The 49ers put together a great season in 2019 going (13-3) to capture not only the NFC West title but the Conference Championship as well. They fell one game short of being Super Bowl Champions as they fell to the KC Chiefs. The 49ers ranked 2nd in points scored, 2nd in rush yards averaging 144.1 a game, and 13th in passing yards averaging 237 yard per game during this Super Bowl run. Kyle Shanahan runs a very schemed offense; in the sense that unlike other offenses in the league the 49ers don’t have that we got to get the ball to him mentality. This approach appears to work for the head coach as he has found great success running his style of offense no matter where he goes. This offense starts with the run game and they run motion off of this, in fact the 49ers use motion more than any other team in the league. Shanahan is very good at pre snap design with shifts and movement. They utilize players such as Kittle, Samuel, and Juszczyk as these movement guys.
Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) – it was clear last season the team wanted to ease Jimmy back in coming off the knee injury. Jimmy attempted an average of around 27 pass attempts a game in 2019. We expect this number to go up to around 31 attempts a game, as the team is still very much a run first offense. The need to air the ball out won’t be there again this season as the defense will likely be an elite unit again keeping teams from piling up points, which then takes the air out of this passing attack. We can expect with the new weapon at receiver in Aiyuk and some key players likely to return from injury, Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd, Jimmy will be able to maintain a solid completion percentage, and possibly exceed his 69.1% from 2019. Jimmy G’s touchdown rate over the last two seasons averages out to be around 5.65% so with his number of attempts going up we would assume his touchdown total will as well in 2020, somewhere close to 28 touchdown passes.
Fantasy Spin: The team trading for Trent Williams helps strengthen a line that would have been vulnerable with the sudden retirement of Joe Staley. This was key for a quarterback who isn’t very mobile. The addition of Aiyuk gives Jimmy a solid arsenal of pass catchers to add to George Kittles ability and talent. All things should be pointing up for Jimmy, but the teams run first approach and elite defense cap his upside in 2020 making him a QB2 in all formats. We have Jimmy entering 2020 ranked as our 18th quarterback in redraft and 17th in dynasty formats.
Raheem Mostert/Tevin Coleman/Jeffery Wilson/Jerick McKinnon (RB) – the 49ers play an old school style of ground game, meaning with a fullback lined up in front of the running back. Kyle Juszczyk when he was healthy lined up in this position 40% of the time. One thing we know for sure about this backfield is if all of these players stay healthy the odd man out of the rotation will likely be Wilson here. Other than that we know nothing about what to expect here, as this is shaping up to be a big pain the backside for fantasy. The team loves Mostert for his superior cover skills on special teams and would like to get him back to that role. So does this mean a healthy McKinnon would assume his early down role in the ground attack? Your guess is as good as ours at this point. Not having a true offseason will keep everyone guessing as to who will emerge as that early down back in San Fran. Tevin Coleman was terrible last year after suffering that ankle injury early in the season. This injury may have lingered all season long as is apparent in his ranking near dead last in yards after contact per attempt.
Fantasy Spin: Last season this offense saw 23 rushing touchdowns, which is a big number, so who do we like to get those opportunities in 2020? We have to keep in mind the one key rule of drafting a Shanahan running back in fantasy, and that is always draft the cheapest one. With that said Mostert’s current ADP of 65 overall is a no go for us. This is the point in drafts where we are seeing guys like Terry McLaurin, Tyler Lockett, and Mark Andrews go. We would much rather have one of them over Mostert. We have to be careful when looking at Mostert’s numbers from last season which saw him average around 20 fantasy points per game during his span of starts late in the year. This average is deceiving because 31% of those points came in one game against the Packers where he went nuts for over 200 yards on the ground, inflating his numbers. We do view Mostert as the 1A in this likely crowded backfield so he does come out ranked the highest for us in the backfield. We have Mostert entering 2020 as our 22nd running back in redraft and 31st in dynasty formats. Coleman coming off a poor season offers better value than Mostert with an ADP currently having him taken in the 8th or 9th round. We have Coleman ranked as our 37th running back in redraft and 61st in dynasty entering 2020. McKinnon comes in as our 85th running back in redraft and 100th ranked running back in dynasty entering 2020. Until he proves he can stay healthy we can’t endorse taking him in any format.
Deebo Samuel/Brandon Aiyuk/Trent Taylor/Jalen Hurd (WR) – we can view these receivers in the following way entering 2020 Deebo will be the X, rookie Aiyuk will be the Z, and Trent Taylor will be the slot man. It’s clear when looking at this group that Kyle Shanahan went and got several big after the catch guys in Samuel in 2019 and now Aiyuk in 2020, who comps very similar to Deebo. In regards to Deebo Shanahan has stated that Deebo only was given about 35% of the passing routes and that he would add more in 2020. The one element this group lacks is that true speed receiver on the outside that will take the top off a defense. The 49ers were hoping to land a guy like Jalen Reagor to fix this need this past draft, but he was taken by the Eagles a few picks before. Trent Taylor was touted by the coaching staff last season as their best looking player in camp. Unfortunately we never got to see how that translated on Sunday as he missed the season due to injury. Another name to keep in mind in terms of at wide receiver is Jalen Hurd who played predominantly as a slot receiver at Baylor. Hurd is big, physical, and like Deebo and Aiyuk is very good after the catch fitting this Shanahan scheme.
Fantasy Spin: When looking at this wide receiver group we see a lot of potential for some big games in 2020. The concern we have is how consistent will the play be out of all these guys. Last year this offense seemed to scheme Deebo open quite often and looking at the talent at the wide out position if healthy in 2020 shouldn’t have to do that. So with this in mind there is concern of Jimmy G being a good enough ball distributor to make all these guys fantasy relevant with the limited amount of passing attempts. We think Deebo and his current ADP is just right, as it’s not over or under valued. We have Deebo ranked as our 30th wide receiver in redraft and 23rd in dynasty formats entering 2020. Deebo initially was ranked as our 23rd wide out before the broken foot, that likely will cost him the first few games. The rookie Aiyuk should acclimate himself well in this Shanahan scheme and comes in as the next wide out to target out of this group later in drafts this summer. We have Aiyuk ranked as our 55th wide receiver in redraft and 41st wide out in dynasty. Taylor makes for a nice late round flier as he figures to be the slot man. We have Taylor ranked as our 77th wide out in redraft and 95th in dynasty. Jalen Hurd makes for an intriguing option entering 2020 that could see work in the slot quite often, especially if Taylor proves unhealthy enough to go. For this reason we have Hurd ranked as our 95th wide out in redraft and 86th in dynasty formats entering 2020.
George Kittle (TE) – with this team not having that true big name stud receiver Shanahan likes to scheme his wide receivers open. This is going to be beneficial for Kittle as we can see him being open way more in the middle of the field. Kittle is already one of the leagues best at the position. He prides himself on his toughness, as we saw last year playing with a chipped ankle, and also prides himself on his run blocking. Kittle is one of the most unselfish players you will find as he will do whatever the coaches ask of him. Kittle is the epitome of a team first guy. When he is asked to block he blocks. If he gets one target in a game you won’t hear him complain to the media like most would. This is why the coaching staff loves him. When he gets involved in the passing attack he is very tough to defend before , during, and after the catch.
Fantasy Spin: Kittle has grown into an elite option at the position. He will be one of the top two tight ends taken this summer in drafts, and he should be. With Deebo running crosses and Aiyuk being used to go vertical this likely will leave Kittle free to roam up the seam numerous times this season which should be very fruitful for our fantasy teams. With two seasons of only 5 touchdowns we feel Kittle is due for positive touchdown regression in 2020. When running back falls off the cliff at the end of the second round Kittle and Kelce are in play and in redraft don’t hesitate to pull the trigger on one of them. We view Kittle as a top two option in redraft and dynasty coming in ranked as our 2nd tight end and our top tight end respectively entering 2020.
Defense – this unit ranked 9th in points allowed, 17th in rush yards allowing 112.6 yards per game on average, and 1st in passing yards allowed averaging 169.2 yards per game. It is safe to say that this defense was top five in 2019 as Robert Saleh did a great job. We can bank on this continuing again in 2020 as well despite losing DeForest Buckner to the Colts this offseason. This defense was one of the best at rushing the quarterback with Bosa on the edge. The secondary is solid with veteran Richard Sherman as well.
Fantasy Spin: This defense is a solid unit from top to bottom. They scored a lot of points of turnovers and sacks in 2019 and we like that to continue in 2020. For these reason we have the unit coming into 2020 ranked as our number two defense.
Strength of Schedule
The 49ers wide receiver corps will face the 13th toughest schedule this fantasy regular season. Their playoff schedule will be the 3rd easiest during weeks 14-16. The Backs will be looking at the 2nd easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season. The backs will then have the 14th easiest schedule during the fantasy playoffs. Garoppolo will face the easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season, and the easiest during weeks 14-16. Kittle will face the 6th easiest fantasy regular season schedule and will face the 10th easiest playoff schedule from weeks 14-16.