Deebo Samuel: 2020 Dynasty Profile

Past Production

 Year  Games    Targets    Receptions    Yards    TDs    Fantasy Finish    Fantasy PPG    PPG Rank  
 2019   15  81  57  802  3  WR31  12.6  34th

The 49ers selected Deebo Samuel out of South Carolina with the 36th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He joined a relatively barren wide receiver depth chart, with Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, and Kendrick Bourne as the main competition for targets behind star tight end George Kittle. Head coach Kyle Shanahan consistently praised Samuel, which was especially strident in light of his negative comments surrounding Pettis. Samuel began in a part-time role, but he became an unambiguous starter in Week 8.

By that time, the 49ers had traded for Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders and Samuel formed a dynamic duo over the final 10 games of the season, although Samuel led the receivers in production. Over that period, Samuel averaged 15.1 PPR points/game, 20th among fantasy WRs. The 49ers also began to use Samuel in their rushing attack, and he recorded 11 carries for 151 yards and three touchdowns.

Samuel continued his success during the 49ers’ playoff run. While he only totaled 10 receptions for 127 yards, he added six carries for 102 yards on the ground. Considering that Samuel was a rookie receiver on a run-first team with veteran receiving options, I found his usage throughout 2019 impressive. Shanahan designed plays throughout the season to highlight Samuel’s talent, demonstrating that Samuel was a crucial part of the 49ers’ plans both in 2019 and in the future.

2020 Outlook

Unfortunately, Samuel’s 2020 outlook is now cloudy due to a Jones’ fracture he suffered in mid-June. He faces a tight timeline to make it back for Week 1, and he will likely miss at least a couple of games to begin the season. Wide receivers recovering from foot injuries tend to struggle immediately upon their return, so I’ve dramatically dropped Samuel in my 2020 rankings.

Back in my May 49ers’ preview, I had Samuel as my WR26, but he’s now my WR39. I prefer to avoid injured players in redraft leagues, so he’s a hard fade for me this year. Even in dynasty leagues, I would plan on a replacement for Samuel’s production, since he likely won’t be the clear fantasy starter you expected earlier in the offseason.

Dynasty Analysis

The 49ers did invest a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who will compete with Samuel for the top receiver role. However, I don’t love Aiyuk as a prospect, and I believe that he doesn’t represent a serious challenge to Samuel’s position. Even though Aiyuk will likely get a chance to start at the beginning of the year with Samuel out, the shortened offseason will hurt his development.

Therefore, I believe that now is the perfect time to strike and acquire shares of Samuel in your dynasty league. Once he returns to the lineup and demonstrates that he’s healthy, his price will rise. This Jones fracture is a short-term injury, and it shouldn’t dramatically decrease Samuel’s value. Even so, dynasty owners tend to overreact, and I’ve noticed a drop in Samuel’s trade value and his ADP. 

Buy on that dip, because this injury is a blip on the long-term radar. Samuel is only 24 years old and he has his whole career ahead of him. Most rookie wide receivers don’t show half of what Samuel showed in his rookie year, and this is a chance to get in on a stellar dynasty asset at his basement value.

Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.

jkarp

Columbia SPS Sports Management graduate.

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