With Deebo Samuel out with a broken foot, who steps up for the 49ers?

Yahoo Fantasy’s Matt Harmon and Liz Loza discuss who might step up for the 49ers with Deebo Samuel out with a broken foot. Subscribe to the Yahoo Fantasy Football Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Video Transcript


LIZ LOZA: Today, it was reported that Deebo Samuel, who had himself a rookie campaign, broke his foot. And that is obviously a hit to the San Francisco 49ers because of his multiple ability, his versatility. But also our fantasy managers now-- is it worthwhile to take a deeper look at Brandon Aiyuk, who I believe you did the rapid reaction to as he was drafted during the NFL draft, and who, you know, we know similarly at least. It has a lot of that YAC potential.

MATT HARMON: Yeah, Aiyuk definitely has the same sort of YAC potential that Deebo Samuel does. He is a guy that I thought actually could-- you know, and to Deeob's credit, I thought he showed up better as a vertical player and especially like on Diggs in posts down the field that actually showed up better than I expected him to as a rookie. But Aiyuk is more of that guy that he can be-- I think he could be a very good downfield receiver.

Like, when people compared him to Golden Tate-- those type of guys-- I thought he could be used more vertically than some of them. But the catch there is I think he's going to be lined up against off-man coverage. Like, just there's nothing on his college film that shows you almost any indication that, oh, this is going to be a good player against pressed man coverage, especially in his rookie year, especially in a COVID-adjusted off-season that he's going to be able to go up there against NFL corners-- you know, whether they are from the B squad, or the C squad, or the D squad, or whatever-- that he's going to be able to go out there and beat press coverage in the NFL.

He just doesn't get a lot of reps against that in college. And even when he did, I don't think he performed very well. But he does have enough subtlety in his deception part of his route running where he can do the head fakes. He can take you outside before breaking back inside and make big chunk plays. But again, I think those are going to have to be schemed the right way.

Of course, Kyle Shanahan I think is a great schemer. And I think that there's a lot of ways-- I think there are plenty of ways that they could have put Aiyuk and Deebo on the field together. Like, I don't think that their roles were going to overlap anyways.

It's certainly private opportunity boost for a player like Aiyuk. But let's take it to that deep sleeper level too because I think that they could take a player like Jalen Hurd, former running back. Also, Aiyuk is much more of like a slender, smaller player than Deebo Samuel is. I mean, Deebo, beyond the fact that he was just great after the catch-- he's just a bad ass. You know, he was a bully out there and a very physical player.

I think Hurd might be able to do more of that then Aiyuk would be able to do in a theoretical Deebo Samuel-type role. So in a year, we're-- look, we're already talking about these deeper sleepers. And I think Hurd could be a perfect guy, and I know someone that I spent a late round dynasty start up pick on pretty recently.