The San Francisco 49ers look to continue the return to yesteryear when they were perennial title contenders. Bill Walsh, the former 3x Super Bowl Champion 49ers, head coach, has been revered by Niner fans for decades.
In 1979 the franchise hired this Bill Walsh. The same year, now Head Coach, Kyle Shanahan, was born. Both coaches started their 49er tenure on rocky roads while finding success in year three. Although Kyle failed to cash in on the big game, his success, compared to Walsh, is hard to ignore.
What was thought to be a productive fantasy RB offense ended up fraught with inconsistency. There were weeks when Coleman or Mostert were the reason you won. And there were weeks they were the reason you lost. When the running game exploded, Jimmy G’s production went down. The one consistent factor on offense was George Kittle
The eighth-ranked Niners defense provided a bit more consistency. Fred Warner was the star. Nick Bosa had nine sacks as a rookie. DeForrest Buckner and Arik Armstead were also top 15 defensive linemen for fantasy.
Let’s take a look at the 49ers fantasy prospects for 2020.
Reportedly San Francisco did a little clandestine recruitment on Tom Brady this offseason. That should tell you all you need to know about Garoppolo’s future in SF. While he is secure in the job now, the front office has their eyes peeled for the future.
In 2019 Jimmy G was 19th in pass attempts but 6th in TDs. That is nice efficiency, and with Shanahan’s love for the running game, Garoppolo will need to keep that efficiency up.
Garoppolo has low end QB1 upside, but I’m much more comfortable with him in the QB15 range as my QB2.
Many analysts like to talk about the Dolphins Devante Parker’s 4th-year breakout. Well, Raheem Mostert has bounced around depth charts for a few seasons. He was a preseason superstar but ended up being more of a special teams ace one the regular season started. In 2019 Mostert finally got some regular season run and was a key player in the Niners run to the Super Bowl. Mostert is expected to start the season as the 1A back after getting a salary adjustment to bring his pay inline with Tevin Coleman.
Before Raheem Mostert was a thing in San Francisco, Coleman handled half of the carries for Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta. The plan was for Coleman to lead the Niners, and he did, for the first half of the season in 2019. Having fantasy outings of 41.3, 18.2, 13.7, 16.6, and 14.4. Coleman is a cheap ZeroRB option with Matt Breida now in Miami.
So You’re Telling me There’s a Chance
Jerick McKinnon is finally healthy and took a pay cut to stay with the team. Jeff Wilson is still hanging around, cleaning up the scraps when pressed into duty. Salvon Ahmed and Ja’Mychal HAsty were signed as rookie free agents, and both showed passing chops in college to go along explosive running. Long story short, whichever running back land the RB3 role may have some fantasy relevance.
Second-year receiver Deebo Samuel looked poised to take the WR1 spot for San Fran. Then a broken right foot put a pause in the ascension. Samuel had surgery on the Jones fracture in late June with recovery expected to be somewhere in the 12-16 week range. With the likely hood of missing 1-4 games, I’d expect Deebo to put up numbers similar to last year’s 57/800/3 stat line.
The 49ers followed up 2018’s selection of Deebo Samuel by drafting Brandon Aiyuk with the 25th pick in round one of the 2019 draft. Aiyuk excels at gaining yardage after the catch, much like Samuel. It will be interesting to see how Shanahan uses two players with similar skillsets.
Bourne finished the season with 44 targets. Half of those targets came from week 10-16. When pressed into action, Bourne always seems to produce. The question is, why doesn’t he get more consistent playing time? He’s worth a roster spot in deeper leagues as he fills the big WR role, but I would be hesitant to use him as anything more than a desperation play until I see if he can secure consistent playing time.
Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd, and any other depth guys on the Niners just don’t feel like they will be relevant in a low volume passing offense. I’d stash Hurd to see how he develops and keep an eye on Taylor just in case he secures a consistent role in the slot. It’s not something I’m betting on, though.
After finishing as TE3 in 2018 and TE2 in 2019, it seems TE1 is next in the progression. Unfortunately, even as the primary receiving threat for the 49ers, Kittle still won’t get the volume to surpass Kelce in 2020. I won’t be surprised if Kittle passes last seasons 107 targets. A 90/1150/7 season incoming!!
The defensive line starts with Nick Bosa. Checking in at DL12 per FantasyPros.com in 2019, Bosa seems primed to climb the ranks. Stout against the run, and polished as a pass rusher even as rookie Bosa is developing into a set it and forget it DL IDP option. After nine sacks as a rookie, look for him to reach mid-teens in his second year.
All of the opposing offense attention will have to be keen on the 2019 2nd overall pick, Nick Bosa, as well as the 2020 top 10 DT, Javon Kinlaw. After getting his knee cleaned up in May, Ford looks to take advantage of OLines shifting toward Bosa and looks to be a value in 2020!!
Armstead and Kinlaw
The Niners were left with deciding between resigning the long-time 49er and fan favorite, Deforest Buckner, or Arik Armstead on the defensive line’s interior. It was decided to capitalize on Buckner’s value for assets for the future, and keep a guy in Armstead, that set career highs in games played and QB pressure %. Armstead might currently carry an Edge/DE designation in your league, but soon as the majority of his snaps get seen next to Kinlaw/Thomas in the middle, that will change, and you will own a top 10 DT.
Rookie Javon Kinlaw looks to slide into Buckner’s old position. A physical specimen who makes jaw-dropping plays is also rife with inconsistency, Kinlaw will need to earn his role with the Niners.
Warner is on pace to be one of the best in the game. He is a tackle machine that shows up well in pass defense and can put some pressure on the QB when needed. An LB1 for the foreseeable future, with the ability to push for THE LB1 spot.
Yup, Greenlaw. Most expect to see Kwon Alexander here, but IMO, Dre, is the LB outside Warner to own. The kid is outstanding in coverage and plays sideline to sideline, a perfect mesh with Warner. In Alexander’s absence, Greenlaw performed above expectations and caught the eye of coaches and opposing offenses.
There is not a lot of meat on the bone for IDP when it comes to the San Francisco defensive backfield. Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon are good depth plays in leagues where you must start a cornerback both ranking in the top 35 in passes defended.
Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt will man the safety positions. Unless there is a breakout, neither is a viable IDP starter.
Thats A Wrap
Well, we unwrapped the Niners like Ghiradelli chocolate. The cream of the crop in San Francosco is Kittle, Bosa, and Warner. A few other players could be spot starters on your fantasy team. But, good luck trying to figure out which running back or wide receiver will pop on a given week. That is not the kind of volitility I’m looking for in a fantasy team. Jimmy G is a good QB2 option in superflex, but if he has a few good weeks I might look to move him for an upgrade.
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