San Francisco 49ers
|By Shawn Childs, Tuesday, August 20, 2019|
(Editor's note: This is the free preview of the San Francisco 49ers team outlook. If you already are a premium subscriber to FullTime Fantasy, click here for our premium expanded San Francisco 49ers Team Outlook. The expanded team outlook also includes sections covering the coaching staff, offensive line, schedule, free agency, 2019 draft picks, defense & more.)
49ers Offense Outlook
Despite a downgrade at QB, San Francisco ran the ball better than expected. They ran the ball 44.3 percent of the time with below league average passing attempts (532). This season they'll pass the ball better leading to growth in scoring.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo - Gamble (high risk)
Update 12/14/19Over the previous six games, Garoppolo played at a high level in three contests (317/4, 424/4, and 349/4). His success pushed him to 14th in QB defense (20.11 FPPG), with only one other game of value (296/3). He’s on pace for 3,993 passing yards with 32 TDs. The Falcons rank 29th in QB defense (25.15 FPPG) with three teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Atlanta allows 8.0 yards per pass attempt with 24 TDs (only five passing allowed over the last five games). San Fran tends to run the ball well, which points to a midtier game.
QB Nick Mullens - Dynasty Only
There was a lot to like Mullens as the backup QB for the 49ers in 2018. After being pressed into action for eight starts, Nick went 3-5 while passing for 2,277 yards with 13 TDs and ten Ints. He averaged 8.3 yards per pass attempt with his best success coming in two games (414/2 and 332/2). His growth boles well for San Fran if they have an injury at quarterback.
RB Jerick McKinnon - Quality Backup
Fair Evaluation: His floor will be reasonable in PPR league due to his pass catching ability, but Matt Breida may steal his opportunity.
After a relatively quiet start to his career (1,911 combined yards with seven TDs and 91 catches), McKinnon broke through with his best year in the NFL in 2017. He gained 991 combined yards with five TDs and 51 catches while working in a split role with Latavius Murray in Minnesota after the injury to Dalvin Cook. The Vikings gave him 13.7 rushes over seven games midseason, but Jerick gained only 3.8 yards per carry leading to Murray gaining momentum on early downs. McKinnon didn't have a rushing TDs over his last eight games. He shined in two games as a receiver (6/72 and 7/114).
His season ended before the 2018 season started with torn ACL in his right knee.
Kyle Shanahan will use two RBs in his offense, and he did rotate two backs in his successful season with Falcons. I only see about eight rushes per game with a chance to catch about four balls each week. With about 150 touches, Jerick projected to gain about 800 combined yards with about five and about 50 passes.
RB Raheem Mostert - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 12/14/19Fantasy owners will debate whether Mostert will be a trick or treat in Week 15. Over the previous two games, the 49ers gave him 74 and 60 percent of the RB spans (most of the year), leading to 263 combined yards with three TDs and four catches on 33 touches. Mostert has a TD in three straight games (four total) with one other contest of value (Week 2 – 151 combined yards with a TD and three catches). He averages 6.0 yards per rush and 13.3 yards per catch. Over the past two games, Tevin Coleman only eight rushes for 12 yards. The Falcons are 12th in RB defense (25.10 FPPG) with three teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points (31.70, 42.90, and 32.90 Fantasy points). Atlanta allows 4.0 yards per rush with RBs scoring 11 TDs with success in the passing game (72/525/3). I don’t expect over 15 touches with San Fran expected to rotate in two other RBs. If he hits on a long play and a TD, Mostert will be in play at this level.
RB Tevin Coleman - Quality Backup
Update 12/06/19Coleman played his way to a backup role in Week 13 (15 combined yards with one catch on six touches). Over his previous five games, he gained only 234 combined yards with one TD and 12 catches while receiving just over 12 touches per game. His only game of value came in Week 8 (118 combined yards with four TDs and two catches on 13 touches). Coleman was only on the field for 18 percent of the plays run by San Fran in his last game. The Saints allow 4.1 yards per rush with RBs scoring only one rushing TDs over the past seven games. Easy fade in the daily contests.
RB Matt Breida - Quality Backup
Update 10/26/19I own Breida on many teams in the season-long contest, but I struggle to start him in most weeks. He ranks 21st in RB scoring, which screams play me at least as a flex position. Breida has one impact game (129 combined yards with two TDs and three catches), which was helped by an early 80-yard TD. He also rushed for over 100 yards in Week 2 (12/121). Overall, Breida only has two TDs with limited value in the passing game (11/74/1). RBs have 24 catches for 144 yards and one TD on 35 targets against the Panthers. Breida’s game is built on big plays, and this matchup should produce some long RBs by the 49ers’ RBs.
WR Jordan Matthews - Low Potential
After a solid start to his career with Eagles over three seasons (225 catches for 2,673 and 19 TDs on 346 targets), Matthews battled injuries over the last two years. He floundered in 2017 with the Bills (25/282/1 on 36 targets). As bench player with the Eagles last season, Jordan did flash at times. He caught 20 of his 28 targets (71.4 percent) for 300 yards and two TDs. Matthews only had one game with over four targets (4/93 on five targets). His experience comes out of the slot, which may lead to him winning a starting job for the 49ers over the summer until their young WRs develop. Possible flier if his summer reports are positive.
WR Dante Pettis - Quality Backup
Update 10/19/19Pettis moved to WR1 status for the 49ers over the previous two games. Last week he caught three passes for 45 yards on six targets while having a TD called back due to a penalty. In 2018, he flashed over a four-game stretch (4/77/1, 5/129/2, and 3/49/1 and 5/83). The Redskins rank 28th defending WRs (84/935/10 on 113 targets) with failure vs. three teams against WRs (15/214/3, 18/210/2, and 15/164/3). Each week in Fantasy football a daily player is looking for values. His matchup is favorable, and the Redskins have to be game planning to stop the run something the 49ers have done well for the past month. Viable, even with failure downside.
WR Emmanuel Sanders - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 12/14/19Fantasy owners have lost faith in Sanders over the last couple of weeks due to a rib issue and four straight empty games (2/24, 3/33, 1/15, and 4/41), which led to him being on the bench on many teams in Week 14. Sanders had his best game (7/157/1 with a passing TD as well) vs. the Saints. His other game value for the 49ers came in Week 9 (7/112/1) while also playing well in three games for the Broncos (5/86/1, 11/98/1, and 5/104). Sanders has six targets or fewer in eight of his previous ten contests. The Falcons are 22nd defending WRs (37.38 FPPG – 172/2338/15 on 238 targets) with five WRs (Nelson Agholor – 8/107/1, Will Fuller – 14/217/3, Tyler Lockett – 6/100, Michael Thomas – 13/152, and Chris Godwin – 7/184/2) have over 100 yards receiving vs. the Falcons. CB Desmond Trufant was put on the injured reserve this week, leading to another weaker option starting this week. A veteran player who should draw more attention this week. Overpriced but serviceable in the season-long games.
WR Deebo Samuel - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update 12/14/19Samuel saw his two-game scoring streak end last week when he gained 109 combined yards with five catches. Samuel shined in Week 10 (8/112) and Week 11 (8/134) while 17.92 Fantasy points and seven targets over his last five starts. The 49ers have had him one the field for about 80 percent of their plays over this span. CB Isaiah Oliver played much better over his last seven games with no TDs allowed. Intriguing option in real football, but his chances can’t be an edge of San Fran plays from the lead.
WR Trent Taylor - Dynasty Only
In each year at Louisiana Tech, Taylor had growth in his game and production. In his junior year, Trent caught 99 passes for 1,282 yards with nine TDs. The next season his game exploded to a whole different level (136/1803/2). He's an undersized receiver (5'8" and 181 lbs.) with questionable speed (4.63) leading to unusual skill set. His quickness and short area route running give him a chance to play in the slot while the ability to break a tackle with elusiveness in the open field. His lack of size invites durability concerns even with some toughness to his game.
If he was 5'10" and 200 Lbs., Trent would have drawn more interest in the draft as he stature and style would have a lot in common with Julian Edelman. Possession type WR with a chance to develop into a starting player. In 2017, he caught 43 of his 60 passes for 430 yards and two TDs with his best success coming Week 13 (6/92). Heading into 2018, Trent had minor back surgery that ultimately led to a disappointing season (26/215/1 on 40 targets).
WR Jalen Hurd - Dynasty Only
Over his first two seasons at Tennessee in college, Hurd gained 2,595 combined yards with 21 TDs and 57 catches on 524 touches as running back. After an injury (concussion) in 2016, Jalen struggled to make plays (532 combined yards with three TDs and ten catches on 132 touches). He asked to switch to WR, but the Volunteers declined, leading to a transfer to Baylor. After sitting out in 2017, Hurd played well in his first season at WR (69/946/4) while adding some value running the ball (48/209/3). Last December Jalen had minor knee surgery, which puts him behind the other 49ers' WR receivers heading into training camp. His size (6'5' and 225 lbs.) gives him an edge in the red zone, but he needs more time to develop his wide receiving skills. Player to follow, but he may be a year away from being a viable Fantasy option.
WR Marquise Goodwin - Bye Week Fill-in
Update 09/22/19Last week Goodwin played well (3/77/1), but he only had three targets, which was the same total as Week 1 (one catch for seven yards). The 49ers had him on the field for 51 percent of their plays as their WR1. They also rotated in four other WRs making this situation extremely cloudy going forward. His future in 2019 projects him as the WR3 in this offense with Deebo Samuel and Dante Pettis being the top two options. Only a gamble with a short opportunity and uncertain playing time.
TE George Kittle - Stud (low risk)
Update 12/14/19Kittle made a key play late in the game for the 49ers, helping them to a big win on the road against New Orleans. He finished with a solid day (6/67/1), which give him three games of value over the previous month (6/79/1 and 6/129/1). His other two games of value came in Week 5 (6/70/1) and Week 6 (8/103). His catch rate (80.0) is elite with regression in yards per catch (12.6 – 15.6 in 2018). Kittle averages 6.8 targets per game. The Falcons rank 20th in defense (11.93 FPPG – 57/661/4 on 92 targets) with one team scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points (20.80). Talent TE with big-play and scoring ability. Game flow is key to his opportunity in this matchup.
PK Robbie Gould - Stud (low risk)
Fair Evaluation: The 49ers will score this year and create plenty of field goal chances. I'm interested in Gould as a top ten kicker, but I have trust issue if San Fran decides to roll with Jonathan Brown.
With Robbie Gould failing to sign his franchise tag, the 49ers may be ready to change gears at kicker. They signed Jonathan Brown to a two-year deal in March for insurance. Jonathan is a former soccer player who failed to win the field goal job for the Bengals in multiple seasons.
In 2018, Gould made 33 of 34 field goals for San Fran with success as well in 2017 (39-for-41). Robbie has been exceptional from 50 yards or more in his career (29-for-37) with only two misses over his last 15 attempts from long range. In his career, Gould made 87.7 percent of his field goals with nine missed extra points in 140 chances over the previous five seasons.
San Francisco - Quality Backup
Fair Evaluation: This is a possible upside DST2 in 2019.
San Francisco ranked 14th in rushing yards allowed (1,814). They allowed only 34.1 yards per rush, but game score led to 27.8 attempts per game. Ball carriers scored 13 TDs with 11 runs over 20 yards.
The 49ers pushed their way to 11th in passing yards allowed (3,732) with 35 TDs and two Ints. QBs gained 7.3 yards per pass attempts with 49 completions over 20 yards. Their defense finished with 37 sacks.
DT DeForest Buckner made a considerable stride in the pass rush in 2018, which led to 12 sacks. He finished with 67 tackles with three defended passes. He's shown growth in each year in the NFL vs. the run. The 49ers drafted him 7th overall in 2016.
DT Solomon Thomas has yet to make an impact after San Fran added him to their team with the third overall pick in 2017. He's barely an asset vs. the run with no shining moments sacking the QB (four career sacks over two seasons). Coming out of college, Thomas has an exciting combination of power and quickness to add plus value in the pass rush. Solomon will disrupt in both the run and the passing game. His size (6'3" and 273 lbs.) projects him to be in between DE and DT while knowing one thing for sure – his going to make an impact.
DE Dee Ford has 23 sacks over his last two full seasons covering 31 games. Last year he set career highs in tackles (55) and sacks (13) while forcing seven fumbles. Ford improved in each year in the NFL vs. the run. At best, Dee is now a league average player in run support.
DE Nick Bosa gives the 49ers another passing rushing option on the outside. He'll disrupt in the pass rush and against the run. Bosa brings speed and power to San Fran's defense.
Kwon Alexander missed ten games last year with a torn ACL. In 2016, he picked up 145 tackles with three sacks, three sacks, one Int, and seven defended passes. In 2017, Alexander played in 12 games leading to 97 tackles, three Ints, and four defended passes. Kwon should be an upgrade to this defense once he's healthy.
Dre Greenlaw will compete for a starting job after the 49ers added him in the 5th round in 2019. I expect him to add value defending the run thanks to his strength and quickness.
Fred Warner played well in his rookie season. He finished with 124 tackles and six defended passes. Warner will upgrade the pass coverage at linebacker while coming to the NFL with vision and an excellent feel for the game. His quickness is a plus while lacking the bulk to be an impact player against the run. Fred may be on the sidelines on early downs while needing to improve his motivation on more plays.
CB Richard Sherman is no longer considered an impact cover corner. Last year he allowed the highest completion rate of his career with some big plays, but he did minimize the damage in TDs. With a better pass rush, Sherman should remain a neutral player even at the ripe old age of 31.
CB Ahkello Witherspoon allowed too many TDs in 2018 with no Ints. He held WRs to a low catch rate and short yards per catch. His game projects to be passive vs. the run with work needed in his technique when covering pass routes. Witherspoon has excellent speed and quickness for his size (6'3" and 198 lbs.). Toughness is required to make a further step in his all-around game. Ahkello has a chance to be a Richard Sherman type corner if he ever adds enough bulk and strength to handle the top physical WRs in press coverage.
S Jimmy Ward missed 21 games over the last three seasons. When healthy, Ward is an asset in run support while offering sure tackling. Over the previous two seasons, Jimmy allowed too many big plays in the passing game. The 49ers drafted him in the first round in 2014. In his only full season, Ward played well in coverage and vs. the run. The injury bug already hit him in the spring workouts (broken collar bone)>
S Jaquiski Tartt missed 15 games over the last two years. He tends to allow a high catch rate, but receivers gain short yards per catch. Last year he did show growth in run support. San Fran drafted him in the second round in 2015.
49ers Fantasy Defense Outlook
San Francisco's defense is on the rise with plenty of talent on the defensive line to rush the QB. Their linebackers will have some risk on the outside, and the safety position remains in question due to injuries and inconsistency in their play. I expect their CBs to play better than expected helped by a shorter passing window by opposing QBs. In 2018, their defense managed only two Ints.
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