The 2019 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, and it’s time for the next part of the NFL calendar. That’s right, massive, rampant speculation about guys who have never played in the NFL before or have never played together… or both! They will go through drills in shorts, and we will endlessly project and prognosticate on their fantasy football futures. However, there are 78 guys who might have fantasy football relevance after their names were called in Nashville at the end of April. Our goal with our Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup series is to give you a quick hit on every fantasy football-eligible player drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. By the end, you’ll know these guys better than their mother does. Because it’s not like their mothers are necessarily good at fantasy football.
Now that we’ve gotten the worst team and the best team in the NFC West out of the way, it’s time to continue, alphabetically to the third team in the NFC West. Many hope that the return of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon, the additions of Jordan Matthews and Tevin Coleman, and growth from Dante Pettis and Matt Breida will push the San Francisco 49ers into the fantasy football stratosphere. What of their three fantasy football eligible players they took in the draft? Below we explore three pass catchers the 49ers took in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Round 2, Pick 36 Overall – Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver, South Carolina
When I watch Deebo Samuel play, I see a young, athletic version of Pierre Garcon. Deebo gives an inch to Garcon but packs an additional five pounds into his 5’11” frame. Their games, however, are extremely similar, and that means Deebo could fill an important role in the Kyle Shanahan offense. When Shanahan joined the 49ers, everyone marveled at his “Pierre Garcon” role, previously filled by Pierre Garcon, among others.
Andrew Hawkins, a former NFL wide receiver who played under Shanahan, underscored the Shanahan archetypes here.
That means the “Pierre Garcon” tough underneath guy is a serious PPR consideration in fantasy football, and Samuel fills that role perfectly. He has great hands, he’s amazing in traffic, and while he doesn’t have Odell Beckham speed, he has the ability to take a slant a long way. Unfortunately, he doesn’t take them to the house, as he is routinely tracked down from behind. That’s okay since Deebo will likely peak as a PPR bye week flex in deeper fantasy football leagues his rookie year. Don’t expect a ton from him, but he could be a desperation plug-and-play later in the season. There’s little expectation that he will leapfrog Dante Pettis or George Kittle, but he could be a valuable third pass catcher for the Niners.
Down the road, however, he has the talent and role to be a perennial 120-target guy, which will be great for deeper fantasy football PPR leagues. If only I could say that about their third-round pick.
Round 3, Pick 67 Overall – Jalen Hurd, Wide Receiver, Baylor
Is he a wide receiver though? Against Texas, he ran some decent enough routes, but he honestly looked better as a running back in the few carries I saw of him. At 6’5”, 226 pounds, the phrase “prototypical running back” unfortunately don’t spring to mind so he will remain a wide receiver. A project wide receiver. A project wide receiver with an entire WR corps ahead of him on the depth chart.
He has big, freakish arms and an ability to pluck the ball out of the air. Unfortunately, he has inconsistent focus and bad drops. He’s good at the breakpoint for routes, but not great. His long legs make him more of a strider than someone who can win in short areas, so he’s definitely limited. For fantasy football in 2019, he has nearly zero ceiling. He also might have that in the NFL in general.
Round 6, Pick 176 Overall – Kaden Smith, Tight End, Stanford
Kaden Smith is a tight end prospect that desperately needs to hit a weight room. He gets blown off his routes by LBs and has trouble getting any drive in his blocking. He’s hard to tackle, and he has good hands, but he’s slow and week, and he doesn’t get open. Oh, and he has a lot of focus drops. Get this guy into deadlifting for 2019 and let’s check back in on him in 2020. Completely ignore him in fantasy football. Even if George Kittle goes down.