Brandon Aiyuk saved his fantasy football value and then some
By Peter Panacy
49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was a fantasy football bust early this season, but that has since changed with him turning on the jets the last few weeks.
It’s more than understandable why fantasy football owners were wholly frustrated with San Francisco 49ers second-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk over the first half of the 2021 season.
Aiyuk, who impressed in a big way his rookie season after being selected by the Niners in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft, somehow ended up in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse, prompting some half-joking thoughts Shanahan’s own fantasy leagues were matching up against opponents who had Aiyuk in their weekly lineup.
Back to the point, Aiyuk had an average draft position (ADP) of 5.09 in 12-team points-per-reception (PPR) leagues entering 2021, according to Fantasy Football Calculator, which constituted a pretty high investment for owners.
Read More: PFF cites Brandon Aiyuk as a fantasy football ‘must grab’
For the first seven weeks, though, Aiyuk had a mere nine catches for 96 yards and a lone touchdown.
Not exactly worthy of a starting roster spot.
However, over the last six weeks, Aiyuk has reverted back into being one of the better WR2 or FLEX options out there for fantasy football owners, and that might be the X-factor needed to help spark a playoff push in any league.
Brandon Aiyuk is redeeming fantasy football owners’ investment
Aiyuk still isn’t San Francisco’s best wide receiver, at least technically speaking, as that honor has gone to third-year wideout Deebo Samuel, whose 1,268 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns lead the team, and his yardage totals are threatening to finish in the top five this season among all NFL non-quarterback players.
Yet Samuel hasn’t been much of a pass-catcher as of late, recording only one catch in each of the last three games he’s played.
The bulk of wide receiver targets have gone Aiyuk’s way instead, and the last six games have proven how Aiyuk is taking advantage of those chances:
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
Aiyuk has averaged 14.2 fantasy football points during that six-game stretch, per ESPN standard-scoring PPR leagues, which is certainly good enough for WR2 or FLEX candidacy. And with bye weeks now all wrapped up, it’s still potentially a smart play for owners to simply keep Aiyuk in a starting lineup.
Especially with San Francisco having some favorable matchups against weaker defenses, such as the Atlanta Falcons (Week 15) and the Houston Texans (Week 17).
Interestingly enough, there may be some fantasy leagues where Aiyuk isn’t rostered at all, just 85.4, according to ESPN right now at the conclusion of Week 14. While these may be thinner eight-team leagues or similar, it’s certainly worth looking at if he’s somehow still out there on the waiver wire.
Regardless, Aiyuk’s recent surge hasn’t just saved his own fantasy football value. It’s also presented a chance for fantasy owners to ride his hot streak into their league’s playoffs with the hope of Aiyuk finishing strong.