George Kittle missed half of last season, but that's done nothing to sour Fantasy managers. In fact, he's even more popular because tight ends like him are rare to find and shrewd drafters are willing to reach a little to get him. When he did play in 2020, Kittle was good for 14.9 PPR and 8.9 non-PPR points per game, third-best among tight ends in both formats. Better yet, those averages weren't far from his 2019 numbers (15.2 in PPR, 9.1 in non-PPR). Expectations remain high for the veteran stud, even with the Niners eventually breaking in rookie Trey Lance at quarterback. Fellow tight end Darren Waller might be the safer pick based on availability and target volume, but both are in the mid-Round 2 conversation. Kittle should be expected to get snagged between 20th and 26th overall -- any point thereafter is a relative bargain.
Kittle is already showing chemistry with rookie QB Trey Lance at training camp, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kittle makes things easy on his quarterbacks, and he's played with a bunch of them early in his career, in part due to Jimmy Garoppolo's injury woes. Coach Kyle Shanahan has said multiple times that he views Garoppolo as his starter, but history suggests Lance -- a No. 3 overall pick -- will end up taking snaps one way or another before the end of the season. That might not be good for Kittle's receiving stats in the short term, but it'll work out for him in the long run if Lance becomes the player the Niners expect.
Kittle had seven receptions (nine targets) for 68 yards in Sunday's 26-23 loss to the Seahawks. Kittle has dealt with multiple lower leg injuries in 2020, so his full participation in an inconsequential Week 17 tilt indicates that he is back at full strength heading into the offseason. The star tight end finishes the campaign with 48 receptions, 634 yards, two scores and a solid 76.2 catch rate in the eight games he participated in. The injury-shortened season could result in the 26-year-old coming at a bit of a discount in next year's drafts, as healthy elite options such as Travis Kelce and Darren Waller should come off the board before him. Kittle should resume contending for the title of top tight end in fantasy if he can stay healthy next year, especially with improved quarterback play in the form of a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) or an option from outside the organization.
Kittle (foot) recorded four receptions on five targets for 92 yards in Week 16 against the Cardinals. Kittle was in game action for the first time since Week 8 and returned to lead the team in targets, yards and receptions. The majority of his production came on long receptions, including gains of 27, 24 and 18 yards. His first catch of the day came on a pass short and to the flat, but he made a quick cut and burst up field. The only thing missing from Kittle's effort was a trip to the end zone, though most importantly he appears to be fairly healthy heading into a Week 17 matchup against the Seahawks.
The 49ers activated Kittle (foot) from injured reserve Friday, Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kittle missed the past six games due to a fractured cuboid bone in his foot that he suffered Nov. 1. The 49ers' receiving corps has been depleted, with Deebo Samuel (hamstring) not expected to play Week 16 or 17, Trent Taylor (undisclosed) on the reserve/COVID-19 list and two others on IR. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Kittle will be under a "snap count" Saturday in Arizona, but it remains to be seen how exactly the tight end will be utilized.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Thursday that Kittle (foot) is expected to play in Saturday's game at Arizona, Matt Barrows of The Athletic reports. Shanahan noted Kittle fared well enough in practice to warrant the 49ers activating the tight end from injured reserve, a move that is slated to happen prior to Saturday's 4:30 p.m. ET kickoff. In his first game action since Week 8, though, Kittle will be on a snap count nearly eight weeks removed from suffering a broken cuboid bone in his foot, according to Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area. Considering the recent play of Jordan Reed and Ross Dwelley, Kittle may not warrant a ton of looks from C.J. Beathard, but his rapport with the QB going back to college at Iowa could be enough to make his return a productive one.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/26||Green Bay Packers||5||5.78|
|10||11/15||Los Angeles Rams||8||6.33|
|18||01/09||@Los Angeles Rams||8||6.33|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||102||74||1021||4||48||13.80||127|