San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart and Fantasy Preview: Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and More

Is there any reason to doubt this team's star players? Find out in our San Francisco 49ers fantasy preview.

In fantasy football, we want good players on good offenses. Last season, the San Francisco 49ers were one of the most efficient and prolific offenses in the NFL. This year, their roster looks mostly the same. So does our 49ers fantasy preview suggest more of the same?

San Francisco 49ers Fantasy Depth Chart

QB
Brock Purdy, Joshua Dobbs, Brandon Allen

RB
Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Isaac Guerendo, Jordan Mason

WR1
Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Chris Conley

WR2
Deebo Samuel, Ronnie Bell

WR3
Ricky Pearsall, Jacob Cowing

TE
George Kittle, Brayden Willis, Cameron Latu

Brock Purdy’s Fantasy Outlook

After taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl, you would think questions over Brock Purdy‘s legitimacy as an NFL starting quarterback would end. He’s also a pretty good fantasy QB.

Purdy averaged 19.2 fantasy points per game last season, finishing as the QB6 overall. Fantasy managers, however, are justifiably a bit hesitant about going all in on Purdy. After all, he’s not particularly mobile, and he averaged just 27.75 pass attempts per game.

So, where are the points coming from?

Purdy threw 31 touchdowns and ran for two more. While we obviously want as much volume as possible, touchdowns are more important. Volume typically correlates with touchdowns. However, the 49ers have a uniquely efficient offense. We know they are going to score points. Purdy managers just need Christian McCaffrey not to take all of the touchdowns. Last year, he left enough for his QB.

It’s always possible last year was a fluke, and Purdy takes a step backward. But everything we’ve seen so far suggests he’s the real deal.

With the 49ers’ offense looking very much the same as last season, Purdy should once again be an incredibly efficient passer. Given the abundance of talent at the QB position, Purdy’s cost will inevitably be pushed down. If you can’t get one of the top mobile guys, he’s a great fallback option.

Christian McCaffrey’s Fantasy Outlook

What needs to be said about McCaffrey? He’s the best running back in fantasy, and everyone knows it. I’m sure there will be fantasy managers out there who opt to go wide receiver at No. 1 overall, but the pick should be McCaffrey. He’ll be the first running back off the board in every draft.

Last season, McCaffrey played every game for the second consecutive season, averaging 24.5 fantasy points per game. He became the first running back to register a second overall RB1 season since Priest Holmes in 2003.

Now 28 years old, there are historical concerns about an older back posting an elite RB1 season. However, I wouldn’t exactly worry about McCaffrey. He’s shown zero signs of decline and sure looks like an outlier in terms of just how great he is.

McCaffrey was second in snap share, fifth in opportunity share, first in target share, first in rushing yards, first in touchdowns, etc. I could go on and on about his accolades. Suffice it to say he was at or near the top in just about every meaningful metric. Don’t overthink it. Take CMC No. 1 overall.

Brandon Aiyuk’s Fantasy Outlook

Brandon Aiyuk‘s name has been in the news a ton this offseason due to trade rumors. So far, none have come to fruition. While a trade could still happen, it’s unlikely, meaning he will reprise his role as San Francisco’s No. 1 receiver.

Aiyuk had an excellent year in 2023, catching 75 passes for 1,342 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 15.6 fantasy points per game and finished as the WR16 overall.

While Aiyuk saw an impressive 25% target share (especially so considering his target competition), we must be reminded it’s of a very small pie. The 49ers’ 51% neutral game script pass rate was the third-lowest in the league. They had a 57% positive game script pass rate, which is meaningful given how frequently they are in the lead.

Aiyuk is capable of being a 180-target wide receiver. It will never happen in San Francisco, though, which inevitably caps his upside.

This requires Aiyuk to remain efficient. Last year, he certainly succeeded.

Aiyuk was third in yards per route run (3.18) and second in yards per target (12.8). He finished second in the league with 17.9 yards per reception.

MORE: Consensus Dynasty Rankings

I like Aiyuk as a player. The problem I have is in treating him as a clear top-15 wide receiver. Unless the volume increases, it’s very difficult to see how he beats last year’s numbers.

As I mentioned above, we want players on good offenses. There’s a lot to like about Aiyuk, but he’s a bit too expensive for my liking this season.

Deebo Samuel’s Fantasy Outlook

One day, I’m going to do a Hall of Most Frustrating Players to Roster. Deebo Samuel will be a first-ballot player.

Samuel is clearly a unique player and very, very good at football. He’s a dynamic game-changer, and any NFL team would be lucky to have him. We know the 49ers’ offense is not the same when he’s not on the field.

That brings me to the first concern. Samuel doesn’t understand the concept of the best ability is availability. He fights for every yard, which is commendable. But Samuel, you have to get down! Those extra four yards on a 23-yard reception do not matter. At all.

Last season, Samuel played in 15 games, but he left two early and was a decoy in a third. He averaged 16.3 fantasy points per game, which was simultaneously better and worse than it appears.

On the one hand, Samuel had two games where he combined for 1.7 fantasy points factored into that total. Those were the two games he departed early with an injury.

On the other hand, Samuel’s ceiling is game-breaking. From Weeks 12-15, he scored 22.4, 35.8, 34.0, and 21.9 fantasy points, respectively. That’s the type of upside Samuel provides. But you have to take the good with the bad.

Similar to 2021, rushing played a big role in Samuel’s productivity — more specifically, rushing touchdowns. He scored five times on the ground, yet we can’t project that to happen again.

Ultimately, Samuel projects better in Best Ball than in managed leagues. He’s an erratic player with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. When it’s all said and done, he should be a mid-to-high WR2, but he can cost you just as many weeks as he wins you.

George Kittle’s Fantasy Outlook

Remember when George Kittle broke out in 2018, averaging 16.0 fantasy points per game? Since then, he’s been viewed as arguably the best overall TE in the NFL and certainly one of the best in fantasy. Yet, his fantasy points per game have declined every season.

The initial decline was no big deal. There’s minimal difference between 16.0, 15.9, and 15.6 fantasy points per game.

Then, in 2021, Kittle’s fantasy points per game tumbled to 14.1. It’s not what you want to see, but still great numbers for a tight end. However, in 2022 and 2023, his average production dropped to 13.4 and 12.7, respectively.

Kittle is no longer a needle-mover at the position. The real problem is simply volume. The 49ers have a low-volume passing attack. Kittle is an elite blocker. Samuel and Aiyuk are a top-of-the-line receiving duo, and CMC is one of the best pass-catching RBs of all time. The 49ers just don’t need to throw to their tight end.

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Kittle’s ability to post huge weeks is still there. He’s just only used as needed.

Over the past three years, Kittle has played 38 games with Samuel. In those games, he’s averaged 11.8 fantasy points per game. However, in seven games without Samuel, Kittle averaged 22.4 points!

The sample size is much smaller for Aiyuk, but Kittle averaged 13.4 fantasy points per game in 44 games with him and scored 16 points in his one game without Aiyuk.

It’s hard to see much changing this season. While Kittle’s price is the cheapest it’s ever been, it’s early or late for tight ends. I don’t want the guys in the middle, and that’s Kittle.

49ers’ Fantasy Sleepers

There’s really only one player on the 49ers that can qualify as a sleeper, and that’s rookie WR Ricky Pearsall. He will need an injury to have a chance, but Pearsall is a fast, athletic receiver who fits perfectly in this offense.

It’s a near-certainty that he will make plays this season. While everyone is healthy, they will be few and far between. But if one of the WRs goes down, Pearsall may very well be a fantasy starter.

As we look ahead to the 2024 fantasy football season, 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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