After reading and participating in some rigorous debate, I’m ready to declare my side the winner. Travis Kelce is the NFL’s best TE, and he’s proven it.
Kelce has more competition for targets
While it’s a good luxury to have, having a legion of zoom, means Kelce gets fewer targets. While Kelce still had more targets in 2018 (only year both played 16 games), that’s doing so with Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, Demetrius Harris, throw in running backs too. Per Pro Football Reference, Tyreek had 137 targets, a banged-up Sammy had 55, Chris Conley and D-Rob combined for 85 targets, Harris had 25 targets, all drops…kidding, 97 targets for running backs, and yes, Sherm too. That’s a lot of targets not coming Kelce’s way, how he managed to get 150 is a testament to his superior route-running skills.
Kittle has competition too
While 2018 wasn’t a year you’d hear a 9ers fan brag about, Kittle was a bright spot. Kittle had 136 targets, resulting in 1377 receiving yards and five touchdowns. What stands out are his yards per reception, a staggering 15.6, not bad for a TE. Kittle shined with Jimmy Grappolo being out and that’s worth some consideration. Even so, adding up targets for both teams, Kittle has the advantage. The 49ers have 378 targets without Kittle’s, while the Chiefs had 414 without Kelce’s. For me, this shows that Kelce does more, with less. (All stats from, Pro Reference Football)
- In 2019 Travis Kelce led TE’s with the most catches for a first down, or touchdown, per @PFF.
- Since 2017 Kelce leads Kittle in 15+ yard plays. Kelce:100, Kittle:69 (Yes, Kelce played more games, the gap is still too big) per @PFF
- 2019 playoff stats for Kelce: 19 catches, 207 yards, 4 touchdowns (Per Pro Football Reference)
- 2019 playoff stats for Kittle: 8 catches, 71 yards, 0 touchdowns (Per Pro Football Reference)
- Since 2017, Kelce: 47 games started, 76.7 YPG, 3603 yards, 23 TDs, 69.3 catch % (nice), an average of 94.3 reception per year. (Per Pro Football Reference)
- Since 2017, Kittle: 37 games started, 65.4 YPG, 2945 yards, 12 TDs, 70.6 catch %, an average of 72 receptions per year. (Per Pro Football Reference)
- Travis Kelce is the only TE in NFL history with four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
- 6,367 yards through his first seven seasons (Most of any TE through 7 seasons)
- Franchise record for most receptions in a single season
While I believe, George Kittle is a legitimate threat to Travis Kelce’s throne, he should have to prove it. Kelce has consistently been the top guy, on a top tier offense. I truly believe if Travis Kelce was in Geroge Kittle’s position, he would have 170 targets and better numbers. But, as I’ve said, George Kittle will have to prove Chiefs Kingdom wrong if he wants the throne…. the targets are available! Good Luck!