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QB Trey Lance: Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the roster to potentially complicate matters, but Lance is poised to take over as starting quarterback in San Francisco this season – and the fantasy potential is hugely exciting due to his dual threat skills. . You can be sure that Kyle Shanahan will introduce Lance as a runner in addition to trying to make things easier for him as a passer, so last year’s No. 3 pick is in the perfect place to hit his potential. There might be some growing pains, but Lance should be rated QB1 based on his ceiling.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery in the spring took San Francisco by surprise and sent its business value plummeting for teams hoping to have a quarterback who can compete the entire offseason, but the franchise now has — with Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa for extensions – gave him permission to seek a trade. We’re high on Jimmy G as an NFL quarterback, and Seattle or Cleveland (assuming a long suspension for Deshaun Watson) are his potential best landing spots.
RB Elijah Mitchell: The rare blend of speed and physicality made Mitchell a perfect fit into Kyle Shanahan’s system as a rookie, and even with the offense changing a bit with Trey Lance under center, you can be sure the game of racing will remain a central concern. While durability seems to be a yearly issue for Mitchell due to how quickly/hard he often charges through the line of scrimmage, you’ll want his big play ability in lineup as RB2 whenever He is healthy.
RB Tyrion Davis-Award: Reading the tea leaves, Trey Sermon might be on his way out of San Francisco and doesn’t quite seem like a player Kyle Shanahan wants. Davis-Price could therefore be Elijah Mitchell’s immediate replacement and long-term complement. Jeff Wilson Jr. was brought back by the Niners, but we expect Davis-Price to have every chance to carve out a role in a heavy offense led by Trey Lance. That said, he will have to earn his snaps in training camp.
Sermon by RB Trey: To us, it’s like Sermon is a John Lynch guy (rather than a Kyle Shanahan target) coming out of Ohio State, and a change of scenery might be best to get his career off the ground. If given a heavier workload, Sermon is a creative runner who can also catch the ball and resist pass protection; the Eagles immediately come to mind as a fit, and he’s still worth considering late in the round for early drafters hoping he can break through with the 49ers or someone else.
RB Jeff Wilson Jr.: While Wilson Jr. is apparently the frontrunner for the No. 2 job, we’ll ignore speculation from reporters battered in the San Francisco backfield after they had no idea the summer’s belief in Elijah Mitchell. last. Still, Wilson Jr. will be healthier without any knee injuries affecting him, and the veteran is a physical runner who produced when called upon.
WR Deebo Samuel: There’s a chance Samuel and the Niners will agree to an extension before the season, but the all-around weapon remaining adamant about not wanting to be used as running back this season would be a serious blow to his prospects. Also, Trey Lance is an unknown (especially compared to Jimmy Garoppolo’s ability to put the ball on the money for run-after-catch opportunities), so Deebo might be better considered a low-end WR1 despite the overall WR3 finish from last year.
WR Brandon Aïyuk: The 2021 campaign has been a two-season story for Aiyuk, as he started with zero goals in the opener and played a part for about six weeks until he finally became a main goal the rest of the way ( 73/1 128/6 pace over the last 11 games). The end-of-season numbers were pretty impressive considering how the year started, but that’s another weapon that could be negatively affected by Garoppolo’s move to Lance at quarterback. Draft it as a volatile FLEX that can have a great year if Lance’s arm talent has the opposite effect by widening the passing attack.
WR Jauan Jennings: Jennings has established himself as a reliable depth option at wide receiver, and he should at least share the No. 3 role behind Samuel and Aiyuk. The former Tennessee star had five touchdowns on just 38 targets last season, and he posted his best showing going into the regular-season finale with a 6/94/2 line.
WR Danny Gray: A speed threat out of SMU, Gray was drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft after throwing a 4.33 dash for 40 yards and averaging 16.4 yards per reception for the Mustangs last season. Notably, the rookie made the most of limited runs in college with six carries for 70 yards and two touchdowns, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Kyle Shanahan had gimmicky plays in mind or viewed Gray as Deebo insurance.
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: McCloud is another name with experience used on designed keys, and he did show increased action for the Steelers in 2021 by catching a career-high 39 passes. The 25-year-old made it known upon entering free agency that he wanted to continue playing for Mike Tomlin, so it’s probably safe to assume that Shanahan has secured him a meaningful role (including on special teams).
WR Marcus Johnson and Malik Turner: If the 49ers keep a sixth wide, Johnson and Turner would seem like the best candidates for the role. Focusing on Johnson, he’s quietly averaged 17.3 yards per reception on 88 targets over the past four seasons and shouldn’t be considered a potential vertical specialist.
TE George Kittle: Mark Andrews (235.1 fantasy points) and Travis Kelce (205.4) clearly broke away from the pack in 2021, but Kittle finished as TE3 overall with 159.0 fantasy points, and the 28-year-old is downright at its peak. Trey Lance being a mystery is the factor that puts Kittle below other potential high-end TE1 options, but the former All-Pro has had huge performances with quarterbacks other than Jimmy Garoppolo in the past – with a sample of 17 games since his rookie season of 103 receptions, 1,558 yards and six touchdowns.
TE Tyler Kroft: Kroft has been hampered by injuries in recent years, but he has a chance to contribute behind George Kittle as the No. 2 tight end and has already had a season with seven scores under his belt. While it’s certainly possible that he will form a tie in scoring territory with Trey Lance, Kroft won’t be a recommended fantasy option in the redraft leagues.
Best Value 2022: RB Elijah Mitchell (FantasyPros ECR: RB24)
There’s something to be said for the frustration surrounding an attack from Shanahan and how well he can switch backfields, but Mitchell has quickly become a favorite and has unparalleled ability on outcourt runs. You could even argue that San Francisco’s selection of LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price in the third round further underscores their commitment to the run and won’t be negative for Mitchell’s prospects because the starter has a different skill set from the rest of the backfield.
Best Dynasty Investment: RB Trey Sermon
Sermon against Davis-Price against Jeff Wilson Jr. for the role between tackles is probably the real battle in the backfield, and we’re not ready to give up on last year’s talented third-round pick. Perhaps the new attack led by Lance will lead to Sermon’s rampage, and it’s worth noting that he watched a lot of Alfred Morris tapes as a rookie. In a heavy attack, there is room for Mitchell and Sermon to thrive.
Statistics to know
In eight games before going completely wild as a running back last season, Deebo Samuel was on pace with a 104/1 874/8 receiving line. He had just six carries in those games, then had 53 rushing attempts for 343 yards and seven touchdowns in his last eight outings.