49ers depth chart: 3 crucial decisions Kyle Shanahan must make for Week 7

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan 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: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 3: Will 49ers finally start feeding Brandon Aiyuk?

It’s still so weird to think a first-round NFL Draft pick from a year ago, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, has been so scantly a part of San Francisco’s offense in 2021 despite threatening Hall of Famer Jerry Rice’s franchise record for most receiving yards by a rookie.

Alas, however, that’s where we’re at.

Aiyuk, who wasn’t targeted in Week 1 and saw only two targets in Week 2, has just 15 targets on the season, which is one less than seldom-used veteran wideout Mohamed Sanu, who just so happens to be tied for third most among 49ers pass-catchers so far this season. As a result, Aiyuk’s line of eight receptions for 90 yards with one touchdown would stretch out to just 306 receiving yards if extrapolated over a full 17-game season.

Related Story: 49ers’ lack of use of Brandon Aiyuk is baffling, disturbing

Perhaps Aiyuk is in Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse. General manager John Lynch didn’t exactly say this was the case when he appeared on KNBR 680 last week, but there were hints of this.

At any rate, and putting whatever reasons in the past, the 49ers have to make Aiyuk a bigger part of the offensive game plan, especially with tight end George Kittle (calf) still resting on injured reserve.

That decision is ultimately going to fall on Shanahan’s shoulders, and his choice needs to focus on getting the second-year pro more involved.