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Determining what is real, sustainable production instead of unreliable production is critical for your fantasy team. Players that have sustainable production should be anchors to your team and the type of players you seek to acquire in the trade market. Players that have unsustainable production are the types of players that you should not depend on in your lineup and sell trades.
The Kyle Pitts Struggle
Through two weeks, Kyle Pitts has scored 18.6 points in PPR scoring formats, and his 6.2 PPG ranks outside the top 20 tight ends. Pitts’s resume this season is a mixed bag. On the positive side, Pitts ranks number one among tight ends in route participation (91%) on his team’s dropbacks. Additionally, he leads the position in average depth of target (aDOT) with 12.0. By contrast, the second deepest aDOT is Luke Musgrave at 10.9. The problem with Pitts thus far has been a combination of lower overall route volume and the quality of his targets. He ranks fifth in overall routes run, and only 56% of his targets have been catchable. Pitts is only one of two tight ends with a route participation of 50% and less than 67% catchable target rate (Juwann Johnson). Pitts leads the league in tight end air yards with 192, and all indications point to a tight end who is underperforming based on the play of his quarterback. The problem with Pitts is it is tough to say if that quarterback player will change. Desmond Ridder has struggled thus far in his career. There is no guarantee that he will rebound at any point, and there does not appear to be a change of quarterback in the offing. As a result, Kyle Pitts may be tough to trust and week to week basis this year, but in dynasty formats, he still has a strong long-term profile.
Verdict: Pitts’s struggles are real but are more attributable to his situation than his play's quality.
Zack Moss as a RB1
Zack Moss has averaged 21.6 points per game in the past two weeks and ranks sixth in running back points scored per game. In the past two weeks, Moss has been a workhorse, with 86% of the team’s rushing attempts each week and dominating all game situations. Moss has also averaged 27 routes per game and 3.5 targets. Moss has dominated each game situation and should be the lead back as long as he stays healthy.
Verdict: Jonathan Taylor remains on the PUP list and is a candidate to return in Week 5. If he does so, he is a threat to Moss’s workload, but otherwise, Moss is a candidate to be a top-12 running back based on high volume.
Justin Fields Struggles
Justin Fields is struggling in 2023. He is currently QB19 through three weeks, and many concerns about his production entering the season are still present. Fields leads the league in time to throw for the second consecutive year, and his lost dropback rate of 21.9% again leads the league. When Fields entered the NFL, there were questions about his ability to process as a passer, based on his time to throw being among the leaders in college football. Fields has not meaningfully improved in any of these manners necessary to be a long-term starter. Fields' production as the league leader in quarterback rushing in 2022 was an enormous performance, but he is the only quarterback since 2008 to finish in the top 12 seasonal finishes with more rushing points than passing points. Without a step forward as a passer, Fields’s fantasy production has collapsed now that he is only averaging 5.6 rushing points per game.
Verdict: Justin Fields' 2022 production was based on unsustainable rushing production, which is difficult to rely on, without the type of sustainable passing production necessary to rely on. We are seeing that play out in 2023.