Fantasy football: Brandon Aiyuk, 4 other wide receivers who break out
By Peter Panacy
Fantasy football owners are going to be targeting sleeper and breakout-candidate wide receivers in 2021 including the 49ers’ own, Brandon Aiyuk.
Any experienced fantasy football general manager knows a league championship isn’t won in Rounds 1 or 2 of a fantasy draft, rather it’s won in the middle and late rounds. Or even by those midseason waiver-wire additions of grabbing a player who seemingly came out of nowhere.
Perhaps no other position is as volatile in fantasy than wide receiver. A wideout can be red hot one week, a non-factor the next. And when there are cases of a team having two top-end receivers on the roster, it’ll be tough gauging who winds up getting the lion’s share of targets.
This is sort of what the San Francisco 49ers could experience with their second-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who turned plenty of heads his rookie season but is poised to break out in a massive way in 2021 and become one of those coveted fantasy options capable of six-plus touchdowns and well over 1,000 receiving yards.
Aiyuk, paired with third-year wideout Deebo Samuel, might end up being the more favored of the two in fantasy leagues.
Let’s start with him, as Niner Noise breaks down five breakout wide receivers heading into the upcoming 2021 season.
Fantasy Football Breakout No. 5: Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers
It’s amazing to think Aiyuk managed 748 receiving yards on 60 receptions and five touchdowns with another 77 yards and two rush touchdowns on the ground last year over just 12 games. Extrapolated over a full 16-game season, Aiyuk would have had 1,100 all-purpose yards if he stayed fully available.
But the kicker is he was dealing with a shorthanded and injury-plagued Niners offense, which saw both Samuel and tight end George Kittle absent from the lineup and opposing defenses focusing on Aiyuk almost exclusively.
And the biggest part? Aiyuk had three different quarterbacks last year trying to get him the ball.
With San Francisco’s offense hopefully settling down and avoiding the injury bug, Aiyuk should get his chances to break out in a big way with the added consistency and support.
Currently, according to Fantasy Football Calculator, Aiyuk’s ADP in a 12-team PPR league is 5.09, meaning he likely won’t be among the sleepers in fantasy leagues but could end up far exceeding his draft value if he puts together one of those prolific WR1-type seasons.