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32 Teams in 32 Days: San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have one of the most exciting rosters when it comes to fantasy football. The overall youth of their roster construction also makes them one of the most attractive from a dynasty perspective. At nearly every position, the 49ers boast players who dynasty owners will be happy to roster in their leagues. Kyle Shanahan will be entering his 3rd season by the Bay in 2019. He has weathered the slow roster construction period of the rebuild and will now be able to finally implement the system he was hired for. Without further ado, let us delve into the San Francisco 49ers.

Studs:

George Kittle – George Kittle is one of those players whose enthusiasm for the game shines through. Last year the San Francisco TE put up arguably the best season ever by an NFL TE. As a result of his historic season, many in the dynasty community, myself included, have donned him with the mantle of the overall TE1 in dynasty fantasy football. He was an absolute beast last season when it came to YAC. Kittle managed to lead the entire NFL in YAC at 870 yards. This number alone would have put him top 5 in the league among TEs in yards. You can see from his numbers below that Kittle’s 2018 season was a true coming out party if there ever was one.

Despite his immense 2018, it would seem that George Kittle still has room for growth within the San Francisco system. For starters, Kittle lost his starting QB last year in week 3. The return of Jimmy Garoppolo will be an upgrade over the likes of C.J. Bethard and Nick Mullens. Another area where Kittle will be able to improve is his red-zone production. The return of Garoppolo will likely mean an increase in the overall offensive output of the team as a whole. More trips to the red zone mean more opportunities for touchdowns. During his historic 2018, Kittle only managed to score a meager 5 TDs. The likely increase in TD production should help to offset the yardage regression that could likely be in store for the talented former Iowa Hawkeye. At just 25 years old, George Kittle is the youngest of the three dominant TEs atop the dynasty rankings. Draft him with confidence and secure your TE spot for years to come. I would be remiss if I did not include the amazing highlight reel of his dominant sophomore campaign, so buckle up and enjoy the highlights of the best season ever by an NFL TE.

Duds:

San Francisco Backfield – There is very little indication who will lead the most crowded backfield in the NFL. This lack of clarity is the primary reason I have to lump them all into one single unit. Individually, I believe that Jerick McKinnon, Tevin Coleman, Matt Brieda, and Raheem Mostert are all talented. Along with Pro-Bowl FB Kyle Juszczyk, they make up the deepest RB group in the entire league. The Shanahan system has been famous for turning out incredible RB stats everywhere it has been implemented. The 2019 version of the San Francisco 49ers backfield has the markings of a hot-hand committee written all over it. I cannot blame owners for grabbing pieces of the 49ers backfield if they can get them for cheap. I simply cannot advise spending significant capital on any individual player within this murky backfield. Draft the San Francisco RBs at your own peril. 

Breakouts:

Jimmy Garoppolo – Jimmy GQ is the consummate dynasty tease. For years now, people have been talking up the debonair former University of Eastern Illinois product. Over the course of his first three seasons in the NFL, he was the understudy to possibly the greatest QB of all time, Tom Brady. Garoppolo enjoyed an amazing run of good publicity in New England. He garnered praise from the media during each and every training camp, and then he tagged along for the ride as his team went deep into the playoffs each and every year. Garoppolo collected hardware along with good publicity while backing up Brady, winning two Super Bowl rings. Halfway into his 4th and final season of his rookie contract, the Patriots attempted to recoup some of their draft capital and traded their talented QB to the San Francisco 49ers. Jimmy saw some action late in the season after gaining a rudimentary understanding of the system. During the last few games of 2017 and the first three of 2018, Garoppolo again teased us with his upside as you can see from his numbers below.

Through the first five seasons of his NFL career, Jimmy Garoppolo has precious few numbers to show for immense investment the 49ers have made in him. Some in the dynasty community are as high on Jimmy as the San Francisco brass, ranking him over younger players with far better stats, like Mitchell Trubisky for one. No matter what you or I think of him, Jimmy Garoppolo is primed to finally enjoy a breakout season in 2019. He will return all-world TE George Kittle, along with up-and-coming receiver Dante Pettis; the fastest man in the NFL, Marquise Goodwin; and rookie darling Deebo Samuel as his targets. The talented logjam in the backfield will also help to provide cover and useful outlets for the passing game. The time is now for Garoppolo to finally justify his massive contract. He stands to drastically outpace his career numbers in this season alone. The table is set for a breakout; all that remains is for Jimmy to belly up and feast.

Dante Pettis – Dante Pettis enters his second season in San Francisco having shown tantalizing potential during his rookie campaign. The 49ers have big plans for Pettis, as evidenced by their trade up in the 2018 NFL draft to acquire the former Washington Husky. New GM John Lynch sent a 3rd round pick to the Redskins to move up 15 spots in the 2nd round in order to add the speedy Pettis to his roster. Pettis was injured during the pre-draft process and was unable to show off the speed that made him such an intriguing pick. Many in the draft and dynasty community saw the move as a huge overdraft. However, both Lynch and Shanahan believed in the All-American who set the NCAA record with 9 career punt return TDs. Pettis made an immediate impact out the gates in San Francisco, putting up over 60 yards and a TD in his first career game. His rookie season was marred by injuries and inconsistency at the QB position following the loss of Garoppolo in week 3. You can see from his numbers below that he is capable of having a definite impact on the game going forward. 

Heading into 2019 and beyond, Dante Pettis has a legitimate chance for production growth. He will have the opportunity to grow, while not being the particular focus of opposing defensive coordinators. Many in the dynasty community see the addition of 2019 2nd round WR Deebo Samuel as a sign of the team’s unhappiness with Pettis as the number one option among the WRs. However, his coach has had nothing but effusive praise for the second-year player, stating that they will move him all over the formation in order to give him the best possible matchups. Draft Dante Pettis as a poor man’s Keenan Allen and hope for a similar career arch, minus the injuries of course. 

Stashes:

Deebo Samuel – While I believe that Dante Pettis will be the long-term WR1 on the San Francisco 49ers, that does not mean that they are incapable of fielding two quality WRs. Deebo Samuel was drafted early in the 2nd round of the 2019 NFL draft to add an element of toughness to the WR room. Samuel reminds me of former perennial All-Pro Anquan Boldin. Both players made their bones by bullying opposing defenders all over the field. Like Boldin, the young Deebo has vice grips for hands. His best asset is his run-after-catch ability, in which he operates somewhat like a RB with the ball in his hands. He is unafraid of contact with defenders and is more than capable of mixing it up in the trenches with LBs. You can see from his profile below that Deebo will be a welcome addition in the San Francisco offense. 

Despite never having a 1,000 yard season in college, Deebo Samuel flashed the immense upside that made him a 2nd round selection. He was a quality return man who also showed up against top competition. His best game in Columbia came against eventual National Champions Clemson in his senior season, when he put up a 10/210/3 stat line. It was truly an amazing performance against the best team in the nation. The game put him back on the national radar and was likely a big part in his eventual 1st Team SEC selection. Following his senior season, Deebo was one of the most praised players at the Senior Bowl, repeatedly garnering the accolades of the coaches and media alike. The Kyle Shanahan system has proven in the past to be capable of supporting multiple targets in the passing game from a fantasy perspective. Draft young Deebo Samuel as an upside play from the mid-1st back in your dynasty drafts and watch him develop under one of the better offensive-minded head coaches in the game today. I will leave you with the highlight film of his best college game ever.

Conclusion:

Entering their third season under head coach Kyle Shanahan, the San Francisco 49ers are a team with immense breakout potential. While I see only one true stud going into the season, it is quite possible that they could come out of the season with more than double that amount. If one of the RBs in their crowded stable grabs the majority of the work, it is possible for them to finish the season with a stud player at literally every position group. Few teams field the amount of breakout potential as the 49ers. Only time will tell if their players can develop into the dynasty assets both we and they hope for. One thing is for certain: San Francisco will be a fun team to watch from a dynasty perspective.      


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