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What to make of the San Francisco 49ers' receiving corps for fantasy football heading into 2020

The San Francisco 49ers nearly won the Super Bowl last season behind one of the best rushing offenses in the league. They'll surely lean on the ground game again in 2020, but that doesn't mean there isn't fantasy football value to be had among the team's wide receiving corps. 

In fact, there's considerable intrigue among this group, led by a young quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo who has come through with big weeks in fantasy. Let's look into why there's value among the San Francisco wide receivers at their current ADP.

Shanahan Receiver Usage

Dating back to 2015, Kyle Shanahan has operated as the offensive coordinator for both the 49ers (2017-19) and the Atlanta Falcons (2015-16). If we look back at Shanahan’s utilization of his receivers on a tiered level throughout the past five seasons, we can get a better base to project the 49ers’ usage rates and target shares moving forward.

WR target shares under Kyle Shanahan as OC | 2015-19 
Year WR1 WR2 WR3 WR4 WR5
2015 31.3% 10.8% 7.1% 5.5% 4%
2016 23% 14.5% 8.6% 5.8% 5.6%
2017 16.3% 10.7% 9.7% 7.2% 5.1%
2018 11.3% 7.7% 7.7% 7.5% 7.1%
2019 16.1% 11.1% 9.2% 4.8% 4.4%

Unsurprisingly, the target share was wildly skewed toward the team’s WR1 in 2015 and 2016 with Julio Jones in the mix. Since joining the 49ers in 2017, Shanahan has varied his wide receiver usage more than in Atlanta. The highest WR1 target share in San Francisco was in 2017 with 16.3%. The following season saw the most even distribution, when WR2 through WR5 had incredibly minimal differences in target share because the team didn't have a dominant WR1. 

Projections and Roles

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