Sleeper Series: Kendrick Bourne
By Cody Smith
In the third installment of the sleeper series, I’m looking at the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers are facing a rough transition on offense. The team traded away part of its four-headed monster at running back when it dealt Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins on draft day.
The team also lost Emmanuel Sanders to the New Orleans Saints in free agency after acquiring him last season for a playoff push.
Later in the off-season news broke that Deebo Samuel had broken a bone in his foot and may not be ready for the start of the regular season, and the wide receiver injuries didn’t stop there.
Richie James Jr. broke a hand during a workout, Travis Benjamin opted out of the season due to COVID-19, Jalen Hurd tore an ACL while doing individual drills, Brandon Aiyuk pulled a hammy and just this week Tavon Austin landed on the IR with a knee injury.
This has all left the receiving corps decimated and looking for a true number-one option.
It is yet to be seen who will truly step up, but one name that stands out to me is Kendrick Bourne.
Bourne is a fourth-year wide receiver out of Eastern Washington and he currently looks like the top candidate to begin the regular season as the San Francisco 49ers number one wide receiver.
Surprisingly, Bourne’s best season came in 2018 when he started eight games for the 49ers and caught 42 passes for 487 yards and four touchdowns in a season where the team relied on Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard at quarterback for the majority of the season.
Despite a drop in overall production in 2019, Bourne posted a career-high five touchdowns which tied tight end George Kittle for most touchdown receptions on the team. This clearly makes him a favorite target of Jimmy Garoppolo in the red zone, which gives Bourne the potential to have a nice fantasy floor.
Bourne also set a career high in depth-of-target at 8.1 yards and a career-high catch percentage of just over 68%.
This proves that Bourne has been able to produce in the past and could now find himself with the best opportunity in his short career to produce.
Bourne can currently be had in the draft for literally nothing. He is currently not being drafted in the top-200 players according to Fantasy Football Calculator and he may end up as WR1 on his team early in the season!
The upside is totally there for Bourne, which makes him an attractive flyer late in drafts, and one that I will certainly have my eye on.