Fantasy football relies heavily upon opportunity. During any fantasy conversation, the most commonly used words are “targets” and “touches.” Here is the fantasy outlook for the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.
San Francisco 49ers 2017 Fantasy Football Outlook
With a new regime in place, presumed starters Carlos Hyde and Vance McDonald quickly found themselves under the microscope. Hyde is in a contract year and McDonald was openly discussed in trades prior to and during the draft. As the draft focus shifted to offense in rounds three through five, competition for both Hyde and McDonald arrived in the form of Joe Williams and George Kittle. It will be interesting to see how the incoming rookie class push the veterans for snaps.
Running back(s) – Carlos Hyde and Joe Williams
With Hyde the question isn’t about his ability, it’s about his durability. While some have speculated that Williams is more of a scheme fit for Kyle Shanahan, Hyde has continually received the first team snaps in camp.
A workhorse running back that gets 25 or more carries a game is extremely rare today. With that in mind, getting a rookie back up to help balance the work load is not a new thing. Add in the fact that Hyde has had issues staying on the field and the Joe Williams fantasy value begins to crystalize. But in a classic case of irony, having an effective backup could be the best thing for Hyde, as it will help him stay fresh over the course of games and reduce the amount of punishment his body takes. Also recall that Kyle Shanahan was very capable of balancing workload between his top two backs in Atlanta with Devonta Freeman
and Tevin Coleman
Joe Williams has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the passing game, both as a receiver and blocker. Meanwhile, Hyde has proven that he can pass block and be a safety net for receptions out of the backfield. These attributes should help keep Hyde on the field for more snaps. The 49ers offense will look to sustain a balanced attack to help keep a raw defense fresh and keep the games within reach. That means plenty of carries for both backs to share, but the value edge remains with Hyde as long as he can stay off the injury report.
Garçon’s value is contingent to point per reception formats and how late in the draft you can obtain him. In fantasy football, touches along with targets equal opportunity. And Pierre Garcon
has eclipsed the 100 target threshold in each of the last four seasons. Going back to 2013 when Garcon was involved in a Kyle Shanahan offense, he posted career best numbers of 113 receptions and over 1,300 yards receiving
. The following season was not as fruitful for Garcon as he finished with nearly half the amount of receptions (68) and yards (752).
It would be far fetched to expect a repeat of that 2013 season for Garcon but the 2014 output could serve as an indication of his floor. For a receiver that can be obtained in the later rounds of most leagues, Garcon represents great value with very low risk.
Tight end – George Kittle
How much impact a rookie will have from a fantasy standpoint is hard to predict, especially when they are joining a team that has so many questions surrounding the rest of the offense. The desire to trade up in the draft to select Kittle meant that Shanahan sees upside in the former Iowa Hawkeye. Combine that with the fact that the team openly explored trade scenarios for current starter Vance McDonald. Even with McDonald still on the team, he leaves plenty of opportunity
for Kittle to make an impact. All of this points to a golden opportunity for Kittle to see plenty of field time and eventually be a part of the passing game. Kittle should be a waiver addition following the draft.
The most consistent factor in all of this is Shanahan. His track record for getting the most out of his quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers at every stop of his career is well documented. Having said that, the pool of talent he has to work with in San Francisco is a far cry from what he had in Atlanta. Turning around this offense in San Francisco will prove to be his biggest test.