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Michael Pittman Jr.: Fantasy football draft profile for 2022 NFL season

We break down the outlook for Michael Pittman Jr. heading into the 2022 NFL season.

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) bump chests Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, before a game against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Christine Tannous/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michael Pittman Jr. is primed to step in as the Indianapolis Colts’ No. 1 receiver in 2022. The 24-year-old finished as the overall WR17 in fantasy football last season, and will soon develop a connection with veteran quarterback Matt Ryan as training camp continues.

2021 season statistics & fantasy finish

Pittman officially put the NFL, as well as fantasy football, on notice when he turned in a magnificent 88 catches on 129 targets for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns in his second campaign for the Colts. He racked up 150.6 total fantasy points, with an average of 8.9 per game.

Indianapolis Colts offseason moves

The Colts traded Carson Wentz after an underwhelming trial run under center in 2021, which eventually paved the way for the seasoned Ryan, who hopes to launch Frank Reich’s passing attack to new heights for the upcoming season. On defense, they acquired pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with the Raiders and five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

2022 best case scenario

Time will tell how effective the combo of Pittman and Ryan will be. One thing’s for sure, though, he should get every opportunity to improve his numbers with a more competent thrower this year. With defenses presumably focused on containing Jonathan Taylor on the ground, Pittman has a chance to be Ryan’s new Julio Jones-esque weapon.

2022 worst case scenario

Typically, when discussing a wide receiver, we don’t usually have a good reason to bring up that player’s team’s defensive unit. In this case, however, we will. Simply put, the Colts defense is formidable, and they possess enough talent on that side of the ball to keep games low scoring. Reich’s game plan could be altered in particular matchups if he believes his team can win by controlling the clock with the backfield, and relying on the defense to stop the opponent from keeping up with the pace. Does he have enough confidence in Ryan at this juncture of his career to make the deep throw? Or, at least call more plays through the air than he did with Wentz? After finishing fifth in the league for total rushing attempts (499), and 27th in passing attempts (521) last year, it remains to be seen if the offense will switch gears. They have the best running back in football, as well as one of the best defenses. Passing plays may be put on the back burner on a weekly basis, which will ultimately hamper Pittman’s production.

2022 prediction

Pittman is currently being drafted as the WR13 in half-PPR leagues, sitting just ahead of Terry McLaurin and Jaylen Waddle. That’s a solid, and fair spot for him. He didn’t put up the greatest numbers through the air in his third season, but they were commendable, and much improved from his paltry rookie campaign. With Ryan leading him on routes, we can expect better results from the Colts in the passing game. All signs point to another solid year coming for Pittman.