Samuel didn’t crush you in Week 14, but he did show why the recent shift to RB-WR hybrid isn’t great for his fantasy value.
Samuel gained 37 yards on 8 carries, making him San Francisco’s 2nd most active ball-carrier, behind Jeff Wilson Jr. His 27-yard score early in the 2nd quarter accounted for most of that. And Samuel scored a decent 12.9 PPR points for the game.
That was good for just 38th among WRs for the week, though. Blame his mere 1 target.
That makes 3 straight games in which Samuel has logged more carries than targets, with 22 total rushes vs. just 7 looks over that span.
Samuel has still run a route on 85.5% of Jimmy Garoppolo’s dropbacks over his past 2 full outings. So we’d bet on his target share rebounding. He did, however, trailing Brandon Aiyuk in routes each of those 2 games. So we have to downgrade Samuel right now vs. his previous standing – at least a little. Week 7 was the last time Samuel matched or exceeded Samuel’s route total.
A Week 15 matchup with the Falcons’ weak pass defense presents a nice “get right” spot.
The bad news was that Samuel left this game late with a groin injury, though he was on the sideline celebrating with his teammates in the 4th quarter, so hopefully, his injury is minor. It was also disappointing that he caught just 1 of 4 targets. Fortunately, Samuel continued to take advantage of his opportunities as a runner, and he was dominant on his 6 carries. He was either schemed into space, and when he wasn’t he was breaking tackles to pile up big yardage. He showed great burst, as he leaped across the goal line on a run he took down the sideline for a TD.
HC Kyle Shanahan has already said the WR will miss some time. When Samuel returns, the way the 49ers use him ensures that he’ll be matchup proof. Whether he dominates on the ground, where he’s piled up 181 yards and 4 TDs over the last 3 games, or as a receiver, where he’s posted at least 90 yards in 6 games, he should be a top-15 fantasy player the rest of the way. In the fantasy playoffs, he has 3 great matchups against the Falcons, Titans, and Texans.
Samuel has carved out a unique role in this offense for the 49ers. On a week where Samuel only caught 1 pass for 15 yards, he was still a dominate force for fantasy. The 49ers used Samuel in the ground game as he rushed for 79 yards and 1 TD. The 49ers have used Samuel as a Swiss army knife and now with this newfound rushing production he offers a much higher floor. Even in a week where there is low pass volume like the 49ers had vs. Jacksonville, Samuel’s ability to get 5-8 carriers should help him fantasy relevant. More importantly Samuel gets work on the ground near the red zone which helped him find the end zone in Week 11.
This week the 49ers take on the Vikings who have allowed the 4th most points to WRs this season. Obviously, Samuel is a lock and loaded starter, but with his supporting cast around him getting stronger his target count should be monitored in Week 12. If we see this trend continues, Samuel could be a sell high if your trade deadline hasn’t passed.
Samuel was the best player on the field in Monday night’s win over the Rams.
He was surprisingly a big part of San Francisco’s game plan on the ground, taking a career-high 5 carries for 36 yards, highlighted by an 8-yard score off left tackle in the 2nd quarter.
Samuel was also a beast in the passing game, hauling in all 5 of his targets for 97 yards and a TD. He consistently picked up extra yards after the catch, including on a 15ish-yard catch over the middle that he took for a 40-yard score to seal the win in the 4th quarter.
Samuel is in the midst of a remarkable season. His 18.1 yards per catch and 11.4 yards per target are both easily career highs. And he’s already set personal bests with 979 receiving yards and 5 TDs.
It’s tough to imagine Samuel maintaining this level of efficiency. But he can decline a bit and still be a WR1 the rest of the way.
Samuel caught 5 of 9 targets for 63 yards in the 49ers' Week 9 loss to the Cardinals.
Samuel was finally slowed down this week as he came in to the week as the overall WR3, picking up huge chunks of yards all season.
He had another long reception on a screen pass this week but was ultimately out-produced by teammates George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.
Samuel should be viewed as a WR1/WR2 and should continue to smash rest of season.
Samuel's special season continued on Sunday. He caught 6 of his team-high 9 targets for 171 yards. This was the 3rd time this season that Samuel produced more than 150 receiving yards. This was the 2nd straight game where he didn't see a carry after seeing at least 1 in 4 straight games.
Going forward, there is little reason to doubt Samuel no matter who is under center. He has been a target machine thus far, seeing 8 or more targets in every game with 4 games with 10+ targets.
In a game that Jimmy Garoppolo threw for just 181 yards on just 18 completions, Samuel was the only receiver on the team to have any tangible production. Samuel was able to find the soft spots in the Colts zone to give his QB some easy throws, but he also was able to use his physicality to haul in a couple of contested catches. He also caught the only TD through the air the team had in a losing effort.
With TDs in each of his last 3 games and a few different games with at least 100 yards, Samuel is looking like a player who can be a WR1 in any given week. Although he’s not seeing the rushing attempts that he’s had in the past couple years, he’s emerged as both a reliable and explosive player, and it’ll be tough to rank him outside the top-20 WRs in any week.
Despite seeing a team high 9 targets, more than double any other teammate, Samuel caught just 3 passes for 58 yards. He has seen 8+ targets in every game, including 3 games with double-digit targets.
This week's production (or lack thereof) has much more to do with QB Trey Lance than Deebo himself. This was the first game where Samuel had less than 5 catches, getting at least 50 yards in every game. He did find the endzone on his only rush attempt, getting 13 yards in the process. This helped to salvage his fantasy day for those that started him.
The good sign is the volume is still going the WR’s way. Lance will have to be better and give his WR more catchable targets. Samuel was producing monster numbers before the QB switch was made. If San Francisco goes back to Jimmy Garoppolo it may be worse for the 49ers long term but better for Samuel's immediate fantasy value.
The bye week will bring much of the information on this entire situation going forward.
Samuel continued to be the bright spot among the 49ers’ receiving options, and he was able to produce with both Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance at QB. Of course, his big play came with Lance at QB, when the Seattle defense busted a coverage, leaving Samuel wide open down the sideline where Lance easily connected with him on a 76-yard TD. As has been the case all year, he continued to earn significant yardage after the catch, as he finished the game with nearly 20 yards per catch.
With Brandon Aiyuk not commanding targets and George Kittle being used more as a blocker than a receiver in most games, it looks as if Samuel is in line to be a WR2 with massive weekly upside. He’s been schemed open frequently, and he’s also been excellent in his ability to gain yardage after the catch. He can turn a short catch into a long TD at any time.
Samuel has to be one of the toughest guys in the league. He shows every week he is willing to go up and get the ball no matter who is waiting to light him up.
Samuel led the 49ers in targets against the Packers with 10, for a 25% target share. His 5 catches for 52 yards marked his lowest output in each category so far this season.
Samuel and the 49ers WRs have an exciting matchup on deck with the Seahawks, who have allowed WRs to eclipse 115 yards each of the past 2 weeks. Samuel should have an opportunity to feast on this defensive backfield and you can fire him up confidently as a WR2 option. We have him ranked at WR23 this week.
After dominating receiving work to a shocking degree in Week 1, Samuel again operated as the clear lead target for the 49ers in Sunday’s win at Philadelphia.
His 8 targets led all players for the game, with RB JaMycal Hasty (5) and TE George Kittle (4) next among Niners. Samuel’s 15.5 yards per catch on 6 receptions, though, belie a shortening of his average target depth. Samuel consumed 40 of his 93 yards for the game on a single intermediate catch-and-run near the end of the 2nd quarter.
Samuel’s usage -- including 2 carries vs. Philly -- through 2 weeks is easily the biggest mark in his favor and the reason to start him without question until something changes significantly. San Francisco looks like a poor bet for consistent downfield passing, though, will cut into the upside of Samuel’s targets. That will start to matter only if his target share comes down.
For now, be happy with the return on your investment. We’d be willing, though, to field offers from WR-hungry teams in your league.
Even though Jimmy Garoppolo only needed to throw 25 passes, Samuel saw almost half of those passes, leading to the best game of his young career. The highlight of his day was when he made an adjustment on a severely underthrown pass before outrunning the Detroit defense for a 79-yard TD. Although Brandon Aiyuk was active and played 47% of the snaps, he was basically a decoy before spending much of the game on the bench in this very winnable game, which may have also helped to boost Samuel’s massive target share.
Although there’s no denying that Samuel’s an excellent player, the fact is that this is often a low-volume passing attack, so to think Samuel will see double-digit targets regularly may be overly optimistic. And it’s important to remember that George Kittle (and possibly Aiyuk) will see his share of targets as well. Certainly, Samuel’s being counted on to be at least a WR3 by fantasy managers, but there will be weeks where the volume just isn’t there.