Receiver Roundup: San Francisco 49ers
By Cody Smith
As we move on to the second team in our Receiver Roundup I’ve decided to stick with the NFC West and break down a team that doesn’t quite seem to have as many stars as last edition’s Los Angeles Rams.
The San Francisco 49ers battled through multiple quarterback injuries in 2018 using three different quarterbacks throughout the season. Jimmy Garoppolo started the first three games of the season before being sidelined by an ACL tear. Quaterback duties were then handed to former Iowa Hawkeye C.J. Beathard who started five games before being sidelined with a wrist injury, opening the door for the young Nick Mullins to start the final eight games of the season.
Garoppolo is still being limited at OTAs, but according to Nick Wagoner on Twitter, he remains on track to return for training camp. This means - as of now - fantasy owners can expect a full season with Garoppolo under center which is certainly a boost for the team’s receiving corps.
The team’s current top returning option seems to be Dante Pettis. Last season Pettis played in 12 games and hauled in 27 receptions for 467 yards and five touchdowns. Pettis and Garoppolo began last season with a nice connection as Pettis caught three balls for 96 yards and a touchdown in two games before the Garoppolo injury.
Pettis dealt with an injury himself before coming back and becoming Mullins’ top receiving option over the final seven games of the season. In the final seven games Pettis was targeted 37 times and caught 24 of those targets for 371 yards and four touchdowns. Over that span, Pettis averaged 12.1 fantasy points per game (PPR) including a 29.9 point performance in Week 9 against the Seahawks.
In the four-week span from week 12 through week 15, Pettis was the eighth best wide receiver in all of fantasy.
Currently being drafted at the end of round eight and the beginning of round nine, Pettis is an excellent value should he step up in his sophomore campaign and lead the 49ers receiving corps. Pettis offers flex value with upside and is definitely worth his current ADP.
The 49ers also invested a lot of draft stock in improving the wide receiver position. San Francisco selected Deebo Samuel out of South Carolina with the 36th overall pick in the 2019 draft and also selected Jalen Hurd out of Baylor with the 67th overall pick.
Currently Samuel is the only other San Francisco receiver being drafted for fantasy football purposes on a regular basis. With an ADP in the final round, Samuel battled through injuries - mainly a bum hamstring - for the majority of his college career, but as a senior last season, was able to grab 62 receptions for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Gamecocks.
Samuel is listed at 5-foot-11 and 214 pounds and could be a do-it-all threat for the 49ers this season. Value Samuel a little higher in leagues where kickoff and punt return yards are rewarded, as he could push for kick return duties throughout the preseason.
Samuel is certainly worth a late-round flyer as I believe he will be the No.2 wide receiver for the 49ers in short order. For dynasty purposes I believe Samuel is a good tail-end of the first round pick. He should certainly be off the board by the beginning of the second round due to the fact that he should begin to contribute right away.
Fellow rookie Jalen Hurd should not be on radars in redraft leagues and is more of a mid-round pick in dynasty drafts. Hurd is a Tavon Austin-type receiver who transitioned from running back to slot receiver after transferring from Tennessee to Baylor after his Junior season.
As a senior, Hurd collected 946 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 69 receptions in the high-flying Baylor offense. I see Hurd’s talent as still being quite raw as he only has one full season of wide receiver under his belt. He may eventually become an asset to fantasy football teams, but I don’t believe that happens this season.
Marquise Goodwin turned out to be a fantasy dud in 2018. Many had high hopes for the fleet-of-foot wide-out coming into a season where the duo of his speed and Garopollo’s arm enticed many a fantasy owner.
Unfortunately not only did Garopollo end up injured, but Goodwin battled injuries of his own and eventually took a back seat to the likes of Dante Pettis, George Kittle and even Kendrick Bourne.
According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, the 49ers are thinking of using Goodwin similarly to how Taylor Gabriel was used in Atlanta when current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was offensive coordinator there.
The one season these two were together (2016) Gabriel posted middle-of-the-road numbers, catching 35 passes for 579 yards and six touchdowns. Gabriel was used as more of a deep threat, averaging 11.6 yards per target.
The downside is that Gabriel was only on the field that season for 34 percent of snaps. If this is the route the 49ers decide to go with Goodwin, his fantasy value is certainly capped quite low.
I could see the 49ers employing this strategy with Goodwin in an attempt to keep the receiver healthy. Currently being undrafted, I don’t believe Goodwin possesses much fantasy value this season. He may be worth a late-round flyer, but I’m willing to wait it out and grab him off of the waiver wire should he actually be productive.
The other three receivers that may make the 53-man roster include Kendrick Bourne, Jordan Matthews and Trent Taylor. These three also carry next to no value with Matthews coming off of a 20 catch, 300 yard season with the Eagles and Bourne coming off of his 42 catch, 487 yard sophomore campaign in San Francisco. Taylor had 26 receptions, 215 yards and one touchdown for the 49ers last year as well.
There need to be significant injuries to the top receivers for either of these two to carry any value.
Leave a comment to let me know what you expect out of the 49ers receivers this coming season. Also let me know what teams you want to be broken down next! Next edition will focus on the receivers worth drafting for the Seattle Seahawks.