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Can Michael Pittman Jr. deliver the goods in 2022?

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 09: Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman (11) celebrates after his touchdown reception late in the game during the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars on January 9, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL (Photo by Icon Sportswire)

So you (likely) already have your fantasy football rosters drafted this year and cannot wait for the season to progress, especially after Buffalo and the Rams helped kick off the season. But as you look through your rosters, you start to question if you made the right choice – and one of those players in question could very well be Michael Pittman Jr.

As the Indianapolis Colts swap out Carson Wentz for Matt Ryan, the offensive ceiling for their playmakers rises substantially, especially those involved in the passing game. We all know how good Jonathan Taylor can be, and his ‘21 season was no joke – but what does 2022 have in store for Pittman?

2021 Recap

Taking a step back, Pittman produced a career year last season, doubling all his major statistical outputs. Wentz peppered him with 129 targets, which led to 88 receptions for 1,082 and 6 TDs, all career marks in only his second season.

The Colts have tried to find their next Andrew Luck, and Wentz was a stepping stone until they acquired Ryan. While Pittman benefited from having him under center, clearly Wentz was not the right guy to help maximize Pittman’s talent.

His 1,000-yard season seems like it fell well under the radar due to Taylor’s breakout campaign, as he produced one of the quietest top-20 seasons (WR16) in recent memory. But that type of quiet production was not enough to suppress his ADP all that much, and any drafters that wanted him had to pay up for him.

2022 Preview

The Colts will play six games against the likes of the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans. With the Titans as Indy’s only divisional competition, the Colts can ride Pittman and Taylor to a title this season.

Ryan is going to be integral to Pittman’s development this season, with defenses likely focusing on slowing Taylor down. Plus, Pittman’s ceiling is one of the highest amongst all receivers based on how well Ryan treats his top targets.

Dating back to the 2009 season, Ryan has averaged 161 targets to his top wideout per season. That would be an increase of 32 targets from last year to this year, which would mean that Pittman’s workload has been the beneficiary of 100 more targets across three seasons.

Even in seasons where Ryan did not have a Roddy White or a Julio Jones to focus on, he still maintained solid target shares with guys like Harry Douglas and Calvin Ridley. Ryan loves to establish solid relationships with the top target in his offense, and with Pittman more than filling that role for him, the sky is the limit for the USC product.

This year, Pittman was drafted as the 11th wide receiver (pick 27), sharing an ADP with Tee Higgins, Kyle Pitts, Keenan Allen, and DJ Moore. Taking a wild card option like Pittman over some of those more sure options certainly can give you second thoughts, but Pittman’s ceiling certainly can justify his selection at the end of the day.

The Colts will be heavily reliant on the Ryan-Pittman connection this year, and if his preseason hype comes through, there will be plenty of dynasty managers cashing in on their investment in him.

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