San Francisco 49ers free agent Pierre Garcon

The San Francisco 49ers began free agency with a fury of signings that are likely to impact the fantasy football landscape. We break down each of the Niners’ pickups and project each player’s level of fantasy production in 2017.


The San Francisco 49ers – under the leadership of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan – made a strong statement at the beginning of 2017 NFL Free Agency. In the first few hours after free agency officially began, the 49ers announced numerous high-dollar signings that were extremely rare during the Trent Baalke era of frugality.

Shanahan certainly has a vision for his offense in 2017, which will look much different than the anemic 49ers offense of prior years.

Many of the 49ers’ free-agent pickups will have immediate fantasy impact as the Niners’ offense transitions from a fantasy afterthought to what fans hope will become a forimidable force in the league. We’ll take a look at each of the Niners’ signings and project their fantasy production for the upcoming season:


QB Brian Hoyer

With the exit of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers decided to hand the reigns of the offense to journeyman Brian Hoyer, who played under Shanahan in Cleveland.  Hoyer’s contract is a low-risk deal that provides the 49ers with a bridge quarterback between Kaepernick and a rookie QB – or potentially Kirk Cousins, who is likely to become a free agent in 2018.

While Hoyer has shown the ability to provide decent fantasy output in the past, he is an injury risk — particularly behind a suspect offensive line. With the likelihood that the 49ers will draft his replacement in the 2017 NFL Draft, Hoyer should remain undrafted in all one-QB leagues, and be considered no more than an early-season streamer.

Prediction: Low-end QB2


QB Matt Barkley

Barkley was signed as an insurance plan for the oft-injured Hoyer, and will have to compete for a spot on the roster, particularly if the team drafts one or more quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft. The veteran backup has little fantasy value if Hoyer remains healthy, and should be kept off your fantasy radar at draft time.

Prediction: No fantasy impact


WR Pierre Garçon

The 49ers made a sizable investment in Garçon, offering him a five-year deal worth up to $47.5 million. A healthy Garçon is a lock to lead the Niners in targets and catches, but the question remains whether Shanahan’s offense will be potent enough to produce a top fantasy receiver with a low-end quarterback behind a questionable offensive line.

While Garçon is capable of 100-catch seasons, he’s less of a force near the end zone, which has limited his fantasy output over the course of his career. Garçon will likely be an afterthought in many drafts thanks to San Francisco’s recent offensive passing woes, and should be a mid-round steal as a high-floor, low-ceiling WR2.

Prediction: High-end WR2


WR Marquise Goodwin

Goodwin — a former Olympian —  is perhaps the fastest man in the NFL, but is still learning how to become a complete receiver after four frustrating years with the Buffalo Bills:

From a review of his game film, Goodwin was misused during his time with the Bills, and could flourish under Shanahan if his new team allows him to run a more complete route tree. A threat to score from anywhere on the field, the speedy Goodwin is a low-floor, high-ceiling option who should be available as a flier at the very end of your draft.

Prediction: WR3


WR Aldrick Robinson

Robinson followed Shanahan to the Bay Area after showing flashes with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016. Robinson can play all three wide receiver positions — but none of them consistently well. Robinson will likely make the 49ers’ final roster, but will have a difficult time making a fantasy impact unless the team sustains major injuries at the position.

Prediction: No fantasy impact


WR Jeremy Kerley

Lynch and Shanahan signed Kerley to a three-year extension prior to the official beginning of free agency. In 2016, Kerley had a breakout season in his first year with the team, leading the 49ers in both receptions and receiving yardage.

Unfortunately, recent additions at the receiver position will mean less targets for the slot receiver, who flourished last season thanks to the team’s lack of talent at wide receiver. Kerley should begin the season on your waiver wire in the majority of leagues, due to his limited upside.

Prediction: Low-end WR4


WR DeAndre Carter

Carter went undrafted in 2015 after two solid seasons at Sacramento State, and bounced between NFL teams and practice squads before signing with the 49ers last month. The undersized receiver will need to have a strong preseason and demonstrate value on special teams in order to have a shot at the 49ers’ final roster.

Prediction: No fantasy impact


TE Logan Paulsen

Shanahan is familiar with Paulsen from their time together on the Washington Redskins, where the tight end spent the first five years of his six-year career. Paulsen was signed for goal-line and short-yardage situations due to his strength as a run blocker, and although Shanahan favors heavy sets, Paulsen is unlikely to produce as a viable fantasy tight end.

Prediction: No fantasy impact


FB Kyle Juszczyk

The versitile Juszczyk is Lynch’s $21 million “Offensive Weapon,” but will likely be classified as a running back in your fantasy football league, which will unfortunately make him a non-factor for fantasy purposes.

Expect Shanahan to use “Juice” in a variety of positions, including at tight end; if your league decides to classify him as a tight end, he could potentially become a viable streamer. Otherwise, his most significant fantasy impact will be his stellar blocking for halfback Carlos Hyde.

Prediction: No fantasy impact


K Robbie Gould

Gould spent 11 years as a member of the Chicago Bears, becoming the franchise’s all time leading scorer. The kicker then spent one season with the New York Giants, before signing a two-year contract in San Francisco to replace outgoing kicker Phil Dawson.

Last season, Shanahan’s kicker Matt Bryant was the most productive kicker in fantasy football, while Dawson was in the bottom third of the league in productivity. Gould will have more opportunities under the 49ers’ new regime, and although he won’t be a top option, he should be a viable fantasy starter.

Prediction: K1

About the Author: Chris Wilson

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