Once upon a time, a young George Kittle took fantasy football very seriously.
The 49ers tight end joined NBC Sports' "Fantasy Football Hour" with Matthew Berry on Friday from Super Bowl Radio Row in Phoenix, where he was asked if he'd ever played fantasy football.
Not only had he played, but Kittle was extremely focused on his job as a fantasy football general manager.
"When I was actually a really young kid, like 7 or 8, this was like [my] first or second fantasy football [team] ever," Kittle said. "I was so excited about the fantasy football draft because it was a specific date, someone else set it, and my dad was playing -- he was just helping me. I thought you actually got to meet the players and draft them onto your football team as a kid. I was like, 'This is going to be awesome. I get to meet all these great players, I get to meet Brian Urlacher' and all this stuff. That's not how it works.
"I haven't played in about three years, but early on in my career, I would always play. It was really fun."
Kittle continued playing fantasy football during college at Iowa and even as a professional in the NFL. However, Kittle never was able to draft himself.
"Because all my friends draft me before I get the pick. And I'm not going to draft myself first if I have the first pick," Kittle added. "Drafting a tight end first doesn't make sense unless you're picking Travis Kelce, who gets 10 targets a game. He's going to get 100 yards a game minimum. That's a great pick. But other than that, that's not usually my first pick. I usually pick Christian McCaffrey with my first pick because I think he's the best player in football, honestly."
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Kittle has been one of the top fantasy tight ends ever since his record-breaking 2018 season, in which he caught 88 passes for 1,377 yards with five touchdowns, and usually is the second or third player off the board at his position.
Although it would have been fun to draft himself, Kittle, the wise fantasy GM that he is, knows better than to reach for a player he wants.