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Can George Kittle’s snap counts increase in 2018?

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George Kittles snap counts decayed as the season went on. While still productive, he wasn’t utilized near as much as he was the first six games of the season. Can he be a big player in 2018?

ESPN’s Mike Clay put together some breakdowns on player projections and their relation to fantasy and had an interesting breakdown regarding San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle. Notably how he was on the field for 77 percent of the snaps for the first six games in 2017. That number, along with others declined for the final 9 games.

49ers TE George Kittle was on the field for 77 percent of the team’s snaps, ran a route on 73 percent of the team’s pass plays and handled a 13 percent target share during Weeks 1-6 last season. Those marks were 44 percent, 46 percent and 10 percent during his final nine games. While Kittle was fantasy’s No. 10 tight end during Jimmy Garoppolo’s five starts to wind down the season, the drastic dip in usage should certainly be viewed as a red flag.

Clay does note Kittle has chance to be a breakout player this season, mostly due to the fact the 49ers have not added a tight end in free agency. The first six games of the season were all games where Brian Hoyer started under center. As we all know, C.J. Beathard took over for a handful of games until the 49ers let Jimmy Garoppolo take the keys in the final five games.

The latter end of the season saw Kittle prove solid despite the reduction in workload. Garrett Celek was sprinkled in as well. With Jimmy Garoppolo having better familiarity with the offense. Do you see Kittle regaining his early dominance on the snap counts?