Start George Kittle In Fantasy Football Championships: Our Updated Rankings & Advice for Handling the Tight End
Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images. Pictured: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
George Kittle fantasy football managers received an early gift when 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed that the tight end would be active on Saturday.
It didn’t take much convincing, according to Kittle.
“He asked me if I wanted to play,” Kittle told reporters, “and I said, ‘Hell, yes.’ And he said, ‘Sounds good.’”
Is that enough convincing to start him in your fantasy football championship or Saturday DFS lineup?
Kittle has played in six games this season, most recently dealing with a broken bone in his foot. He’s caught 37 passes for 474 yards with two touchdowns, including two games topping 100 yards.
He’ll join an offense missing its top two quarterbacks in Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens. Running back Raheem Mostert and wide receiver Deebo Samuel are also out.
While Shanahan said Kittle will be one of the healthiest players the team has on Saturday, he won’t be at 100% and will see the field on a pitch count.
“He hasn’t been playing a lot of football here in a while, so we’ve got to be smart with that,” Shanahan said. “We don’t expect him to go in there and play 95 percent of the plays like he usually does. We’ll be smart with him.”
Our experts weigh in on how that should inform your lineup decisions.
Start George Kittle in Fantasy Football Championships?
There is nothing more frustrating than projecting a player who is on “a pitch count.”
I was already projecting Kittle to play in a limited role. However, I’ll be updating his projection as we get more information. I would hold off on making any sit/start decisions until lineups lock for that game Saturday afternoon.
Even if he is “limited” to passing downs or red-zone packages, he would put up top-five value, and I anticipate I’ll be ranking him somewhere between TE4-TE10.
I hate rostering players in their return from injury, because rarely do we have a strong sense for how they will be used. And I especially hate this situation in the fantasy playoffs, when even the smallest mistakes can have massive consequences.
So I’m taking a cautious approach with Kittle.
But even so…the tight end position is just so bad, and Kittle’s upside is immense.
He should be ranked behind the clear top guys at the position: Travis Kelce and Darren Waller. He should probably be ranked behind Mark Andrews. After them, it’s a conversation.
If you seek a ceiling performance, Kittle should probably be the play after those three. If you want to lock in an elevated floor, I think it’s fine to go with T.J. Hockenson and maybe even Logan Thomas, Noah Fant, and Dallas Goedert over Kittle. It all depends on how much risk you want to assume.
In Championship Week, I generally want to avoid as much unnecessary risk as possible.