Promising second-year wide receiver Deebo Samuel broke his foot last week during offseason training and is expected to miss several months of action. He's a prime candidate to start the season on the PUP list if he's not ready to go come Week 1. In his absence, the San Francisco 49ers will look to 2020 first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk and 2019 third-round pick Jalen Hurd to pick up the slack. Let's dive into the fantasy football outlook for the 49ers' young pass-catchers to see why their fantasy values are spiking right now.
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Sharp fantasy gamers are already buying the increase in opportunities, as Aiyuk and Hurd are seeing rises in average draft position (ADP), according to BestBall10s. Aiyuk was being drafted as WR70 and Hurd as WR92 in June prior to the news of Samuel's injury. After the injury, Aiyuk moved to WR63 and Hurd WR83. Expect both of these ADPs to continue to rise — with targets up for grabs, one of them is likely to become an immediate contributor to the San Francisco offense.
Brandon Aiyuk and YAC potential
The rookie from Arizona State has a clear path to becoming the No. 1 wide receiver in the 49ers' passing game. Besides tight end George Kittle, the top three remaining players in terms of total receptions returning from 2019 are Kendrick Bourne (33), Tevin Coleman (23) and Kyle Juszczyk (20). Considering how highly Shanahan was on drafting Aiyuk, the rookie is going to get ample opportunities as early as Week 1. I wrote last week about how predictive Week 1 performances can be for rookie wide receivers — especially first-rounders — when projecting their fantasy success. We have to pay attention to Aiyuk's debut — it could foretell a big fantasy season.