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Arthur Smith on Kyle Pitts’ production: It’s not fantasy football

Matthew Berry and Mike Florio break down the rookie wide receivers that are already turning heads, including New York Jets' Garrett Wilson, Atlanta Falcons' Drake London's and New Orleans Saints' Chris Olave.

The Falcons have done a nice job of integrating rookie receiver Drake London into their offense over the first two games, as he’s caught 13 passes for 160 yards. He even caught his first touchdown during Sunday’s loss to the Rams.

But last year’s rookie sensation, tight end Kyle Pitts, has not gotten the ball much at all.

In the season-opening loss to New Orleans, Pitts had a pair of catches for 19 yards on seven targets. He had an identical two catches for 19 yards in Sunday’s loss to Los Angeles, but this time he had just three targets.

What’s the issue? Head coach Arthur Smith said part of it is the defense taking Pitts away.

“Kyle’s a huge part of our offense and the thing is, you just have to take it with context,” Smith said in his postgame press conference. “It’s the same thing — we’re trying to win and he has a huge impact on the game.”

Smith then noted that Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has a tendency to knock offenses off track because “the guy can be a nightmare.”

“And Kyle is such an important piece, and we go after him or he is targeted and other guys made plays,” Smith said. ‘So, you know, it was like a perfect example. You targeted him on one and if they cover him or they account for him, then [receiver KhaDarel] Hodge comes in there and makes a big play. It happened a few times things like that.

“It’s not fantasy football. We’re just trying to win, and we’ll continue to look at everything and try to get better.”

Quarterback Marcus Mariota said there were a couple of moments when the Rams were double-covering Pitts.

“[J]ust the way that the game flows where he’s going to get his targets, he’s going to find the ball, the ball will come to him,” Mariota said. “These first couple weeks, it just hasn’t happened that way.”

Pitts was a Pro Bowler last season after he led the Falcons with 68 catches and 1,026 yards. As talented as he is, the Falcons have to find a way to scheme Pitts open and get him the ball. That’s not about fantasy football — that’s just utilizing personnel in the most effective way to gain yards and score more points.