I’d like to see anyone try and put up the kind of numbers Kittle did last year while competing with Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, AND Christian McCaffrey. He’s still one of the most talented tight ends in the league at 29 years old, and he’s one of the best creators after the catch on an offense that’s designed to rely on that a ton.
Kittle checked all of the boxes last year on a season-long basis, scoring a 75+% route participation (78%). His 24.5% air yards share was 3rd among all TEs with 50+ targets in 2023, and his 17.8% target share was 7th among those same TEs. He was also essentially 1st in yards after contact per reception with 2.87, finishing behind both Jordan Akins and Foster Moreau - they both barely made the cut by having exactly 50 targets apiece. Kittle was also 2nd in points per game with 13.4 – and all of this despite playing with three different quarterbacks.
But it’s his numbers with the quarterback he’ll be playing with this year that I want to really focus on. In the six games that Brock Purdy started in 2022 between Weeks 13-18, he was among the best in the league in nearly every metric.
27.9% Air yards share (5th among all TEs in that span)
19.8% Target Share (tied with McCaffrey during that time frame)
2.09 yards per route run (4th), and most importantly,
16.3 PPR points per game (1st)
That’s a monster TE1 on an offense that already features three other great fantasy weapons. Kittle benefits from playing on a very good, balanced offense, so there will be plenty of scoring opportunities for him this season.
And before you start with the “his stats were inflated by touchdowns argument”, let’s just take away four of his touchdowns and yardage equivalent to his average yards per reception between Weeks 13-18 multiplied by four receptions. Take away those points, and you go from the TE1 in FPPG (16.3) to just the TE7 on the season (11.4 PPG)!
Kittle has a very safe floor as long as he stays healthy and Brock Purdy remains at quarterback.