Ed Dickson, Market Shares and Dislocated Hips

If you are a fantasy football degenerate desperately trolling the Fantasy Football Twitter for training camp updates, you already know Dennis Pitta dislocated his hip, and as of this writing, is reported to have had surgery for the injury. Pitta was in line for a big fantasy football season after the departure of Anquan Boldin left a gaping hole at the WR2 position. I looked at some of the options that the Ravens have to fill that slot, but regardless, Pitta was going to heavily involved. His injury opens the door for more opportunity, this time for third year tight end Ed Dickson.

The Ravens drafted Dickson in the 3rd round in 2010 and he has played mostly an ancillary role, while Pitta become more of the focus in the Ravens passing game. In their rookie seasons, Dickson was actually more a part of the offense, and was clearly more prodcutive in the players’ second season. Dickson gained 528 yards and scored 5 times, but a dramatic shift occured last year. Pitta outsnapped Dickson 848 to 695 and was out targeted 90 to 31. Clearly, the Ravens were planning on utilizing Pitta much more than they were Dickson moving into 2013.

Plans changed suddenly, however. The question now is if Dickson is capable of fulfilling some of what the Ravens had in mind for Pitta. These are Dickson’s measureables coming out college, compared to Pitta.

Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yd dash 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
Dickson 6 ft 4 3⁄8 in 249 lb 33 in 9 3⁄4 in 4.59 s 4.59 s 7.32 s 34 in 9 ft 7 in 23 reps
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yd dash 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
Pitta 6 ft 4½ in 245 lb 32¼ in 10 in 4.40 s N/A N/A 34 in 9 ft 5 in 27 reps

Make no bones about it, Pitta’s .19 upgrade in 40 time makes him a superior prospect, but alot of the measureables are strikingly similar, including height, vertical, and broad jump. They all paint a picture of relatively similar prospects. Therefore, it would be helpful to take a look back and see what the 2 players did in college, because that was the only time the 2 players haven’t ate into each others value.


Things get interesting now. In their penultimate seasons in college (when a player should theoretically be the most developed versus their competition), Pitta had more targets, yards per target, and a truly elite 47% red zone touchdown rate, but Dickson was far superior in the metrics that truly correlate to NFL success. As a tight end, Dickson accumulated a .31 dominator rating, compared to Pitta’s paltry .23. As I have referenced many times in my pieces, Shawn Siegele’s Dominator Rating index would indicate that Dickson was a more valuable NFL prospect. While we have already seen Dennis Pitta be a fantasy football-viable player, I’m not sure that it’s impossible that Dickson returns value if he gets to play Pitta’s role.

One huge hindrance to Dickson’s value could be his complex relationship with Joe Flacco. On average, Flacco hasn’t been very effective throwing to Dickson. Using Rotoviz’s excellent QB/WR Efficiency app, we know that for his career, Flacco has only averaged 5.55 adjusted yards per attempt while throwing to Dickson, and a much better 7.35 when throwing to Pitta.

Passer  Receiver  POS  ATTS  RECS  YDS  TDS  INTS  AYA
Joe Flacco Ed Dickson TE 137 79 840 5 4 5.55
Joe Flacco Dennis Pitta TE 155 102 1075 10 3 7.35

Luckily for Dickson, Flacco might not have much of a choice. The last 3 years, Flacco has targeted a tight end 356 times, or 22% of his total attempts. This surely means an uptick in targets for Torrey Smith, Ray Rice and even Bernard Pierce, as well as incrased importance on who eventually becomes the 2nd wide receiver, but I can tell you that Billy Bajema isn’t going to be threat. Dickson is going to be on the field alot, and just based on that, could probably fall out bed and get 80 targets.

In Dickson’s sole year outsnapping Pitta, Dickson converted 12 redzone targets for 5 touchdowns. That blows his college rate out of the water to the tune of a 41% redzone TD rate. There were chunks of the season where he disappeared, but the same was true of Pitta last year. The real question to Dickson’s fantasy value was this: Is he capable? The answer is yes. He isn’t the sort of stiff that you normally find at back up tight end. Even last year, as a clear back up to Pitta, he still out snapped players like Jared Cook and was in the same range of players like Delanie Walker. It is no doubt discouraging that he was so uninvolved in the offensive game plan, but what choice do the Ravens have? This is a player who has consistently been on the field for them, was listed as the starter for the Super Bowl (for whatever that’s worth), and knows the offense. Tommy Streeter, Deonte Thompson and Aaron Mellette can’t say any of that. Even Tandon Doss, who has been on the team for as long as Dickson, hasn’t been able to prove to the coaching staff that he deserves the playing time. While WR2 will likely feature some sort of rotation, Dickson is the Ravens only option at starting tight end and worth a selection for your fantasy squad. If he doesn’t pan out, he won’t cost you much of anything, as I’m pretty sure the Ed Dickson hype train will never be a thing, and you can move on to streaming the next tight end; but out of all of the options after Graham and Gronk, Dickson is one of the few players that has a real likelihood to enter the realm of 90 or more targets over the course of the season.

2 thoughts on “Ed Dickson, Market Shares and Dislocated Hips

  1. This injury is going to hurt more than just Flacco. Pitta provided a security blanket for Flacco and the whole Baltimore offense. Dickson needs to step up in a BIG way, and even then – this does not help Rice – Pitta was a solid short yardage guy and was primed to lead the team in receptions. Huge blow. More Fantasy Football