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Fancy fantasy football: Dennis Pitta in Week 6

By Nicholas Minnix

I might not have bothered to emphasize my optimism for Dennis Pitta this week. But, since his first three games (31 targets, 18 catches, 188 yards and two TDs), the Baltimore Ravens' tight end has slid into the background because of a couple of recent duds. He has some haters.

Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin each had a big game in Week 4. The Nevermores couldn't get much of anything going in the air in Week 5.

Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith
Ravens must move Smith around

I like Pitta's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys quite a bit. Part of the reason is the trouble that Baltimore's receivers - in particular, Smith and Jacoby Jones - have had against the jam. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne could easily give the Ravens some of the same problems that Brandon Flowers and Stanford Routt did last week.

The Cowboys also have a stouter run defense than the Kansas City Chiefs, who have the athletes in the middle to cover tight ends. Ray Rice may have a solid game, but the return of Jay Ratliff (high ankle sprain) should bolster the unit opposing the running back.

Dallas has given up about four receptions and 40 yards a game and three touchdowns to players at the tight end position this season. However, they've had only one foe (of four) that goes to its tight end with regularity - the New York Giants. Martellus Bennett opened some eyes with his - get this - four grabs, 40 yards and one touchdown in Week 1 against America's Team.

The Cowboys were a top-five matchup for tight ends (5.25 catches, 61.9 yards and 0.38 scores per game) last year, too.

Although Pitta's last two contests have been thoroughly disappointing, they don't condemn him as the anomaly that was soon to disappear into obscurity. In fact, Baltimore really likes the BYU product. QB Joe Flacco has even expressed concern that defenses would start to focus on his No. 1 tight end if he continued to throw to Pitta so often.

This is the first game in a few weeks in which the Ravens could clearly benefit by featuring Pitta. At the very least, the third-year pass-catcher should get his share of looks against a D that may otherwise take away Flacco's primary read. In Week 6, fantasy owners may not be willing to trust Pitta as a TE1, but if not, he deserves consideration in flex spots.


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