Deebo Samuel’s Dynasty Value | Fantasy Outlook, Ranking, and More

With a sky-high weekly ceiling but a low weekly floor, how should dynasty managers value San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel going forward?

San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel is simultaneously one of the most exciting and frustrating players to roster in fantasy football. Coming off the second-best season of his career, but a very volatile one, where does Samuel’s dynasty value stand heading into the 2024 offseason?

Deebo Samuel’s Dynasty Outlook

There are always going to be a handful of players very difficult to value in fantasy football, and Samuel is one of them.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Samuel is very good at football. He’s a unique player and one of the most important non-QBs in the NFL. The 49ers’ offense is not the same when he’s not on the field.

In dynasty, we want to bet on talent. But real-life talent doesn’t always translate into fantasy superstardom.

For Samuel, it’s been a roller coaster five years in the NFL. As a rookie, he totaled 803 receiving yards, setting the stage for a very productive career — which was stymied during an injury-shortened sophomore season.

Those injury concerns are also what made Samuel the single most valuable pick in fantasy in 2021.

It was that 2021 season that put Samuel on the map as a truly elite player. He caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns while adding 365 rushing yards and eight rushing scores.

Samuel averaged 21.2 fantasy points per game, finishing as the overall WR3. The problem with Samuel’s 2021 season was there was no way he could replicate it.

Everything about it was a perfect storm of circumstances leading to Samuel being this do-it-all runner/receiver. This became especially true once the 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey.

Samuel was destined to underwhelm in 2022. He didn’t have to completely bust, averaging 13.0 points per game in 13 games. But it was unrealistic to expect him to get close to a 20-point average again.

What made Samuel’s 2021 so incredible was the eight rushing scores (he only had three in 2022). Fantasy managers should never rely on rushing production from a wide receiver. It should always be treated as a bonus.

Heading into 2023, we had four seasons of Samuel being a middling fantasy asset, juxtaposed against one truly elite year. Samuel finishing 2023 as the WR12 was the perfect way to truly make him as confounding a fantasy asset as possible.

I bring up all this background information to show how high the highs are and how low the lows are, which persists on the individual-season level.

Samuel played in 15 games last season, but it was really only 13. He left one game early and was purely a decoy in another.

Overall, Samuel had a great year. He averaged 16.3 fantasy ppg, finishing as the overall WR12. But take it from someone who rostered him in three leagues — he was very frustrating to have.

Samuel gave fantasy managers six games of 20+ fantasy points. He had that ridiculous stretch from Weeks 12-15, scoring 22.4, 35.8, 34.0, and 21.9 fantasy points, respectively. Samuel also had six games with 11.5 points or less, including four in single digits.

On the one hand, Samuel once again was bolstered by rushing touchdowns. He scored five times on the ground.

On the other hand, he only saw a 22.5% target share. By comparison, that percentage was 27.8% in 2021. Even if the rushing production slows, there’s room for an increase in target volume.

My concern with Samuel remains what it’s always been. He’s incredibly reliant on efficiency, particularly yards after the catch.

MORE: Dynasty Rookie Rankings 2024

Samuel’s aDOT (average depth of target) was a paltry 6.6, outside the top 90. However, he totaled 527 yards after the catch, the ninth-most in the league. Remember, he only really played in 13 games.

Despite being frequently targeted close to the line of scrimmage, Samuel’s 2.45 yards per route run was 12th.

What do we do with a player on an elite offense with a ton of tough competition who is more reliant on splash plays than just about any other player?

Samuel’s Dynasty Ranking

Where does Samuel land in the dynasty WR landscape going into the 2024 offseason? Here are Katz’s latest rankings, featuring where Samuel lands in comparison to other top names at the position.

1) Justin Jefferson | MIN
2) Ja’Marr Chase | CIN
3) CeeDee Lamb | DAL
4) Amon-Ra St. Brown | DET
5) Puka Nacua | LAR
6) Garrett Wilson | NYJ
7) Tyreek Hill | MIA
8) A.J. Brown | PHI
9) Chris Olave | NO
10) Jaylen Waddle | MIA
11) Brandon Aiyuk | SF
12) DK Metcalf | SEA
13) Michael Pittman Jr. | IND
14) DeVonta Smith | PHI
15) Drake London | ATL
16) Jordan Addison | MIN
17) DJ Moore | CHI
18) Jaxon Smith-Njigba | SEA
19) Tank Dell | HOU
20) Nico Collins | HOU
21) Rashee Rice | KC
22) Tee Higgins | CIN
23) Zay Flowers | BAL
24) Deebo Samuel | SF

Should You Trade Samuel in Dynasty?

Are you considering trading Samuel? Our free PFN Trade Analyzer allows you to find the best trade offers to make in seconds!

Samuel is not the 49ers’ WR1. That job belongs to Brandon Aiyuk. Since 2017, 86.7% of fantasy WR1s have been their NFL team’s WR1.

With that said, we’ve already established Samuel isn’t like other players. He doesn’t need significant volume to produce. As a result, it’s difficult to evaluate him based on traditional analysis.

There’s also the matter of his injuries. I’m not one to believe we can predict injury. Every year, we see players deemed “injury-prone” stay healthy, and guys who never get hurt miss several games. Injuries are mostly random…emphasis on “mostly.” I don’t think Samuel’s injury issues are.

I respect how hard Samuel plays on every down, it’s admirable. But if he wants to prolong his career, he needs to relax a bit.

Samuel runs violently and fights for every yard, even when he doesn’t have to. He would do well to take a page out of Tyler Lockett‘s book and prioritize avoiding contact when possible.

Once you’ve got the first down, it’s okay to go down or run out of bounds, sacrificing 3-4 additional yards. That mindset would go a long way toward keeping him on the field.

Two of Samuel’s multitude of injuries this past season occurred because he just refused to go down when there was no need to battle for those extra yards. His shoulder injury against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round occurred the same way.

Fantasy managers who roster Samuel need to accept that he’s going to miss games. Samuel is now 28 years old, and given the way he plays, I don’t expect him to remain effective well into his 30s.

Managers should plan for 3-4 more years of high-level football from him, but mentally prepare for that number to be on the lower end.

KEEP READING: Should You Move Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and Brock Purdy in Dynasty?

Samuel has two years left on his current contract with the 49ers. That’s two more seasons before he turns 30 playing in an explosive and efficient offense. It’s also two more years of competing with Aiyuk, McCaffrey, and George Kittle for touches.

By no means should fantasy managers be looking to give Samuel away. However, I do think it’s worth exploring what you can get in return for trading him away. The combination of Samuel’s age, volatility, role on his team, and injury risk, makes this an ideal time to get out if you can.

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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