Speaking as an (obviously biased) San Francisco 49ers season ticket holder, 2019 went fantastically. How often do teams go from picking #2 overall to finishing as the #2 team in the league? And let’s not forget, the 49ers and Bengals played in week two, and the 49ers were the underdogs. This season, unlike recent 49ers’ successes, came on the back of an offense waking up to average 29.9 points per game, the second-most in the league. That means lots of fantasy football goodies to dissect when we think about the San Francisco 49ers’ 2019 season. But, what is worth remembering from their 2019 campaign for 2020 fantasy football drafts?
What to Remember from the 2019 San Francisco 49ers Season
- We all played running back roulette with the 49ers’ backs. We hoped for Jerick McKinnon’s return, but it was not in the cards. Then, we argued Matt Breida versus Tevin Coleman. Finally, we wondered why nobody paid attention to Raheem Mostert (well, except the homer). We all remember Mostert turning into an absolute cudgel in the NFCCG, just completely obliterating the Packers’ defense. That was also one of three games this season wherein Mostert played on more than 60% of snaps. He successfully defeated Matt Breida, but he still remains part of a committee. Don’t go too insane for him in your drafts; downside exists, despite the great memories we have of Mostert. Don’t forget, Matt Breida had his time in the sun for the 2019 49ers, and Tevin Coleman did as well.
- The 49ers traded for Emmanuel Sanders just before their Halloween game against the Arizona Cardinals. That put their offense to the next level (adding four points per game while taking on more difficult opponents), and he should become a high priority for the 49ers in the 2019 offseason. That having been said, he averaged fewer than five targets per game with the 49ers (including playoffs), so he doesn’t have the serious upside for fantasy draft consideration if he sticks with the Niners for 2020.
- One of the reasons that we can’t trust Emmanuel Sanders for 2020 fantasy football stems is the emergence of his teammate, Deebo Samuel. Samuel led all wide receivers in rushing yards last season, which is a testament to the 49ers’ devotion to Run Establishment. But… we have a problem. More specifically, Deebo Samuel has a problem, and his name is George Kittle. Rookie wide receivers sometimes have a problem acclimating to the NFL, so in deference to Deebo, we’ll take his second half-numbers only. In Deebo’s two games without George Kittle, he averaged 10.5 targets per game. After those two games, he managed to surpass six targets once and averaged just 4.7 targets per game. Deebo suffers from the same problem as Jimmy Garoppolo in fantasy football: there aren’t enough targets to go around.
- Speaking of Jimmy Garoppolo, let’s talk about his breakout that never happened. Sure, he had some high highs (#2 in the league in 4+ touchdown games with three), but he also experienced some crushing lows. Really, the lows were the back-to-back weird games wherein he threw for 394 combined yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. In the end, Jimmy G ended up with nearly identical touchdown numbers and passing yards as Carson Wentz… on 100+ fewer pass attempts. Garoppolo was exactly what the 49ers needed him to be weekly. Nothing better explains the situation than the Niners 51 points on the Panthers in week eight (Garoppolo had 175/2/1) and then Garoppolo going for 317 and all four 49ers TDs the next week. He plays the role the 49ers need of him in a given week, which gets you to a Super Bowl, but not your fantasy football finals.
- George Kittle is really good. Like, really, really good. There’s a very good reason why he makes the most of every pass he receives. If you think of the first George Kittle highlight that comes to your head, you know what I’m talking about. YAC. His Yards After Catch is insane, and he makes the very most of the limited short-range pass opportunities provided to him by Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Case-in-point: he led all non-RBs in yards after the catch, with 602. He has a serious chance to challenge Travis Kelce for the TE1 slot in 2020, mostly because he can take a little and make a lot from it.