TE George Kittle - San Francisco 49ers
|6-4, 247||Born: 10-9-1993||College: Iowa||Drafted: Round 5, pick 2017|
News you need to know
General News (Fri Jan 17): practiced fully on Friday and is not on the team's injury report. He will be available to play this week. Kittle said his ankle is feeling "fabulous" Friday, Jan. 17.
General News (Thu Jan 16): practiced fully on Thursday.
General News (Wed Jan 15): did not practice on Tuesday. Kittle has ankle soreness from Saturday's game, according to beat writer Eric Branch, who added Kittle was observed walking in the locker room without a limp.
Week 20: vs Green Bay Packers
FBG says: Neutral matchup. The San Francisco 49ers' divisional-round game against the Minnesota Vikings was another low-volume day for Jimmy Garoppolo and the team's passing attack. On the day, Garoppolo only attempted 19 passes, an incredibly low total that aligns closely with the team's season-long offensive fingerprint. San Francisco's passing game was the 4th-lowest volume unit in the league, posting a mediocre 28-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio, but an impressive 7.4 net yards per attempt, which was good for 3rd in the league. Last weekend's distribution of targets closely resembled the season-long trends for 49ers' pass-catchers. Tight end George Kittle remains one of the premier players at his position, and he is the team's number-one option through the air. Them, out wide, Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders are both strong secondary options for Jimmy Garoppolo. Samuel, specifically, is an electric playmaker after the catch, and the 49ers make a concerted effort to get him the ball in space. On the other hand, Sanders is a refined route-runner who makes a living by beating defensive backs thanks to his attention to detail. Overall, Jimmy Garoppolo's erratic performance, coupled with typically low volume through the air for the unit, makes this passing attack a highly-volatile unit overall. Green Bay's pass defense allowed mediocre efficiency totals through the air, but much like their offense, an astounding touchdown-to-interception ratio salvaged strong overall numbers against opposing passing attacks this year. The Packers defended the 18th-most passing attempts, allowing middle-of-the-pack yardage totals on the 18th-ranked net yards per attempt mark in the league. Along their defensive line, the Packers field three top-flight pass-rushers. Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith combined for 25.5 sacks during the regular season off the edge. In between them, Kenny Clark is one of the league's best interior pass-rushers, and he posted six sacks of his own this year. The weakness of this defense in coverage is at the second level, where the Packers have a notable lack of capable pass-defenders. This void in the defense helped enable 4 different opposing tight ends to record at least 6 receptions for 84 yards through the air this season, including George Kittle, who went for 129 yards and a score on 6 receptions against Green Bay in Week 12. The Packers' defensive backfield, however, is one of the league's strongest. At cornerback, Tramon Williams and Jaire Alexander are both top-end pass-defenders, and at safety Adrian Amos has proven to be an elite offseason acquisition. Overall, this unit's strengths in the trenches and in the secondary help to mask the weakness at linebacker, salvaging league-average totals against the pass. This weekend, should the 49ers rely on a pass-heavy gameplan, their efficient passing offense should look to focus on exploiting the weak link in Green Bay's defense. In total, this grades as a neutral matchup for the San Francisco passing attack.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs TE 1, TE 12, TE 24
George Kittle's percentile rank in each category, among TE with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2019 Week 19 vs MIN (5 / 3 / 16 / 0 rec)
Kittle was a force as a run blocker, but quiet as a receiver in this one. He had a drop on the first drive, but then got the ball on a reception inside the five, setting up Kendrick Bourne's score. His biggest contribution in the passing game was breaking up a ball that should have been picked. He had two goal to go targets in the second half on a screen pass and a shovel pass, but neither was successful.
2019 Week 17 vs SEA (7 / 7 / 86 / 0 rec, 1 / 7 / 0 rush)
There's not much to say about Kittle's performance in this game that hasn't been said already about this and every other performance. His consistency of greatness is his hallmark. So instead, one thing outside the box score worth mentioning is that, Seattle chose to use linebackers (esp. Bobby Wagner) and safeties against Kittle, which marks the third consecutive game he's torched a team using this strategy -- immediately after Baltimore and New Orleans shut him down (relatively speaking) using more of a cornerback-based strategy.
2019 Week 16 vs LAR (8 / 5 / 79 / 1 rec)
Kittle was neutralized by a cavalcade of linebackers and safeties -- until one fourth quarter drive that gave San Franccisco the lead with six minutes left. To start said drive, Kittle ran uncovered through the Rams' zone for a 36-yard gain because Eric Weddle double-covered Deebo Samuel's go route with Jalen Ramsey, thereby leaving the strong-side intermediate level vacant. And at the end of said drive, Kittle scored on a scramble drill in the red zone. He was inititally double-covered by Corey Littleton and Taylor Rapp; but when Jimmy Garoppolo broke contain and rolled to his right, Kittle was able to escape from Littleton long enough to come open at the goal line.
2019 Week 15 vs ATL (17 / 13 / 134 / 0 rec)
Kittle's big day happened because, for whatever reason, Atlanta decided to mostly use linebackers in coverage against Kittle, which was the exact opposite of what Baltimore and New Orleans had done to keep him relatively quiet the previous two weeks. That said, there may have been a method to Atlanta's madness, as none of Kittle's targets provided opportunities for big plays. Rather, everything involved either an underneath throw, minimal opportunity for yards after catch, or both.
2019 Week 14 vs NO (8 / 6 / 67 / 1 rec)
Kittle's two highlight-reel plays accounted for almost everything he produced in the box score, so one might ask: Why did he have such a quiet game otherwise? Well, in the first three quarters, all but three of his pass snaps involved either staying in to pass block or being expertly covered by the Saints' zone. The one time he wasn't expertly covered by said zone was the dive-at-the-pylon touchdown we all saw. In the fourth quarter, however, New Orleans started covering him man-to-man much more with a procession of defensive backs, which made it harder to get open. His main opponent was nickel safety Chauncey Gardner-JOhnson, who took great pride -- and demonstrably showed it -- in his success against Kittle. Then 4th-and-2 happened, wherein Gardner-Johnson was badly beaten on a quick out route, and then both he and the Saints' chances of winning were left in the dust after Kittle caught the ball.
2019 Week 13 vs BAL (4 / 2 / 17 / 0 rec, 1 / -3 / 0 rush)
Kittle's quiet day was the result of three things. First, wet conditions and a near-unstoppable running game meant Kittle stayed in to block more than he has since prior to his injury. Second, the Ravens expertly employed an extra defensive back to cover Kittle with a combination of man and zone. Of those man-to-man routes, only once was he covered by a linebacker.
2019 Week 12 vs GB (6 / 6 / 129 / 1 rec)
Kittle didn't really get going until gaining 40 yards on consecutive plays midway through the second quarter. On the first, he beat Adrian Amos on a quick slant for 3 yards of catch and 15 yards of run. On the next play, Green Bay vacated the middle of the field, and Kittle ran completely uncovered through it for a 22-yard reception. Another 22-yard reception came on San Francisco's last-minute field goal drive to end the first half, wherein Kittle sat down between a Packers' linebacker and safety in their deep middle zone. Finally, Kittle put the game completely out of reach late in the third quarter with a 61-yard touchdown. That play was mostly Kyle Shanahan inducing confusion in the secondary, and thereby scheming receivers completely uncovered.
2019 Week 9 vs ARI (8 / 6 / 79 / 1 rec)
After taking a direct hit to his knee on San Francisco's first play, Kittle did well simply continuing in the game, let alone having his typical productive performance. Two-thirds of his receiving yardage and his first quarter touchdown came on only two plays. For his touchdown, Kittle beat the press man coverage of safety Budda Baker on a quick slant out of the right slot. He then stiff-armed Baker at the 10-yard line to finish off his run after the catch. In the third quarter, Kittle had a 23-yard catch wherein he beat linebacker Jordan Hicks on a quick slant across the middle. This was one of several times Arizona chose to cover Kittle with a linebacker for some reason.
2019 Week 8 vs CAR (7 / 6 / 86 / 0 rec)
In what has to be trolling from someone, somewhere, Kittle once again had a touchdown nullified by penalty. Another red zone touchdown was prevented by the pass interference of safety Eric Reid. Later in the game, he beat Reid down the seam for 25 yards. On Kittle's 29-yard first quarter reception, linebacker Shaq Thompson covered him downfield, but then passed him off to a deep defender who was nowhere to be found. The rest of Kittle's yardage came on a couple of tight ends screens, which Kyle Shanahan hadn't used to a significant extent this season.
2019 Week 7 vs WAS (5 / 3 / 38 / 0 rec, 2 / 0 / 0 rush)
All three of Kittle's catches came on 3rd-and-long, and all three converted first downs. The latter two of these were especially crucial, as they extended both of San Francisco's fourth-quarter scoring drives. There wasn't much more receiving output available than that given the playing conditions. Perhaps that's why Kyle Shanahan introduced a new wrinkle in his Kittle usage; namely, handing the ball off to him? If anything, this just further confirms Kittle's taken over a good portion of the fullback role vacated by Kyle Juszczyk's injury.
2019 Week 6 vs LAR (8 / 8 / 103 / 0 rec)
With Kyle Juszczyk out injured, Kittle lined up in the backfield relatively frequently. His longest reception of the game (45 yards) came out of this presnap alignment, with Kittle faking a lead block in play-action, and (somehow) going completely uncovered into the Rams zone. From there, he stiff-armed one would-be tackler and carried three others down to the 6-yard line a la Mark Bavaro. Kittle also came up big on a second quarter drive that started with the 49ers backed up into the shadow of their own goal posts. In the span of two plays, both Kittle receptions, San Francisco went from 3rd-and-6 from the 5-yard line to 1st-and-10 at the 27.
2019 Week 5 vs CLE (8 / 6 / 70 / 1 rec, 1 / 18 / 0 rush)
Kittle did his usual Kittle things (i.e., being the straw that stirs both the passing game and running game drinks), so let's focus on his 22-yard touchdown catch. It turns out that this was just a blown coverage by safety Morgan Burnett. Cleveland initially lined up in three-deep coverage, but Kyle Juszczyk's presnap shift to slot receiver made Burnett shade towards that side of the field. The problem was that when Juszczyk ran down the seam, Burnett -- for whatever reason -- chose to double-team him with the linebacker instead of covering Kittle, thereby leaving him wide open for the touchdown.
2019 Week 3 vs PIT (8 / 6 / 57 / 0 rec)
Kittle's biggest impact came late in the fourth quarter during San Francisco's game-winning drive. To start things off, he turned what should have been a 4-yard gain into a 9-yard gain by making multiple defenders miss. Later in the drive, he drew a defensive holding penalty on safety Mark Barron that turned a 3rd-and-11 into a 1st-and-goal.
2019 Week 2 vs CIN (3 / 3 / 54 / 0 rec)
Kittle had less fantasy production than in Week 1 because a) San Francisco repeatedly exploited his advantage as a run blocker over Cincinnati's outside defenders, and b) he was seemingly priority number one for Cincinnati's safeties regardless of what else was happening on the play. To this latter point, Marquise Goodwin's wide-open, first-quarter touchdown was thanks in part to Jessie Bates III, who was the last line of defense as a single-high safety, biting hard on Kittle's short route across the middle.
2019 Week 1 vs TB (10 / 8 / 54 / 0 rec)
In a sign of what's likely to come this season, Kittle was targeted four times on the 49ers' first drive alone. One of those targets doesn't show up in his stats because it was an 8-yard touchdown nullified by penalty. Then, late in the first half, Kittle had yet another touchdown taken off the scoreboard. Even though it didn't count, this one was Kittle's most impressive play of the game, as he bounced off 214-pound safety Darian Stewart's tackle attempt as if he wasn't even there.
Latest News49ers | Full practice for George Kittle (Fri Jan 17, 05:55 PM) - San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (ankle) fully participated in practice Friday, Jan. 17, and is not on the injury report for the NFC Championship game. link to story 49ers | George Kittle improving (Fri Jan 17, 11:33 AM) - San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (ankle) said his ankle is feeling 'fabulous' Friday, Jan. 17. Our View: Kittle was a fantasy non-factor last week because the 49ers cruised to a victory on the back of the defense and running game. He could be more important as a receiver if the Packers have more success on offense than they did in a 37-8 loss to the 49ers earlier this year.
link to story 49ers | George Kittle back as full participant (Thu Jan 16, 02:22 PM) - San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (ankle) was a full participant in practice Thursday, Jan. 16, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Our View: Kittle is as ready to go as possible. The NFC Championship Game is where guys like Kittle make huge plays. We're excited to see who comes out on top.
link to story 49ers | SF being cautious with George Kittle (Wed Jan 15, 07:39 PM) - Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (ankle) was held out of practice Wednesday, Jan. 15, because he was dealing with soreness in his ankle after the Divisional Round playoff game. His status for the NFC Championship game does not appear to be in question at this point. link to story 49ers | George Kittle misses practice (Wed Jan 15, 06:39 PM) - San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 15. Our View: Kittle might be limited on Thursday and then perhaps full on Friday. We'll see the team be careful with their superstar tight end as they prepare for the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.
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