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Is Michael Pittman Jr. worth a start in fantasy football for Week 3?

Is Michael Pittman Jr. worth a start in fantasy football for Week 3?
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 20: Michael Pittman #11 of the Indianapolis Colts points downfield after a catch for a first down during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

If there is a player who is going under the radar this week in fantasy football who could end up putting together a fantastic day, it is Michael Pittman Jr. of the Indianapolis Colts. 

Pittman, who is seeing an increased role due to the injury to Parris Campbell, looks to join the ranks of the elite rookie wide receivers that have flashed in the early weeks of the season. Is there enough workload for him to be in starting lineups? Will Phillip Rivers even look his way? I believe he can, and Michael Pittman Jr. will have a solid Week 3 for many fantasy football teams.

Update: According to NFL network’s Ian Rapoport, Pittman had compartment leg syndrome in his calf and had surgery on Sunday, September 27. Rapoport notes that he is likely to return in Week 8 after the Colts’ bye week.

Michael Pittman Jr. has gotten off to a slow start in 2020

Selected number 34 overall of the 2020 NFL Draft, Pittman received all the organization’s praise. Colts’ GM Chris Ballard went so far as to say that he was one of their highest-graded wide receivers of a loaded class. A three-year starter at USC, Pittman was the “X” receiver in offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s spread scheme, lining up primarily outside the numbers. Pittman was USC’s go-to weapon as a senior.

In Week 3, he lines back up in his traditional spot. Zack Pascal will slide into the slot, with T.Y. Hilton and Pittman outside. Mittman will surely see more looks this week to help offset his slow start.

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Pittman was targeted just twice in Week 1 and in Week 2, he caught four balls for 37 yards against an exploitable Minnesota Vikings defense. Due to Campbell’s injury, Pittman was on the field nearly every play last week, increasing from 51% in Week 1 to 91% in Week 2. Where I expect Pittman to make his presence known is in the red zone.

Pittman, 6′ 4″, is some who I can see being the “Vincent Jackson” for Rivers. Coming into the season, I said I believed he would lead the Colts’ wide receivers in touchdowns, and that starts this week.

Pittman and the Colts could not have a better matchup in Week 3

Every week, I check to see who is playing the New York Jets, so I know who to have in all of my fantasy lineups. This week, it is Indianapolis’s turn. Coming into the week, the Jets rank as #22 in DVOA against the pass, per Football Outsiders.

The Jets have allowed an insane 75.3 percent of passes to be completed. Having allowed four passing touchdowns in their first two games, Rivers should add at least one or two more to that total in a game I don’t expect to see close.

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The only reason I see the passing game being slowed down is because of the success that could be seen early on and then pivot to attacking the Jets using the rushing game. The Colts come into this game as an absurd -11.5 favorites according to Draft Kings.

Scoring points early and often won’t be an issue. There should be more than enough opportunities while building a lead for Pittman to have a productive fantasy day, even if he doesn’t see too many looks in the 4th quarter.

Michael Pittman Jr. is a WR3 so long as Parris Campbell remains on the IR for the Colts

The Colts are likely to be a run-first unit with Jonathan Taylor carrying the load behind a tremendous offensive line. However, the scoring opportunities should be plenty. Pittman was never going to be someone who was going to see close to ten targets. That is not his style of play or how the Colts will use him.

That role will still fall on Hilton and Pascal out of the slot. Once they are inside the 20 yard-line, then Pittman comes into his own for this team. I like Pittman to see around six to seven targets and come down with his career’s first touchdown in Week 3. He is a WR3/Flex play in fantasy for Week 3. 

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.


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