There probably aren't many tight ends with more Fantasy Football upside than Kyle Pitts. Pitts was the No. 4 pick in the 2021 draft, the highest a tight end has ever been selected, and then he proceeded to put together the second 1,000-yard season ever by a rookie tight end. He'll still be just 22 years old when the Falcons' season begins against the Panthers in Week 1. That's a profile you typically want to bet on.

But I'm growing increasingly concerned about his chances of paying off on that bet. Pitts made his preseason debut in Week 2 against the Bengals, and his usage was a bit concerning; he played nine of 17 snaps with the starters, per The Falcons also had Mycole Pruitt out there for nine snaps, while Jonnu Smith played seven. 

There are a few things to keep in mind there, of course. For one, it was Pitts' first appearance in a game since suffering a torn MCL last November, so they might have just been working him back in relatively slowly. Then there's also the fact that the Falcons use Pitts more like a wide receiver than a tight end, so the presence of Pruitt and Smith isn't necessarily a huge hurdle to overcome.

Still, Pitts played more than 80% of the snaps just three times in 10 games last season, so I can't dismiss the possibility of him being more of a part-time player than I'd like to see. Falcons coach Arthur Smith wants to run the ball early and often, and Pitts isn't going to be a big part of the running game; that might lead him to taking him off the field in early-down situations, even when the Falcons are planning to pass. In what is already a low-volume passing game, any lost opportunity is going to be tough to overcome. 

Kyle Pitts
ATL • TE • #8
REC YDs356
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I still think Pitts' upside is worth chasing in Fantasy, but I am moving him down in my rankings. He may have a better best-case scenario than T.J. Hockenson, Dallas Goedert or Darren Waller, but there are probably already more ways for things to go wrong for him. That's why I finally made the move to drop Pitts behind Waller and Goedert in my rankings this week. I hope I'm wrong, because I want to see Pitts thrive. But I just can't justify taking him over those safer options with similar upside. 

Here are my latest TE rankings, as of Sept. 2: 

2023 TE Rankings

  1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs – $26
  2. Mark Andrews, Ravens – $11
  3. T.J. Hockenson, Vikings – $7
  4. Darren Waller, Giants – $7
  5. Dallas Goedert, Eagles – $6
  6. Kyle Pitts, Falcons – $6
  7. George Kittle, 49ers – $5
  8. Evan Engram, Jaguars – $3
  9. David Njoku, Browns – $3
  10. Tyler Higbee, Rams – $3
  11. Gerald Everett, Chargers – $2
  12. Juwan Johnson, Saints – $2
  13. Dalton Schultz, Texans – $1
  14. Dalton Kincaid, Bills – $1
  15. Pat Freiermuth, Steelers – $1
  16. Sam LaPorta, Lions – $1
  17. Chigoziem Okonkwo, Titans – $1
  18. Luke Musgrave, Packers – $1
  19. Cole Kmet, Bears – $1
  20. Zach Ertz, Cardinals – $1
  21. Hayden Hurst, Panthers – $1
  22. Dawson Knox, Bills – $1
  23. Jake Ferguson, Cowboys – $0
  24. Greg Dulcich, Broncos – $0
  25. Irv Smith, Bengals – $0
  26. Taysom Hill, Saints – $0
  27. Hunter Henry, Patriots – $0
  28. Michael Mayer, Raiders – $0
  29. Cade Otton, Buccaneers – $0
  30. Tyler Conklin, Jets – $0