The 2018 NFL season has not been great to the tight end position. Through Week 4, we have already seen huge injuries to guys like Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker and Hunter Henry. If that weren’t enough, we have seen a ton of inconsistency with players such as Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Trey Burton.
Due to all of this, George Kittle has emerged as one of the top options on a weekly basis for fantasy owners. In full ppr leagues, Kittle has put up at least 14 fantasy points in 3 of the first 4 weeks. In terms of dynasty, Kittle is a huge buy for me at this point. I think it is time to start considering Kittle as a top 7 option at the position.
Current Tight End Landscape
The major reason for my bullishness on Kittle is the fact that there just aren’t many good, young tight ends to be excited about. Once you get outside of the consensus top 4, fantasy owners are desperately hoping for one of these young talented tight ends to start producing on a consistent basis. We have been waiting on the likes of Hunter Henry, Trey Burton and Eric Ebron, but for a variety of reasons, these guys haven’t been able to produce like a top 5 TE on a consistent basis. Kittle is starting to look like the option we have been looking for the past couple of years. He is young, connected to a young nucleus in San Francisco and is starting to produce on a regular basis. So far in 2018, he has received 28 targets, which have turned into 18 receptions for 316 yards and 1 touchdown. His 18 receptions is tied for 4th amongst tight ends. Kittle has been on the field for 92% of the 49ers offensive plays and continues to show the coaching staff that he deserves every one of those snaps. As Kittle continues to develop and gains chemistry in this San Francisco offense, there is no ceiling to Kittle and his fantasy production.
Kittle is an Athletic Freak
On top of having opportunity in what is a brutal tight end landscape, Kittle one of the best athletes at the tight end position. During his workouts at the 2017 NFL Draft Combine, Kittle scored off the charts. He finished in the 89th percentile or higher in the 40-Yard Dash, Speed Score, Burst Score, Agility Score and Catch Radius. This means that he finished better then at least 89% of the participants in all of those tests. Kittle showed that his athleticism translates to the field in a huge 82 yard touchdown reception during his Week 4 matchup against the Chargers. Not many tight ends in the game have the ability to produce an 82 yard reception. If Kittle can continue to use his athleticism to produce big plays, he will have upside that most tight ends just do not have in the NFL
The NFC West
One of the things that makes somebody a top fantasy option is opportunity. I think that being a starting tight end in the NFC West will give Kittle a ton of opportunity to produce. The NFC features one of the most electric offenses in the league with the Los Angelos Rams, a top 5 QB with Russel Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals, who have David Johnson and Josh Rosen, who they hope becomes their franchise quarterback. The fact is that this division is going to be producing offense. If the 49ers want to be contenders in the NFC, they are going to have to score a ton of points to keep up with those other 3 teams. This should give Kittle a ton of opportunity to produce in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.