Updated Robert Tonyan, Hayden Hurst Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight End Options With George Kittle Doubtful

Updated Robert Tonyan, Hayden Hurst Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight End Options With George Kittle Doubtful article feature image

Logan Riely/Getty. Pictured: George Kittle.

  • Robert Tonyan and Hayden Hurst are high-upside fantasy football tight end options for Sunday's NFL Week 1 slate with George Kittle doubtful to play.
  • With Kittle a very popular fantasy football tight end, managers should hit the waiver wire to ensure they have an option in place if Kittle is inactive.
  • The Action Network's Samantha Previte details the top fantasy football waiver wire tight end options for Sunday's NFL Week 1 games.

After being hampered with a groin injury throughout the week, the 49ers are likely to rule George Kittle out of of their Week 1 contest against the Chicago Bears, according to Eric Branch.

Kittle was one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL throughout 2021 as he amassed 71 receptions, 910 yards and six touchdowns.

#49ers TE George Kittle is not expected to play vs. the Bears on Sunday due to the groin injury he suffered in practice Monday, per source.

— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) September 11, 2022

While he missed a few games due injury, Kittle was also one of the highest performing fantasy tight ends in the league, averaging 9.1 points per game over a 14-game span.

That number made him the fourth-highest producing tight end in fantasy football last year and he's slated to have another big season.

So, what are the implications of Kittle's injury?

Head of Action Network's predictive analytics team, Sean Koerner, notes that Kittle is worth approximately a point against the spread. While there are some variables on the numbers that play a role in that, Kittle does have notable projected influence on the outcome.

The spread of the Bears-49ers game has not moved off of its 49ers -6.5 number yet.

(For updated NFL spreads and totals, check out Action Network's live odds tool.)

In terms of what this means if you have Kittle in fantasy football, read on below for fantasy football expert Samantha Previte's commentary.

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Updated Fantasy Football Tight End Week 1 Rankings

If Kittle sits, fantasy managers should head to the waiver wire for other options. Charlie Woerner, Tyler Kroft and Ross Dwelley — none of which am I interested in rostering at this time — are next on the 49ers depth chart.

Some of my favorite fill-ins for Kittle who are widely available (over 50%) this week include:

– Robert Tonyan at the Vikings (22% rostered)
– Hayden Hurst vs. the Steelers (9% rostered)
– Austin Hooper vs. the Giants (45% rostered)
– Brevin Jordan vs. the Colts (2% rostered)
– Mo Alie-Cox at the Texans (10% rostered)
* Rostership percentages from Yahoo. 

Tonyan and Hurst stand out to me as widely available options with high upside. Tonyan is just two seasons removed from his TE3 finish in half PPR and may see an increased target share with Allen Lazard (ankle) doubtful to play on Sunday.

Hurst’s matchup isn’t great, but he is a former first-round pick on a stellar offense.

Kittle being out hurts quarterback Trey Lance slightly, though not enough to sit him in season-long leagues. I wanted to love him in DFS this week at $6,000 on DraftKings, but this news makes Lance significantly less attractive. I would consider him a low-end QB1 against a soft Bears defense.

Deebo Samuel should be considered a top 12 play this week with or without Kittle. Brandon Aiyuk could be the biggest beneficiary of a Kittle absence. From Week 9 onward, Aiyuk was the WR13 in half PPR. He offers WR3 value this week with significant upside.

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