have a better year than last, but less total yards. 

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7 minutes ago, EastStreet said:

 

Pittman has already proven his worth. 1000 yards in your rook season seals that deal. 

And IMO, he really wasn't used in ways that could highlight some of his traits. 

 

 

 

 

Last year was not his rookie year. 

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1 minute ago, AustinnKaine said:

 

 

Last year was not his rookie year. 

sorry, meant soph. 

but he did have 500+ in his rook season, only starting half the season... 

So 500+ in 8 games.

1000+ in 17

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1 hour ago, Moosejawcolt said:

Pittman ain't no Fitzgerald.

Explain?   What did Fitz do in his first 2 years that really sets him so far apart from Pittman?    What is your definition of a number 1 WR?  

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3 hours ago, FuedinHatfield said:

Pittman crossing routes with Ryan are going to be insane. Makes a world of difference when a QB can throw you open.

 

Makes a world of difference also when the play caller actually calls for Pittman to run a crosser route..

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10 hours ago, EastStreet said:

 

Makes a world of difference also when the play caller actually calls for Pittman to run a crosser route..

I'm not a fan of Reich's playcalling at times but I think that was more about knowing you have a QB who has subpar accuracy and reads defenses at a Pop Warner level. The timing of those mid to deep crosses require way more accuracy and timing than I believe Wentz has. We've been hearing this from Reich and "also hilariously" from Pittman himself from camp this year about Matt Ryan and his accuracy. I think that why it's talked about so much.

 

This is by far the best our QB situation has looked since 12 retired and I really think we'll see Reich open up the playbook a bit more and be a little more creative than the past two seasons. He doesn't have to babysit the QB position this year and keep Ryan from being his own worst enemy.

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21 minutes ago, FuedinHatfield said:

I'm not a fan of Reich's playcalling at times but I think that was more about knowing you have a QB who has subpar accuracy and reads defenses at a Pop Warner level. The timing of those mid to deep crosses require way more accuracy and timing than I believe Wentz has. We've been hearing this from Reich and "also hilariously" from Pittman himself from camp this year about Matt Ryan and his accuracy. I think that why it's talked about so much.

 

This is by far the best our QB situation has looked since 12 retired and I really think we'll see Reich open up the playbook a bit more and be a little more creative than the past two seasons. He doesn't have to babysit the QB position this year and keep Ryan from being his own worst enemy.

 

Nah, Reich hasn't been big on seam or crossers much through the last 3 QBs. Rivers was good throwing to the seam (above average passer rating) at the 1st and 2nd levels, just not a ton of seam routes or early seam calls/targets. He was actually better throwing to the seam than wide left, where Frank liked to go (wide L and R). And Wentz's passer rating on the 2nd level was best in the seam, as was his 3rd level seam. 

 

To add, Pittman's slot % dropped substantially last season from 2020. Only 12%. In college he was used all over.  

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On 7/3/2022 at 3:27 PM, jvan1973 said:

Explain?   What did Fitz do in his first 2 years that really sets him so far apart from Pittman?    What is your definition of a number 1 WR?  

Larry was the 3rd overall pick in the draft. He was drafted with the potential to possibly one day be a hall of fame, which he is. Pittman was drafted in the 2nd round. If he becomes a true #1 receiver...great. However, based on his skill set, I never tought he would become a true #1 receiver. 

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On 7/3/2022 at 9:37 AM, jvan1973 said:

Did coaches game plan for Larry Fitzgerald?

He will go down as one of the elites. By the end of this season, I am not sure Pittman will be considered the best wr on this  team if Pearce and Campbell can play to their potential.

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On 7/5/2022 at 5:44 PM, Moosejawcolt said:

Larry was the 3rd overall pick in the draft. He was drafted with the potential to possibly one day be a hall of fame, which he is. Pittman was drafted in the 2nd round. If he becomes a true #1 receiver...great. However, based on his skill set, I never tought he would become a true #1 receiver. 

Pittman is bigger stronger and faster than Fitz.  What makes Fitz a number 1?   

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On 7/5/2022 at 5:51 PM, Moosejawcolt said:

He will go down as one of the elites. By the end of this season, I am not sure Pittman will be considered the best wr on this  team if Pearce and Campbell can play to their potential.

You're talent evaluations has me thinking Pittman is headed to the Hall of Fame

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44 minutes ago, jvan1973 said:

You're talent evaluations has me thinking Pittman is headed to the Hall of Fame

 

LOL. But honestly, if you look at draft evals across the board, Parris was considered the best prospect. 

But all were considered/projected 2nd rounders by most big boards. 

Of course AP has a lot to learn, and of course PC has to stay healthy, something he's failed to do every year.

 

And personally I loved the Pittman pick. I was hoping for Claypool, but I was more than fine with MPJ. 

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2 hours ago, jvan1973 said:

Pittman is bigger stronger and faster than Fitz.  What makes Fitz a number 1?   

Elite route running.  Jvan. Fitz had 2200 yds and 18 tds his first 2 seasons.

 

pittman had 1600 an7.  These numbers aren’t close.

 

fitz is an all timer.  Pitts a nice player.

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2 hours ago, jvan1973 said:

Pittman is bigger stronger and faster than Fitz.  What makes Fitz a number 1?   

 

Fitz was faster.

4.4s while Pitt is low 4.5s. 

 

10 minutes ago, Nickster said:

Elite route running.  Jvan. Fitz had 2200 yds and 18 tds his first 2 seasons.

 

pittman had 1600 an7.  These numbers aren’t close.

 

fitz is an all timer.  Pitts a nice player.

 

To be fair, I wouldn't say Fitz was an elite route runner in his early years.

 

Also, need to look at how they were used. In short, very different. 

Fitz was running a lot of 9s (most simple route), and a lot of seam crossers.

Pitt was used a lot more as a possession X and his seam routes have been limited.  

When Pitt did get the opportunity to go deep, or run crossers, he was lights out. 

 

But I agree, Pitt has a long way to go to approach Fitz from a career standpoint. 

Fitz was a monster and had Bouldin on the other side. Quite a tandem for several years. 

That helped both as you had to pick one to double. 

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8 hours ago, EastStreet said:

 

Fitz was faster.

4.4s while Pitt is low 4.5s. 

 

 

To be fair, I wouldn't say Fitz was an elite route runner in his early years.

 

Also, need to look at how they were used. In short, very different. 

Fitz was running a lot of 9s (most simple route), and a lot of seam crossers.

Pitt was used a lot more as a possession X and his seam routes have been limited.  

When Pitt did get the opportunity to go deep, or run crossers, he was lights out. 

 

But I agree, Pitt has a long way to go to approach Fitz from a career standpoint. 

Fitz was a monster and had Bouldin on the other side. Quite a tandem for several years. 

That helped both as you had to pick one to double. 

Yeah I read and saw that it took him a couple years.  But he immediately came on with the ability to catch balls that only a couple guys could in history.  They just threw a lot of stuff in the air for Larry to get.

 

I know you show Pitt had a high contested catch rate but to me he’s obviously too stiff to approach the greats in this category.  Fitz was great at catching balls behind him over his head you name it.  He had body control like Michael Jordan or other elite basketball guys.  I don’t see that as possible from Pittman.  He’s just not loose enough for that IMo.  He reminds me of a very good DE that isn’t elite as a pass rusher because he’s the proverbial, stiff in the hips and lacks bend.

 

to me he’s going to continue to be a very good player, very consistent, very reliable, but I just don’t see him being a game dominator at least until the Colts get or develop an elite pass catcher to go with him.  They’ve drafted some great bodies at pass catcher this year.  Maybe PC will stay healthy and contribute, but I’m not looking at our guys and feeling very confident at least in the short term.

 

with Taylor’s threat, I expect the Colts to see 2 shell almost exclusively.  At least that is what Id do.  He makes safeties look silly in one on one situs at the 2nd and third levels.  Teams need their DBs with their eyes in the backfield IMo.  I would be worried about play7ng too much man with my back turned to Taylor.

 

So I think that their is the possibility that MPJ makes a ton of catches this year underneath the C2 in the soft spots.  But I don’t think his ypc will improve because teams will have 2 safeties out there.  
 

to me the Colts look like they are trying to build the passing offense similar too the Cards in Fitz early years.  Big bodied pass catchers.  
 

i hope we get under center a lot this year.  RPO is fine, but I’d like to see that under center PA with Taylor.  Neither PR or CW were PA ball handlers but Ryan is very good at it.  I think Pittman will be really good in front of the safeties with an occasional deep ball, but I think (and I think Colts nmanagemt does too with Campbell and now Pearce) that we need someone other than MPJ to be the Marvin Harrison type of guy getting past the secondary on the PA.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Nickster said:

Yeah I read and saw that it took him a couple years.  But he immediately came on with the ability to catch balls that only a couple guys could in history.  They just threw a lot of stuff in the air for Larry to get.

 

I know you show Pitt had a high contested catch rate but to me he’s obviously too stiff to approach the greats in this category.  Fitz was great at catching balls behind him over his head you name it.  He had body control like Michael Jordan or other elite basketball guys.  I don’t see that as possible from Pittman.  He’s just not loose enough for that IMo.  He reminds me of a very good DE that isn’t elite as a pass rusher because he’s the proverbial, stiff in the hips and lacks bend.

 

to me he’s going to continue to be a very good player, very consistent, very reliable, but I just don’t see him being a game dominator at least until the Colts get or develop an elite pass catcher to go with him.  They’ve drafted some great bodies at pass catcher this year.  Maybe PC will stay healthy and contribute, but I’m not looking at our guys and feeling very confident at least in the short term.

 

with Taylor’s threat, I expect the Colts to see 2 shell almost exclusively.  At least that is what Id do.  He makes safeties look silly in one on one situs at the 2nd and third levels.  Teams need their DBs with their eyes in the backfield IMo.  I would be worried about play7ng too much man with my back turned to Taylor.

 

So I think that their is the possibility that MPJ makes a ton of catches this year underneath the C2 in the soft spots.  But I don’t think his ypc will improve because teams will have 2 safeties out there.  
 

to me the Colts look like they are trying to build the passing offense similar too the Cards in Fitz early years.  Big bodied pass catchers.  
 

i hope we get under center a lot this year.  RPO is fine, but I’d like to see that under center PA with Taylor.  Neither PR or CW were PA ball handlers but Ryan is very good at it.  I think Pittman will be really good in front of the safeties with an occasional deep ball, but I think (and I think Colts nmanagemt does too with Campbell and now Pearce) that we need someone other than MPJ to be the Marvin Harrison type of guy getting past the secondary on the PA.

 

I agree Fitz probably had better body control at this stage, but there's enough to argue this one way or another. Pitt was 2nd in contested catches, and was simply fantastic when allowed to go deep or across the middle. So his lack of opportunity compared to Fitz, really suggests they aren't that far apart. If there is a difference, it's just not a big one at this stage of their career. 

 

If there's one thing I'd point to that separates Fitz and Pitt, is speed. Fitz was a bit faster. But he was also given more route opportunity to show that speed. He was able to simply burn a lot of DBs on the 9, and would catch the ball in stride. Pittman has good speed, but he's likely a guy that won't have as much separation on a 9, and will need to rely on stacking (which he's good at, and so was Fitz). 

 

Reich overall has been overly observative on routes and passing scheme in general through the last 3 QBs. I just hope he opens things this year. Need better balance with the run/pass %, and need better balance within the passing game. 

 

Doubt we see much RPO. Ryan's been on the low end in that category. Given the reports of Ryan changing some of the play book, have to guess he's simply inserted the stuff that has worked well for him historically. Agree he runs PA well. If we're balanced, won't matter what coverage the D uses. 

 

 

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