George Kittle

George Kittle

TE - SF
Height: 6-4
Weight: 250 lbs
Age: 30
College: Iowa
San Francisco 49ers

2023 Season Outlooks

We are drafting Kittle as a mid-range starting tight end in the Round 6 or 7 range of most Fantasy drafts. Seven of Kittle's career-high 11 touchdowns came in the final four weeks of the regular season that Brock Purdy started. But there were also reasons to be concerned about Kittle's numbers with Purdy. He caught more than four passes just once in six games with Purdy and only topped 30 yards twice. Regardless of those concerns, we would be much more worried if Trey Lance was starting because of what that would do to the team's total pass volume. As long as you don't draft Kittle expecting him to match his peak performance from 2018 or 2019, you should be happy with the results.

Kittle is coming off a big 2022, finishing second among TEs in both PPR and non-PPR points per game.

There are reasons to be wary of him heading into this year, though.

For starters, he scored a career-high 11 TDs on a career-high and unsustainable 18.3% TD rate. Expect negative regression in that department.

Kittle registered an 18.9% target share last season – a nice mark for a TE but way down from his 24+% target shares the previous four years.

He faces stiff target competition in Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk in what again figures to be a run-leaning 49ers offense.

What We Learned Last YearKittle finished second among TEs in PPR and non-PPR points per game last year.He missed the first two games of the season after hurting his groin a few days before the opener.Over the final 15 games of the season, Kittle compiled:86 targets60 catches765 yards11 TDsHere’s where those marks ranked among TEs from Week 3 on:Targets: fifthCatches: fourthYards: thirdTDs: firstThe career-high 11 TDs were obviously a big part of Kittle’s 2022 fantasy production. He hadn’t topped six scores in any of his first five NFL seasons.Kittle scored on 18.3% of his receptions last year after registering a 6.0% TD rate over those previous five seasons. (League-wide TD rate for TEs is around 8.4%.)Kittle tied for fourth among TEs with 23 red-zone targets last year and led the position with 11 end-zone targets.Based on his usage, he registered 6.2 expected TDs, which tied for fifth among TEs.Kittle drew 18.9% of 49ers targets in his 15 games. That was his lowest mark since his 2017 rookie season. His target shares by year:2017: 10.8%2018: 26.5%2019: 28.1%2020: 25.7%2021: 24.8%2022: 18.9%In seven games with a healthy Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey last year, Kittle saw just 12.3% of 49ers targets.He was super productive with QB Brock Purdy. In Purdy’s eight full games (including playoffs), Kittle averaged:3.9 catches55.9 yards0.9 TDsKittle averaged just 5.3 targets on a 19.1% target share in those eight games.
What to Expect in 2023There are questions at QB in San Francisco. Purdy is working back from March surgery on his throwing elbow. If he’s not ready for Week 1, it’s not even clear if Trey Lance would start over Sam Darnold, who signed a one-year deal with the ‘Niners in free agency.The fewer games Lance starts, the better for Kittle’s fantasy value. San Francisco would likely run significantly more with Lance under center. Based on last year, the more games Purdy starts, the better for Kittle’s fantasy valueMcCaffrey, Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk return for the ‘Niners this season. It’s stiff target competition for Kittle.The 49ers have ranked bottom-7 in pass attempts in three of the last four seasons, including each of the last two. Overall passing volume is a concern for Kittle.Kittle turns 30 in August. Our aging-curve research shows that TEs of Kittle’s quality generally produce at around 80-85% of their peak at age 30. That’s down from 90% at age 29.Kittle has only once played a full NFL season. He’s missed a 16 games total over the last six years.

Kittle is entering his seventh NFL season in search of his sixth consecutive finish of fourth or better in fantasy PPG. He finished second in 2022, but got quite lucky in the TD department (his TE-high 12.8% TD rate was three times his prior career rate), which overshadowed a concerning 16% target share (4.2 per game) and 10.2 fantasy PPG (would've ranked eighth over the full season) during nine full games with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Kittle has some durability concerns, having completed one full regular season (2018) in six tries. He remains a fine TE1 option, but with more target competition than ever before, it's possible the 29-year-old settles in as more of a midrange starter than the top-end play he's been in recent years.

2023 Fantasy Football Rankings

Standard

#56

PPR

#59

Half-PPR

#54

Superflex

#72

2023 Fantasy Football Draft Projections

Rush Yds Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD
58.4 740.2 5.6

2023 Average Draft Position (ADP)

Standard

#53

Pick 5.05

PPR

#53

Pick 5.05

Half-PPR

#58

Pick 5.10

Superflex

#66

Pick 6.06

Injury Risk

Injury Risk:
High

Depth Chart

Strength of Schedule

Easy Season Ahead
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Fantasy Playoffs
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