Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers lead the league in average yards after the catch, per NFL Matchup

Nov 8, 2018 at 10:16 AM--

ESPN's NFL Matchup posted the following breakdown which takes a look at which teams are leading the league when it comes to yards after the catch. It may shock some fans to learn that the 2-7 San Francisco 49ers lead the league in that category.

Of course, most of that is due to second-year tight end George Kittle, who is on pace for a record-breaking franchise season. His 41 catches for 692 yards ranks second among tight ends, behind only Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs. Kelce, however, has more receptions than Kittle, who leads the league (tied with O.J. Howard of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) in yards per reception among tight ends at 16.9.

Kittle has been the 49ers' most explosive playmaker this season, and it's not even close. He has 490 yards after the catch, according to Pro Football Focus. The next closest tight end is Kelce with 335 yards after the catch.

That means nearly 71 percent of his yards have been gained after hauling in the football. Kittle has been earning an average of 12 yards after the catch, which is tops in the NFL among tight ends with more than 12 receptions. The next closest is former 49ers tight end Vance McDonald with an average of 8.9.

The rest of the 49ers' targets have not fared as well. If anything, they are dragging down the team's average. No 49ers wide receiver ranks in the top 50 at his position when it comes to total yards after the catch. Although, Marquise Goodwin is averaging 8.2 yards after each reception, which ranks No. 13 in the NFL. Richie James and Dante Pettis also have a high average, but only 12 receptions between the two.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk leads the team's backs with 134 yards after the catch, which ranks No. 33 among NFL running backs. That makes sense because he has experience playing tight end at Harvard.

"Rarely does anyone want to be a fullback," Juszczyk recently told Joe Fann of "You become a fullback by necessity. I was a tight end who was too short. That's what my agent told me during the pre-draft process."

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