Colts 2021 Fantasy Preview: WR Michael Pittman Jr.

Many expect Colts' second-year WR Michael Pittman Jr. to take a leap forward in 2021. How should that translate to fantasy football?
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The Indianapolis Colts don't have very many fantasy football breakout star candidates in 2021, but one they do have is among the most popular picks in the NFL to take that next step.

Second-year wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. has the full confidence of the Colts organization, but a lot of people in the fantasy community are also confident he can step up and be the Colts' next significant starting wideout.

Let's take a look at his fantasy prospects for this season. 

Average draft position and positional rankings from FantasyPros. Projections are based on traditional lineups with PPR scoring.

Relevant to all Colts fantasy players, quarterback Carson Wentz underwent a procedure on his foot on Mon., Aug. 2 and is expected to be out anywhere from 5-12 weeks, which puts his return in the regular season roughly between Week 1-Week 8. Although the team will have a better idea of his approximate timetable for return a few weeks post-op, they believe his return will be on the quicker side of the range.

WR Michael Pittman Jr.

  • Current ADP — 110.0
  • Current Positional Rank — WR45
  • 2021 Strength of Schedule 9th easiest
  • 2020 — 13 games, 40 receptions (61 targets), 503 yards (12.6 avg.), 1 TD, 3 carries, 26 yards (8.7 avg.)
  • Average per game — 3.1 receptions (4.7 targets), 38.7 yards, 0.1 TD, 0.2 carries, 2.0 yards

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Although his rookie season got off to a slow start (largely due to a leg injury that cost him three games), Pittman showed obvious growth about midway through.

In the 11 games following the Colts' bye week in 2020, they clearly had Pittman in mind for multiple gameplans. He was either first, tied for first, or second in targets among either team in four contests, averaging 8.5 targets per game in those contests.

Pittman became the first Colts rookie to have 100 receiving yards in a single game (Week 10) since 2014. He also became just the fifth Colts rookie in franchise history to log 55-plus receiving yards in three consecutive games (Weeks 9-11), joining Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Andre Rison, and Bill Brooks.

Between Pittman, T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, and Marcus Johnson — the only four Colts receivers who were present enough last year worth mentioning — Pittman led the group in catch percentage (70.2%) and yards after catch per reception (7.0 avg.), and he was second in drop percentage (7.0%), missed tackles forced (4), and passer rating when thrown to (95.9).

The Future is Now?

To start training camp this summer and the upcoming season, Pittman may likely be the team's second wide receiver behind only Hilton, who will turn 32 during the season and has battled various injuries over the last few years.

The expectation is that there will be a passing of the torch.

With that in mind, Pittman could become their top wideout regardless of if Hilton presents any ailments. It's easy to see why that may be the case, as the second-year stud stands 6'4" and over 220 pounds with plenty of speed and hands, and is a reliable target who can win in contested-catch situations and also create yards after the catch.

Pittman also has a new quarterback throwing his way in Carson Wentz.

The pair got together to throw shortly after Wentz was acquired by the Colts, worked together during organized team activities, and again before training camp began.

Now more than a year into his NFL career, Pittman has been able to focus on his duties with the Colts as a receiver in their system this offseason.

It's easy to see what would make him appealing from a fantasy perspective in 2021.

Are you planning on targeting Pittman in your fantasy drafts? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!

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