George Kittle has led the 49ers in receiving yards the past two seasons. His 1,377 yards in 2018 set an NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. 2020 marks the final season of his four-year rookie contract, and his next deal is expected to make him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL, and the Athletic reports it could "approach" terms of the top receivers in the league. They're most likely right. And fantasy owners can expect to pay up just like the Niners. Per NFL.com, Kittle missed two games in 2019, but he still tied Travis Kelce for the most fantasy points scored per game (15.9). He finished second in double-digit performances (11) and only Kelce had more games with 20-plus point games. NextGen Stats show that Kittle led the NFL in receiving yards per route run in 2019 with 3.3 (among those who ran a minimum of 100 routes). And there's no reason to believe that's going to change.
Unless the contract becomes an issue. Nobody is talking holdout, but NFL Network's Mike Silver reported on Jul. 31 that the two sides are far apart. Could it become contentious? That's worth watching -- even if it's not worth dialing back on Kittle come draft day.
2020 Bottom Line
Here's why it's not worth dialing back: According to FantasyPros, Kittle, who failed to produce top-20 numbers in just one game, compiled a 79.4 percent catch-rate in 2019, the third highest mark of all-time among tight ends who've seen at least 50 targets. But CBSSports.com offers this to seal the deal: "The 15.2 PPR Fantasy points per game [Kittle] averaged was on par with Allen Robinson's 15.5, and Robinson finished as a top-10 receiver." So, no. Given positional scarcity, TE2 is not too high (and Round 2 is not too early).