The San Francisco 49ers may have pulled one of the biggest heists in NFL history in trading their 2018 second-round pick for a new franchise quarterback midway through the 2017 season. The team finished 6-10, including a five-game win streak to end the year.
The toast of the town heading into 2018 is that new quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. He averaged 308 passing yards in his five starts, throwing seven touchdowns and running for another. This was despite missing his top receiver, Pierre Garcon, and having to learn a complex Kyle Shanahan offense midseason. The sky is truly the fantasy limit for Garoppolo with a full offseason to prepare. The team can also do plenty to help him out, as they hold a top-10 pick in the NFL draft and have the second-most salary cap space available. The team needs to address running back as Carlos Hyde is a free agent. There is also a need for a long-term solution at WR1, since Garcon is in his 30s.
Three additions we want to see for fantasy
Sammy Watkins, WR: Watkins has already made the transition to the west coast, but a move north would be a boon to his fantasy value. Shanahan has famously propped up his alpha receivers throughout his career and Watkins has never see elite target volume. This pairing would get Watkins’ career back on track and provide the 49ers new franchise quarterback with an elite playmaker.
Saquon Barkley, RB: Barkley might not last until the ninth or 10th pick (the 49ers pick is subject to a coin flip), but if he does, the dynamic all-around back would be a home-run selection for fantasy purposes. Hyde saw 88 targets despite never being viewed as a dangerous receiving back. Barkley could command elite touch volume (the 49ers targeted backs 166 times in 2017) and have immense fantasy upside as a rookie on a team that looks to make large strides in the win column in 2018.
Pierre Garcon to return healthy: Garcon was on pace for his third 1,000-yard season before getting injured halfway through the 2017 season. Highly effective even at age 31, Garcon could enjoy a late-career fantasy resurgence, especially if the team brings in a younger WR1 to demand the attention of the opposition’s top talent.