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 has been excellent for the past 3 seasons, leading all TEs in yards per route run and scoring as a top 3 fantasy TE each year. The durability concerns are a bit overblown. Prior to last year, he’d missed just 3 games over his first 3 NFL seasons.
Volume is a slight concern in 2021. Kittle will be vying for looks with WRs Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel in what figures to be a run-leaning offense, especially when rookie QB Trey Lance takes over. That’s enough to knock Kittle behind Travis Kelce and Darren Waller in our rankings. But he’s the clear #3 TE across scoring formats.
Kittle - like so many of his 49ers teammates - will be eyeing a bounceback this season following an injury-plagued 2020. Kittle missed eight games and, even when active, his fantasy output was a bit erratic, as he put up point totals of 40 and 24, but managed only one other top-12 week. The good news is that he was still heavily-targeted (7.9 per game), his efficiency was great (top-5 at TE in YPT and RAC for the third straight season), and his overall fantasy production was good (top-three in fantasy PPG for the third consecutive season). Believe it or not, Kittle has never cleared five TDs in a single season, but the 27-year-old makes up for it with heavy volume and yardage totals. He remains a top-three fantasy TE.
Kittle lost more than half his 2020 season to an onslaught of leg and foot injuries. But that doesn't dampen his massive appeal as he enters his age-28 season. It's early to call Kittle a Hall of Fame-level talent, but it's hard to overstate his impact on all facets of this offense's success. He took a commanding 24% of team targets when on the field, putting up numbers that extrapolate to 96-1,268-4 over 16 games. That came after back-to-back seasons with averages of 87-1,215-5. A dynamic playmaker, Kittle is used on multiple levels of the field, and is no stranger to being force-fed for long chunks. And, as one of the league's premier blockers at the position, he's virtually always on the field. That puts him squarely into the upper levels of high-ceiling, high-floor fantasy performers to target among the first 25-30 picks of any draft.