Jimmy Garoppolo: Predicting 49ers QB’s 5 favorite targets in 2020

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers with George Kittle #85 (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers with George Kittle #85 (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers passes to George Kittle #85 (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The 49ers have both known and unknown commodities for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2020, so Niner Noise predicts who’ll benefit the most as his pass catchers.

When the San Francisco 49ers finally started quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo late in 2017, it was a pretty good time to be wide receiver Trent Taylor.

Taylor, after all, generated some quick chemistry with the newfound Niners signal-caller, particularly on third downs, and one could see the possible budding relationship between the two in 2018. Yet Taylor’s back injury and Garoppolo’s season-ending ACL tear that year all but ended those prospects for a productive follow-up campaign, and Taylor’s foot fracture in 2019 derailed any hopes for a bounce-back statistical relationship again.

In Taylor’s absence, however, other pass catchers showed up and offered Garoppolo plenty of added targets at his disposal.

And with Garoppolo throwing for nearly 4,000 yards over the course of last season, it’s pretty safe to assume those receiving targets were pretty happy to pad their stats.

But who winds up being Garoppolo’s favorite targets this season? There are a few new faces in the mix, namely rookie wideouts Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings. Taylor is poised to return from his absence last year, too.

Niner Noise predicts the five who stand to haul in the most from Jimmy G in 2020.

No. 5 49ers Target for Jimmy Garoppolo: Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk is likely to find his role increased a lot and much sooner than expected, thanks to second-year wideout Deebo Samuel suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot during the offseason. As a result, Aiyuk is going to be a primary beneficiary of first-team reps in training camp whether he’s ready for them or not.

If there’s one good thing about Aiyuk, however, it’s his yards-after-the-catch ability, which was demonstrated during his final year at Arizona State. Of his 1,192 receiving yards in 2019, 710 of them came after the catch, which ranked fifth best in college football.

Aiyuk also managed 26.9 percent of all targets his final collegiate season, too, so he’s already acclimated to being a No. 1 target.

It’s likely Aiyuk takes a bit of time to develop and shine, so one might not see the gaudy numbers right away.

But if he develops quickly enough, he’ll be a yardage machine for Garoppolo before Week 17.