49ers vs. Lions: 5 Individual Matchups to Watch in Week 16

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Nov 29, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) during a player injury against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver Torrey Smith

San Francisco wideout Torrey Smith hasn’t exactly been used in the fashion the 49ers coaching staff might have hoped when the team signed him to a lucrative free-agent deal this offseason.

The 49ers deep threat does have 579 receiving yards and three touchdowns, but all of those TD grabs have come on home-run plays when Smith was able to beat the secondary coverage. It’s surprising to see the 49ers have only targeted him 51 times — by far the lowest total over his five-year career.

Smith has faced the Lions just once during his career and logged just four catches for 69 yards.

But Smith could have a bit of an advantage this Sunday, provided offensive coordinator Geep Chryst’s play-calling elects to utilize a bit more of the deep pass.

The Lions are averaging just 239.6 passing yards per game — 12th in the league. But safety Glover Quin (concussion) is questionable for the contest, which opens up some possibilities for Smith to take advantage of mismatches within Detroit’s secondary.

At worst, Smith should hope to draw coverage in order to open up things for fellow wideouts Anquan Boldin, Quinton Patton and Jerome Simpson.

With the 49ers offense still ranking dead last in the league, Smith will need to impact the stat sheet — either himself or in assistance — in order to give the 49ers a chance.

Next: Defensive Back Jimmie Ward