These new guys in San Francisco may be on to something. The final score of their 32-21 loss to Minnesota notwithstanding, the revamped 49ers offense put on a show with their opening two drives while the defense shut out the Vikings’ starters. Even the most pessimistic fan in the Bay Area spent at least a minute this week rethinking their prognostications of another dreadful football season. These guys can win some games.
Among the new names and schemes brought in by GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan, it was a bunch of old-timers who headlined the impressive offensive start. Journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer is at the helm this year. All he did was connect on his first nine passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin made their presence felt, especially on Goodwin’s 45-yard touchdown. And the running back Lynch thought might not fit Shanahan’s offensive scheme, Carlos Hyde, hauled in three of Hoyer’s passes for 45 yards. The last of the trio resulted in a 24-yard touchdown for Hyde.
Meanwhile, San Francisco’s starting defense was all over the field hitting anyone who moved. The hits were strong. The quarterback was harassed. The running backs were corralled. They allowed receivers to catch the ball before hitting them hard, too.
What did we learn
Kyle Shanahan is in the middle of a total rebuild in San Francisco, but he doesn’t look ready to mail in the season and neither do his troops. They are playing hard for their new boss and that will be good enough to steal some victories this year.
Hoyer came out on fire before faltering a bit in the second quarter. He still finished with a passer rating of 143.3. Carlos Hyde’s preseason continues to impress. He will be the starting running back as he has done everything the new Niners’ offense requires.
There are some young guys challenging for roles behind him. The biggest challenge is not coming from the previously-hyped Joe Williams. Instead, it is Raheem Mostert. Mostert’s impressive 87-yard catch and run from the backup quarterback C. J. Beathard was all-Mostert. He made his way across the field and through the entire defense on his way to the end zone. He added 26 yards on four carries and another touchdown. Mostert, Williams and Matt Breida have all had moments this preseason. The 49ers also have Kyle Juszczyk to share the load. He hauled in a 16-yard pass from Hoyer on the first scoring drive.
Hoyer is not getting any consideration on draft day, but with solid receiving options on the outside and from the backfield, the situation warrants monitoring as he could be a streamer down the road.
Pierre Garcon is getting a lot of sleeper consideration, coming off the board in the eighth round on average as the WR37. Hoyer seems to have a good feel for Garcon, as well as Marquise Goodwin (ADP- WR60). Garcon is definitely worth the play. The only reason I would hesitate on Goodwin is Hoyer’s tendency to go quickly to his check down options from the backfield. Jeremy Kerley has been pushed down in the pecking order.
Carlos Hyde’s ADP is creeping up as Joe Williams’ fades. Hyde still might be undervalued as a third-round RB17. Shanahan’s offense seems custom made for him, even if he did have to redefine himself to let Lynch know it. It is difficult to say that any of the backs drafting ahead of him are not worth their positions, but it would not be surprising if Hoyer’s check down passes did not elevate Hyde closer to an RB10 season.
I am not considering anyone else as a lock. This is not to disrespect Joe Williams as much as it to respect the others sharing the backfield with him. Hyde will be a workhorse. The rest will split time.
Those other fantasy guys
Garrett Celek became the starting tight end this week after Vance McDonald was dealt to the Steelers, but the 49ers believe they drafted their tight end of the future in 6’4” George Kittle. How much either is utilized in the passing game is a wild card. I don’t draft wild cards, but I do wait and gauge their streaming potential.
Robbie Gould will be the kicker in windy San Francisco. His time in Chicago has prepared him for the bay breezes. You could do worse, but you can do much better, too. He stays on the draft board until I see how the Niners move the ball.
San Francisco’s defense looks exciting and full of potential. But potential doesn’t score fantasy points. They bear watching but are not worth a roster spot against some of the offenses they face this season.
So… that’s that
I can see San Francisco returning to their former glory with a few years. But all I care about now is this year’s fantasy potential. You should get an immediate return by investing in Carlos Hyde and probably Pierre Garcon.
Everybody else needs to be monitored for breakouts and changes in the situation. But don’t get up! Let us do the watching for you. You can just check back in here at RealSport for the latest updates whenever you have a need to know.
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