Niners rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk left practice Sunday morning with a left hamstring injury, according to NBC Sports' Matt Maiocco. Injuries to Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd had left Aiyuk as the potential leader of the WR corps. We'll see how significant this issue proves to be. Yet another WR injury only increases opportunity for Kendrick Bourne and slot man Trent Taylor. Either guy is worth a look late in deep fantasy football drafts. Aiyuk remains a high-upside pick in the double-digit rounds, as long as this hammy injury doesn't prove to be too serious. Aiyuk reportedly finished the Sunday session watching from the sideline, which is obviously more encouraging than if he'd gone immediately in for treatment.
49ers WR Jalen Hurd is having a Monday morning MRI on "what's believed to be a major knee injury" suffered in Sunday practice, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The team reportedly fears that Hurd suffered an ACL tear. Such fears tend to be confirmed by testing. We'll keep an eye on this situation, but you should certainly stop drafting Hurd immediately. His absence would leave even more available for Brandon Aiyuk, as the Niners await Deebo Samuel's return to health. WRs Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor would also find more opportunity available. Aiyuk is a high-upside option for your fantasy bench. Taylor and Bourne would be late-draft flyers.
"It’s clear Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk already have rapport," The Athletic's David Lombardi notes. The duo reportedly hooked up "several" times in Sunday's practice. The pads haven't even gone on in San Francisco yet, but Aiyuk has been a hot name early in camp. With WR Deebo Samuel (foot) iffy for Week 1, Aiyuk has a chance to open the season with a big role. He's a strong target in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.
Niners HC Kyle Shanahan hopes to have WR Deebo Samuel available for the regular-season opener, but says it's too early to tell, according to the team website. "I think we're hoping for Week 1. Not counting on it, but I think that's kind of the area that these injuries usually heal by. But a lot of that has to do with: are you ready to play? Has it fully healed by that time? Are you in football shape?" Shanahan acknowledged that it'll be tough to know how ready Samuel might be before he actually returns to the field. We'll certainly keep an eye on the 2nd-year wideout's status as the regular season draws nearer. In the meantime, his uncertainty adds upside to the late-round price tags on WRs Brandon Aiyuk and Jalen Hurd.
The 49ers and TE George Kittle have agreed to a 5-year, $75 million extension, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It makes Kittle the league's highest-paid TE by a wide margin. And it's well-deserved: Kittle is 1 of the top pass-catching and blocking TEs in the league. From a fantasy perspective, he's finished top 3 in each of the last 2 seasons and should remain an elite producer for the next handful of years.
49ers WR Travis Benjamin has opted out of the 2020 season. He signed a cheap, 1-year deal with the 'Niners back in March and was unlikely to be anything more than a situational deep threat. There's not much fantasy impact here.
49ers GM John Lynch admitted on Tuesday that WR Deebo Samuel, who broke his foot in mid-June, is not expected to be ready for Week 1. “I’m not going to put an exact timeline on it, but it’s fair to say he may well miss some games early in the year,” Lynch said. “I know his rehab is going very well and he’s working very diligently and still intent on having a really big year for us.” Initial reports had Samuel expected to miss 12-16 weeks, which would keep him out until sometime between early September and early October. It sounds like might be trending toward the longer end of that timetable. We just knocked another game off of Samuel's projections.
The 49ers and RB Raheem Mostert have agreed to a restructured contract. No additional years were tacked on to the deal, but Mostert reportedly has a shot to double his old salary via incentives. He had requested a trade back earlier this month but will now be back in San Francisco this season. Mostert heads to training camp as the favorite for lead duties in this backfield -- although Tevin Coleman, and potentially Jerick McKinnon, will also be involved.
RB Raheem Mostert has asked the 49ers to trade him, according to his agent. Brett Tessler tweeted that he and his client have requested a trade "after months of unproductive talks with the 49ers about fairly adjusting Raheem Mostert's contract." This will be an interesting situation to watch in a backfield that has already sent Matt Breida to Miami. For now, we'd continue drafting Mostert at the same level. A trade shouldn't hurt his value, since it would presumably involve a team seeking to leverage his talent. Tevin Coleman, meanwhile, gets at least a slight upside boost on the chance that Mostert does get moved. Coleman's RB4-level ADP already makes him a solid value. Jerick McKinnon also remains under contract with the 49ers and would gain opportunity upside if Mostert moves.
49ers WR Deebo Samuel suffered a Jones Fracture in his foot during a throwing session with teammates on Tuesday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Samuel is undergoing surgery on Thursday and is expected to be sidelined for 12-16 weeks, per Rapoport. That timeline would have Samuel out until sometime between early September and early October. And Jones Fractures are tricky. We often see the injury aggravated or cause compensatory issues. Samuel just sunk down our WR rankings. His injury creates even more opportunity for 1st-round rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk.
49ers WR Jalen Hurd has been medically cleared from the stress fracture in his back that cost him his entire rookie season. "We're ramping him up. We are very optimistic,” GM John Lynch said. "Jalen’s 14 days that we've seen him were lights out. The problem is we've only seen him for 14 days. Jalen knows full well that he needs to work his tail off, so that he can get back and be a contributor and try to earn opportunities to be a contributor for our team moving forward.” Hurd scored twice in last year's preseason opener before being sidelined with that back injury. The 6'4, 230-pound former RB remains an intriguing prospect -- and San Francisco's WR depth chart remains wide open behind Deebo Samuel and 1st-round rookie Brandon Aiyuk.
The 49ers traded up to select Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk with the 25th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Aiyuk is coming off a big 2019 campaign: 65 catches for 1,192 yards and 8 TDs. He ranked 15th in the country in receiving yards and 13th among players with 40+ grabs with 18.3 yards per catch. Aiyuk’s 3.04 yards per route run was good for 7th among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. The concern is that 2019 qualified as his breakout season — and it came as a 21-year-old senior. Aiyuk spent his first 2 college seasons in JUCO and caught just 33 balls playing behind N’Keal Harry in 2018. Aiyuk did help his cause by earning an 89th percentile SPARQ score at 6’0, 205 pounds at the Combine. Quickness, burst and speed shows up on tape — especially after the catch, where Aiyuk averaged 10.9 yards last year. “He has ranginess to him, yet he’s compact enough where his change of direction is great,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He’s really explosive on tape.” With Deebo Samuel the only locked-in WR in San Francisco, Aiyuk will have every opportunity to capture a big rookie-year role.
After moving down a spot in a trade with the Buccaneers, the 49ers spent the 14th pick of the NFL Draft on South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw. The former Gamecock totaled 10 sacks over the past 2 years but never reached 10 tackles for loss in a college season. Analysts cited inconsistent game tape. He lands in 1 of the league's best defenses, which should help hide deficiencies. We're not excited about Kinlaw's IDP upside, though.
The Patriots are signing WR Marqise Lee to a 1-year deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Lee has appeared in just 6 games and totaled only 4 targets over the past 2 years because of knee trouble. That began with the August 2018 ACL tear. He joins a limited crew of receivers in New England, but we wouldn't bet on Lee cracking the top 3 -- if he even makes the regular-season roster.
The Jaguars have released WR Marqise Lee. The 2014 2nd-rounder posted 63-851-3 and 56-702-3 lines in 2016 and 2017, respectively, but has appeared in just 6 games over the past 2 seasons due to knee trouble. He'll turn 29 this November. We'll see where Lee lands next, but he's unlikely to be a 2020 fantasy factor. The Jags, meanwhile, move forward with WRs D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley atop the depth chart. They'll likely add at least 1 rookie to the mix later this week.
The 49ers have inked WR Travis Benjamin to a 1-year deal. Injuries limited the 30-year-old to just 5 appearances for the Chargers last season. But Benjamin averaged over 14 yards per catch in each of his first 7 NFL campaigns. He'll provide a field-stretching threat for QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the 'Niners -- but Benjamin is a long shot to hold real fantasy value in 2020.
The 49ers on Monday announced a 5-year, $85 million extension for DE Arik Armstead, keeping him from hitting free agency. Armstead started his career a bit slowly, including missing 18 games across 2016-17. But he broke out with 10 sacks and 18 QB hits in his 5th season and won't turn 27 until mid-November. Expect Armstead to land in DL2 territory in our 2020 IDP rankings.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the 49ers have agreed to a 3-year, $28.5 million deal with S Jimmie Ward. The 28-year-old -- until mid-July -- is coming off the healthiest and strongest season among his 1st 6 in the league. In addition to staying on the field, Ward also settled in to a higher percentage of safety snaps than he played in 2018. Ward combines that role with some valuable slot-corner exposure to present IDP upside beyond last year's mediocre production.
49ers WR Jalen Hurd is expected to be ready for OTAs, according to The Athletic's Matt Barrows. Hurd missed his entire rookie season with a back injury. The 6’5, 226-pound RB-turned-WR flashed, though, with a 3-31-2 receiving line in the preseason opener. He remains an intriguing prospect, especially with WR Emmanuel Sanders set to hit free agency. We're not ready to spend a pick on Hurd in early best-ball drafts, but he's certainly worth monitoring this offseason.
49ers TE George Kittle (ankle) returned to a full practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday. It's confirmation that he'll be ready for his usual role in this weekend's NFC Championship against the Packers.
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