Power ranking 49ers wide receivers ahead of Week 1

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James (13) and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James (13) and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /
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SF 49ers, Brandon Aiyuk, fantasy football
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the hottest position battles during 49ers training camp is for wide receiver depth, so Niner Noise power ranks out the entire bunch before the regular season begins.

The San Francisco 49ers have a pretty clear determination who their top two wide receivers are heading into 2021: Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.

Power ranking which one of them who should be in the No. 1 spot ahead of the regular season should be a fun exercise, as Samuel is well established after his impressive rookie campaign in 2019, yet Aiyuk certainly rose to the challenge last year and could easily overtake Samuel on the depth chart.

Even though it doesn’t necessarily matter to the Niners who the WR1 and WR2 are.

After that, however, things get interesting. San Francisco still has yet to identify a clear-cut No. 3 wideout. And assuming head coach Kyle Shanahan keeps six wide receivers on the 53-man roster, it’s a pretty wide-open guess which of the remaining contenders on the 49ers’ offeseason roster wind up making the cut.

Let’s help Shanahan out with our pre-preseason and pre-regular season wide receiver power rankings, starting at the top where it’s easiest.

49ers 2021 wide receiver power rankings: The starters

player. 42. . . . Brandon Aiyuk. 1

Perhaps it should be more of a 1A and 1B scenario here between Aiyuk and Samuel. But Aiyuk gets the nod for the No. 1 spot on our wide receiver power rankings for a simple reason: a cleaner slate of health.

Foot and hamstring injuries limited Samuel to just seven games last season. And while Samuel’s 2019 campaign was impressive, Aiyuk responding with 748 receiving yards and five touchdowns over 12 games shouldn’t be overlooked.

Considering Aiyuk did that with three different quarterbacks trying to get him the ball last season is impressive to note, too.

The separating factor is health, though. If Samuel and Aiyuk are both healthy in 2021, go ahead and mark them as 1A and 1B.

Deebo Samuel. 2. player. 42. . .

Samuel was poised for a breakout in 2020 after amassing 961 all-purpose yards from scrimmage his rookie season, only to see his efforts fall way short after suffering his injuries.

No one would jump up and down about a 391-yard receiving campaign, yet Samuel’s rapid rise and fit within Shanahan’s offense as a multi-purpose weapon still makes him a valuable commodity capable of being a 1,000-yard receiver if he stays healthy.

Some consistency under center should do both Samuel and Aiyuk some good, too, and one figures this tandem will play off each other a lot this season.

If Aiyuk is getting double covered, it’s to Samuel’s benefit and vice versa.

Outside of injury, there aren’t too many concerns with the Niners’ two top wideouts. Things get interesting after this point.