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Ask the Experts

Which struggling tight end will turn things around?

Out of the Pitts soon

ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly from training camp through the Super Bowl with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them: Which struggling tight end will turn things around?

SCOTT SACHS

It has to be Kyle Pitts, right? Atlanta has been fairly competitive so far, but they need more production to win games. Pitts is a true weapon and they have to figure out new and better ways to scheme him open and get him touches. Just look at his teammate, Cordarrelle Patterson. Other teams figure out creative ways to get their best players the rock, too, with the best example being Deebo Samuel in San Francisco. New Falcons coach Arthur Smith, had better get creative quickly as he has two beatable teams coming up in Seattle and Cleveland.

With 2 perfect seasons and multiple league championships to his credit, Sachs runs Perfect Season Fantasy Football, featuring LIVE Talk & Text Advice. He is a 3-time Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Auction League, as well as a previous Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Poll.

JASON WOOD

Does George Kittle count? Kittle will be back on the field soon, and while Trey Lance's injury is unfortunate, it does make Kittle's outlook much clearer since his elite seasons have come with Jimmy Garoppollo under center. While I don't think Kittle will contend with Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and Darren Waller at year-end, I do think he'll be an every-week starter that outscored the vast majority of the plug-and-play tight ends your league mates have to start.

Wood is Senior Editor at Footballguys.com and has been with the company since its start in 2000. For more than 20 years, Footballguys has provided rankings, projections, and analysis to help fantasy managers dominate their leagues.

DAVID DOREY

There is just no way that Kyle Pitts continues on as the No. 32 fantasy tight end. He is as talented as any other tight end in the NFL and criminally underused. The opposing defenses so far -- the Saints and Rams -- have top coverage corners and they've applied their greatest focus on him and shut him down. But that's left Drake London to explode last week and the upcoming opponents will feature less formidable secondaries. But it is a reality that Pitts suffers until the quarterback and other receivers do enough to keep him from being cloaked on every play, and Marcus Mariota cannot just ignore his best playmaker.

Dorey co-founded The Huddle.com in 1997. He's ranked every player and projected every game for the last 23 years and is the author of Fantasy Football: The Next Level. David has appeared on numerous radio, television, newspaper and magazines over the last two decades.

MIKE NAZAREK

Kyle Pitts is too talented to languish moving forward. The team needs him to produce and I believe they will find new ways to get him more involved. A breakout game is coming!

Nazarek is the CEO of Fantasy Football Mastermind Inc, celebrating 25 years online! His company offers a preseason draft guide, customizable cheat sheets, a multi-use fantasy drafting program including auction values, weekly in-season newsletters, injury reports and free NFL news (updated daily) at its web site, www.ffmastermind.com. He has been playing fantasy football since 1988 and is a four-peat champion of the SI.com Experts Fantasy League, a nationally published writer in several fantasy magazines and a former columnist for SI.com. He's also won nearly $30K in recent seasons of the FFPC High Stakes Main Event. Nazarek can be reached via email at miken@ffmastermind.com.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI

I feel like I'm cheating a little bit by naming Irv Smith, since he had a touchdown Monday. But he's still just TE18 in current scoring, so maybe he applies. He dropped a long second touchdown against Philadelphia. Adam Thielen hasn't been sharp in the first two games, so more opportunities could be coming Smith's way. Kirk Cousins is still a plus quarterback, even if prime-time games seem to regularly submarine him. Smith still has a plausible path to being inside the Top 12 at this weak position by season's end.

Pianowski has been with Yahoo Sports since 2008, covering a variety of sports. On the rare occasions when the computer is turned off, he enjoys word games, poker, music, film, game theory, and a variety of condiments. He lives in suburban Detroit. Pianowski was inducted into the FSWA Hall of Fame in 2021.

IAN ALLAN

There was a two-game stretch last October where Kyle Pitts caught 16 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown, looking look he was going to transform the position. He’s a talent. Yet he’s caught only 56 passes in his other 17 games as a pro, and with no touchdowns. That’s just over 3 catches per week. He’s caught 2 passes in four straight games. And now Arthur Smith is playing the I-don’t-care-about-fantasy-I’m-a-football-coach card. I can’t explain it. This is an offense that’s woefully short on playmaking talent, yet they don’t want to use their best guy. But I don’t think it can last. I expect Pitts to move up to catching about 5 passes per game, and sooner rather than later.

Allan co-founded Fantasy Football Index in 1987. He and fellow journalism student Bruce Taylor launched the first newsstand fantasy football magazine as a class project at the University of Washington. For more than three decades, Allan has written and edited most of the content published in the magazines, newsletters and at www.fantasyindex.com. An exhaustive researcher, he may be the only person in the country who has watched at least some of every preseason football game played since the early 1990s. Allan is a member of the FSTA Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.

SAM HENDRICKS

The Falcons and Marcus Mariota have not figured out how to get Kyle Pitts involved in their game plan. Atlanta has to realize eventually that he is a major force for moving the ball down the field. Ball control has not been a issue for them so far. Unfortunately they have been playing from behind a lot and not willing to accept the small plays but instead have gone boom or bust. Once Mariota stops running so much and settles down, then perhaps Pitts can come back. It really isn't about Pitts flopping more like Atlanta stumbling.

Hendricks is the author of Fantasy Football Guidebook, Fantasy Football Tips and Fantasy Football Basics, all available at ExtraPointPress.com, at all major bookstores, and at Amazon and BN.com. He is a 30-year fantasy football veteran who participated in the National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) and finished 7th and 16th overall in the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC). He won the Fantasy Index Open in 2013 and 2018.

ANDY RICHARDSON

I'd like to mention T.J. Hockenson, since I have him in a couple of leagues, but I'm not seeing it. He doesn't seem to be a focus of the passing game. So I'll go with Dawson Knox. He had a step in the right direction in Week 2, catching 4 passes, and there's no way opposing defenses coming up are going to let Stefon Diggs rip them up every week the way he did Monday night. I think Knox is going to start seeing lighter coverages and more balls thrown his way, especially in the red zone.

Richardson has been a contributing writer and editor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and www.fantasyindex.com since 2002. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual experts draft and auction leagues since their inception. He previews all the NFL games on Saturdays and writes a wrap-up column on Mondays during the NFL season.

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