Detroit Lions: Can Brandon Pettigrew Become An Elite Fantasy Tight End?

Detroit Lions emerging star tight end Brandon Pettigrew returned from his ACL injury with 71 receptions for 722 yards and four scores in his sophomore season.  Those are good numbers, but it’s not enough to make you want to blindly plug him in your fantasy lineup every week.

The former first-round-pick in the 2009 NFL Draft has certainly had his moments.  He’s picked up at least 75 yards and/or a touchdown in 7 of his last 16 games.
Pettigrew achieved at least 50 yards in three other games, giving him 10 games of at least a solid fantasy performance.  For those in Points Per Reception (PPR) leagues, he accumulated at least five catches on seven occasions.

The problem with Pettigrew was when he was off, he was really off. He had 36 or fewer yards in seven games and bailed his fantasy owners out with a touchdown in three of those starts, but that’s still a troubling statistic.

The theory that a healthy Matthew Stafford should lead to an improved Pettigrew is debatable. In the three games that Stafford played Pettigrew had just six catches for 32 yards.  He had two touchdowns from Stafford, but with that kind of yardage, it’s hardly enough for Pettigrew to average more than five points in non-PPR leagues.  However, Stafford did play in Pettigrew’s best games as a rookie.

The Lions have a lot of weapons on offense. Perhaps the most they have had since the days of Barry Sanders
and the run and shoot. Pettigrew’s size makes him an attractive option near the goal line, especially since Calvin Johnson commands so much attention.  The big yardage days could be hard to come by though.

Pettigrew’s Mock Draft Central Average Draft Position (ADP) puts him as the eighth tight end, which is right around where I have him. I don’t think he’s elite, but I still consider him a TE1. If I did draft Pettigrew I would most likely add a high end TE2 so I could play the match-ups.

What’s your take on Brandon Pettigrew?

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