Dr. Roto: San Francisco 49ers Team Preview
Daily Dr. Roto — August 31, 2018
San Francisco 49ers Team Preview
Outlook: Things are looking up in the City by the Bay as Kyle Shanahan has changed the culture of this franchise in a short amount of time. Now that they added their franchise QB, the 49ers need to start addressing their defensive concerns. As soon as the defense begins to gel, a playoff push seems likely.
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QB: Jimmy Garoppolo (Jimmy G) came over to the 49ers in the middle of last season on a trade with the Patriots and changed the face of the franchise. He led the 49ers to five straight wins to end the season and invigorated the fan base everywhere to believe that a return to greatness is not far away. Jimmy G is not the biggest guy with the strongest arm, but he has a sixth sense on the field, and he rarely makes the same mistake twice. He should have a completion percentage in the low to mid 60s, and I think he could easily have 4000+ passing yards this season with about 25-28 TDs.
RB: I was a huge proponent of the Jerick McKinnon signing this past off-season, but I was very disappointed when he injured his calf in training camp. His injury was a quick reminder that he is not built for 300 touches of the football and I think that Kyle Shanahan has changed his mindset on how to use McKinnon. Now I expect McKinnon to get about 220 carries and 40-50 receptions which makes him more of a third round pick than the second round stud I anticipated initially. Backing up McKinnon is Matt Breida. Breida flashed decent skills as a rookie last season and is in line for about 100 carries as the backup. Fantasy owners should expect Breida to get off to a slow start this season as he injured his shoulder in the preseason and has yet to return to the field. Because of the injuries to both McKinnon and Breida, the 49ers brought in Alfred Morris to be their RB3. Morris’ arrival has piqued the interest of some Fantasy experts as they see his size and bulk as a good fit for the 49ers short yardage and goal line situation. If this is the case, then Morris would have decent value in standard league formats. I want to reserve judgment on Morris at this time as I am not entirely convinced that he has any gas left in the tank.
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WR: Jimmy G’s arrival brought out the best in WR Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin had been a castoff in Buffalo and ended up as a massive surprise in San Francisco. He only had 56 receptions in 2017, but he had 962 yards receiving, showing that he could be a tremendous downfield target. Reports out of training camp have Goodwin as being Jimmy G's favorite receiver and the featured role in the passing game. I have pushed Goodwin up my draft boards recently, as I think he has become a sure-fire WR3 with possible WR2 upside. Many people might have forgotten about Pierre Garcon. Garcon went into last season as the team's number one receiver but got injured and only played eight games. He is back healthy again and will be an integral part of the 49ers passing attack. Garcon's route tree fits Kyle Shanahan's, and I think that although Goodwin might have more yards receiving, Garcon might have more overall receptions. Regardless, Garcon is an excellent choice in the eighth or ninth round of most drafts. Trent Taylor is the 49ers slot receiver, and Dante Pettis is a speedy young rookie who has shown some promise in training camp. Neither Taylor nor Pettis is currently draftable, but I might have more interest in them if Goodwin or Garcon gets injured mid-season.
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TE: I was a big fan of George Kittle when the draft season started, but his shoulder injury set him back some, and he could be limited at the beginning of the season. Kittle flashed a few times last year and is on the precipice of becoming one of the better tight ends in the league. He has excellent hands, decent speed, and has built up a good rapport with Jimmy G. I think you can get Kittle a few rounds under value right now because of the injury which makes him an excellent choice as a TE2. The other tight end is Garrett Celek. Celek is interesting because he is one of Jimmy G’s closest friends on the team. This is worth noting because Celek is one of those sneaky players that could be a red zone threat against teams who don’t cover tight ends very well. For now, Celek is only useable in DFS formats, but if Kittle is out for any games during the regular season, I will not hesitate to use pick him up and play him.
K: Don’t look now, but I think Robbie Gould could end up being one of the better kickers in the NFL this season. The 49ers have moved the football well with Jimmy G at QB, and without a strong running game, there might be lots of opportunities for him to kick field goals this season.
D: There are a lot of young, impact players (LB Reuben Foster, DL DeForest Buckner, DE Solomon Thomas and S Jaquiski Tartt) who can step up and be interesting IDP additions but when taken as a whole unit, something is missing. For right now, I see the 49ers defense as a weekly streaming option and nothing more.
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