While we await the final game of the 2019-2020 season between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54, it’s never too early to look ahead to next season. This Sunday will serve as our final bit of game film on these teams in what should be a fantastic matchup of opposing philosophies. Let’s review what happened this year and see if we can put together the 2020 dynasty outlook for the 49ers.
There is no denying that the 49ers were one of the most all-around dominant teams in all of 2019. Their combination of a smash-mouth offensive approach led by their trio of running backs was a perfect complement to their defense, who loved to create pressure. All of this came together in the form of a 13-3 record and a trip to Miami for Super Bowl 54. Their dominance in this is evident when looking at stat leaders from this year. The 49ers were #2 in rushing yards for the season and also #2 in total yards allowed on defense. They took the ball away and then could hold on to it for a very long time — pretty solid strategy.
However, looking at 2020 and beyond, there are some question marks that the teams need to make decisions on, especially upcoming contracts. Already in the bottom 10 in the NFL for cap space, they will need to get creative in areas if they want to secure the talent that got them to this point. Let’s take a look at each position group and their dynasty outlook moving into 2020 and beyond.
Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the more polarizing topics in the dynasty community as people have a hard time knowing where he ranks amongst the best in the game. Garoppolo ended 2019 as QB14 with a very respectable stat line in spite of his team’s offensive scheme. Even though the 49ers play a run-first offense, Garoppolo still threw for almost 4,000 yards in his first season as a full-time starter (missed 2018 due to Week 3 ACL tear). By playing within the confines of what head coach Kyle Shanahan asked, Garoppolo made the smart throw more times than not, which led to extended drives.
One of the most significant factors that led to his success this year was his ability to capitalize on deep passes. In 2019, Garoppolo completed 55.6% of his passes that traveled more than 20 yards in the air.
The addition of rookie Deebo Samuel and midseason acquisition of Emmanuel Sanders played dividends for Garoppolo as consistent threats. Add that to the elite talent of George Kittle, and it’s no wonder the 49ers are where they are. Between being locked under contract until 2023 and his playstyle, Jimmy Garoppolo is my #10 ranked QB for dynasty in 2020.
Here things get a bit more cloudy when discussing the future of the 49ers. During the 2019 season, the offense was heavily reliant on the rushing game. Their 498 rushing attempts were second in the NFL but did lead the league in rushing touchdowns (23). While this sounds fantastic for them, it was a bit of a headache for fantasy. It was so hard to pin down who was going to be the bell cow that week, and the ceilings of Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida, and Tevin Coleman were all affected. Each running back was a useable asset, yet ate away at other’s potential in the process.
While there was fantasy success to be found here, the backfield could look different next year. One of the first signs of free agency possibly hitting the team is with Matt Breida. At only 24 years old and just 450 career touches, there is plenty of tread left on his tires and would find himself as a reliable RB2 on any team in 2020.
Coleman and Mostert would be more than able to carry the load if they choose to let Breida walk, and of all three running backs, it is Mostert who seems to be the favorite of the staff. In critical situations, they are choosing to use him in the backfield as the primary back. If the backfield does thin out heading into 2020, Mostert would climb up my rankings more and would be the player who I would want moving forward. Currently, all three are ranked in a similar area. Mostert is RB34, Coleman is RB37, and Breida is RB38. If Breida does find a new team in FA, his dynasty stock will need to be reevaluated while Mostert could creep towards the mid to upper 20s in positional ranks.
There is no denying the benefits that the 49ers had thanks to the additions of Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders.
In his ten games with the 49ers, Sanders continued to show he still has productivity in him, even at 32 years old. Catching 36 of his 53 targets for 502 yards and 3 touchdowns, Sanders also leads the 49ers in his percentage of the team’s air yards at 30.87%. Bringing him in also seemed to help speed up the development of Samuel, who looks like a future star in the making.
Samuel had his own productive year, especially in the latter half of the season. He ended the regular season with 57 catches on 81 targets for 802 yards and 3 touchdowns. The ending of his season is what gets dynasty owners excited for the future as something seemed to click for him. In Samuel’s final ten games, he scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in 8 of those games and surpassed 15 points in 5 during that stretch. What he proved was that he could go against a team’s best cornerback and still create separation off the line for the quick routes that Garoppolo loved to target him on. Once the ball is in his hands, Samuel is a YAC monster thanks to his 4.48 speed.
Super Bowl 54 could very well be the last time this combo is together as Sanders faces free agency in 2020. At 32 years old, it is hard to imagine him getting a lucrative contract. The chance remains the 49ers choose to bring him back because after him and Samuel, there isn’t much else in the way of proven talent. Dante Pettis completely dropped off the radar and out of favor with the coaches. Kendrick Bourne is an okay WR3, but I wouldn’t want to rely on him for more than that. Lastly, Jalen Hurd is an unproven commodity who recently converted to the position from running back, making the depth at WR for the team shaky at best.
As for dynasty, the only player I want here is Samuel moving forward. The skills are there, and we have seen him be the leading WR over a period of time. Yes, the price is rising, but he is currently my WR22 in rankings, and I could end up being low on him.
Of all the writeups I have done thus far, this is the easiest. George Kittle is the best player on this entire list and the best at his position in the NFL. Kittle had another monster year in 2019, catching 85 of his 107 targets for 1,053 yards and 5 touchdowns – finishing as TE2. Kittle is my TE1 for dynasty, and it’s an effortless choice as well. I expect the 49ers to negotiate out a rather lucrative contract for their 26-year-old phenom and not allow him to hit the free market in 2021. At the position with the most significant drop off in productivity, Kittle is one of the safest and best options for 2020 and beyond.
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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.