George Kittle should be considered a sleeper tight end heading into this season, and he's worth drafting with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues. We hope he picks up where last season ended when Kittle played well with new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, including two games with 10 Fantasy points in a standard league in the final two outings of the year. Kittle will share playing time with Garrett Celek, but Kittle has much more upside. He could emerge as a No. 1 Fantasy tight end this year in all formats, and the 49ers might need him to play at a high level with a suspect receiving corps led by Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin. It would not be a surprise if Kittle finished as a top-10 Fantasy tight end in 2018.
Kittle won't suit up for any more preseason games after separating his shoulder, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan expects the tight end to be ready for Week 1, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Although there's no structural damage to Kittle's shoulder, he'll need rest to ensure it heals correctly. Kittle had 43 receptions for 515 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie campaign, with his 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame helping him earn 16 red-zone target, including six from Jimmy Garoppolo. The Niners will turn to Garrett Celek as their top tight end for the rest of August.
Further medical testing revealed no tears or structural damage on Kittle's separated right shoulder, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports. Kittle prematurely exited Thursday's preseason opener with an unspecified shoulder injury, but it seems the 49ers offense dodged a bullet. While the tight end could still be held out for the remainder of the preseason, there doesn't seem to be any concern over Kittle's availability for Week 1 of the regular season.
Kittle (shoulder) isn't expected to practice next week or play in the 49ers' second preseason game, Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle reports. Kittle was removed from Thursday's preseason game against Dallas after taking a hard hit in the first quarter, later walking to the locker room with his right arm pinned to his body. A serious injury would be a major blow to the San Francisco offense, after Kittle finished his rookie season with 194 receiving yards over the final three weeks. Garrett Celek will step in as the 49ers' top tight end while Kittle is unavailable.
Kittle injured his shoulder and will not return to Thursday's preseason opener against the Cowboys, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kittle came up holding his right shoulder after running downfield for a deep ball. The exact nature of his injury isn't clear. In Kittle's absence, Garret Celek will take over as the 49ers' No. 1 tight end.
Kittle focused on strengthening his smaller muscles in the offseason, hoping to avoid the nagging injuries that plagued his rookie campaign, Curtis Pashelka of The San Jose Mercury News reports. The 2017 fifth-round pick only missed one game, but he dealt with four separate issues throughout the season, while fellow tight end Garrett Celek didn't make an appearance on the injury report until mid-December. The San Francisco front office displayed confidence in the duo this offseason, declining to add any veterans or draft picks at the position. Kittle enters training camp as a clear favorite for the starting job, but he could end up in a timeshare with Celek again if he doesn't show improvement with his hands (five drops) and route running. The second-year pro has already proven to be dangerous with the ball in his hands, earning 281 of his 515 yards (54.6 percent) after the catch as a rookie. Given his physical gifts along with his likely role in what should be a good passing offense, Kittle is rightfully one of the more popular breakout candidates at tight end.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/23||@Kansas City Chiefs||12||6.06|
|4||09/30||@Los Angeles Chargers||4||5.00|
|6||10/16||@Green Bay Packers||6||5.38|
|7||10/22||Los Angeles Rams||19||6.82|
|10||11/13||New York Giants||32||10.69|
|12||11/25||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3||5.00|
|17||12/30||@Los Angeles Rams||19||6.82|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||63||43||515||2||22||11.98||63|