Fantasy Upside The 49ers continued their trend of passing on drafting a receiving threat at tight end to go with George Kittle. Last season, Kittle was on injured reserve for nearly a month due to a calf injury. He finished the season with 71 receptions for 910 yards and a career-high six touchdowns. According to Pro Football Network's Jason Katz, Kittle is probably the best overall tight end in the NFL. Katz went on to note that's great for the 49ers, but from a fantasy perspective, we don't want our tight ends to be elite blockers. We want them running routes. Kittle has been a top-five tight end since he broke out in 2018 but has always felt a bit ceiling capped. His breakout season came in 2018. Kittle’s 1,377 receiving yards led all tight ends. He posted career-highs in targets (135), receptions (88), and yards per reception (15.6) as well. Following this breakout, however, Kittle's production stagnated. As Katz added: "By no means should anyone scoff at a guy who has averaged 14-16 points per game" for four consecutive seasons and finished no lower than fourth in any of them. So among the higher-end producers at this position, consistency is king.
Fantasy Downside According to 4for4.com's John Paulsen, with Trey Lance taking over at quarterback, there are likely to be fewer targets available as Lance takes off on more designed (and undesigned) runs. Kittle missed one of Lance’s two starts, but saw just two targets in Lance’s Week 17 start and only saw four of Lance’s 71 targets on the season. Paulsen added: "This isn’t a death knell to Kittle’s value, but it’s worrisome."
2022 Bottom Line Kittle might not be a league winner, but he still offers that weekly leverage over the field we need. That's what keeps him locked well inside the top five at this position.