49ers fantasy football: Average draft position for top targets in 2021

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel #19 and George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel #19 and George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers fantasy football: WR Brandon Aiyuk

ADP: 5.10

The fact Fantasy Football Calculator is listing second-year pro wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (5.10) ahead of his teammate, Deebo Samuel (7.09), is indicative of the kind of year the former had his rookie season.

Samuel was impressive his rookie 2019, no doubt. But Aiyuk, who maintained a relatively clean slate of health in 2020 after being selected by San Francisco in Round 1 of that year’s NFL Draft, is looking more like a safe bet and someone who could provide a substantial impact without as many injury concerns as Samuel.

Aiyuk threatened a 49ers franchise record for most receiving yards in a single season by a rookie, set by Hall of Famer Jerry Rice back in 1985. And while Aiyuk’s 748 yards on 60 receptions ultimately fell short, the fact he was able to contribute this much despite having three different quarterbacks tossing him the ball speaks measures.

Read More: CBS Sports lists 2 Niners players as hot fantasy football picks

About the only thing that could hold Aiyuk back would be if all the Niners’ top receiving weapons stay fully healthy this year, which would ultimately translate into fewer targets for Aiyuk.

Not a big concern, though. He’s easily worth a WR2 or FLEX spot on any roster.

49ers fantasy football: WR Deebo Samuel

ADP: 7.09

If it weren’t for having to deal with the lingering effects of a broken foot last season, which then were compounded by hamstring injuries, Samuel’s second season at the NFL level could have been one of the breakout variety.

Yet those injury setbacks ultimately limited Samuel to a mere seven games played, and his 391 receiving yards on 33 receptions and one touchdown were a far cry from the 961 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns he had back in 2019.

Still, what makes Samuel so enticing is how Kyle Shanahan has used him — essentially a “positionless” player who can line up as a boundary receiver, slot target or even a running back.

Multifaceted offensive weapons are always attractive fantasy football options, and Samuel’s diminished ADP could actually work in fantasy owners’ favor if they’re willing to take the gamble on his injury history.

Besides, a seventh-round pick for a WR2 or FLEX player is never a bad strategy.