Head coach- Kyle Shanahan
Offensive coaching philosophy- Aggressive & balanced
What to expect- Kyle Shanahan is one of the more innovative offensive minds in the game. Last year was supposed to be the rebirth of the 49’ers playoff hopes, but his star QB was lost for the season. Fortunately for the 49’ers it happened early in 2018 so Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be fine for 2019. Shanahan, like his dad Mike, uses a zone run scheme. Through the run he likes to use play action passes and take deeper shots down the field.
Quarterback- Last year didn’t go like 49’ers brass had hoped when they acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots. Garoppolo’s injury really dashed any hope of making the playoffs. The good news is he’s healthy now and because of the injury can be had for a cheap price of draft day. Garoppolo’s not very mobile, even less so now after knee surgery, but his quick release, good technique, and very good accuracy make him dangerous if given time. He knows the offense very well now after having to learn it on the fly in 2017. One anonymous NFL exec was asked if you had to pick one QB who could come out of nowhere and have a Pat Mahomes type of season in 2019 who would it be? His answer was Jimmy Garoppolo.
Running back- This looks like is a full blown RBBC. The 49’ers signed Tevin Coleman from Atlanta in free agency. Coleman knows Shanahan’s offense from Atlanta so the learning curve should be relatively easy. He’s an explosive playmaker, but will probably wear down if overused. And while he’s not the typical bigger, powerful short yardage RB, as of early June he looks like the guy who will get the rock when the 49’ers run it in from the 1 yard line. Also in the mix are Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida. Like Garoppolo McKinnon is also coming off a knee injury. His progress is slower because of the nature of his position- using his legs more to make quick cuts. It’s unlikely McKinnon has a big impact this year. It usually takes most running backs and wide receivers 2 years to recover from knee surgery. They will probably limit his plays- at least in the early part of the season. Breida is a change of pace back used for 3rd down situations.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The go to guy of this group is clearly TE George Kittle. Kittle has quickly established himself as one of the top TE’s in the league. 88 receptions on 1388 yards in 2018 despite starting QB Garoppolo being out for most of the year was simply incredible. His 5 TDs should go up. Teams will have to double him which opens things up for the other wide outs. There isn’t a prototype NFL#1 WR on this team. They have a bunch of #2 #3 WRs. Dante Pettis returns- he looks like a guy ready to take the next step. He started coming on late and with Kittle drawing added attention, he can benefit. Rookie Deebo Samuel looks like the slot WR. He is difficult to bring down, known for his tackle breaking ability. Samuel could also be used on gadget plays and runs. Marquise Goodwin has the speed to take the top off the defense, but unfortunately not the health to stay on the field. Shanahan hinted that Goodwin seems better suited as a complementary role with less snaps than as a primary weapon. The 49’ers also signed Jordan Matthews. Matthews might not even make the team. If he does, what he lacks in speed, he does have size and could see red zone looks if the defense focuses too much on Kittle. Keep track of training camp to see how things here unfold.
Offensive Line- Very Good Weston Richburg & Joe Staley are solid. McGlinchey made the all rookie team and will only get better. Mike Person adds versatility and Laken Tomlinson helps in run blocking rounding out a solid unit
Schedule- Very Good. Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Arizona, Green Bay are some of the foes- none are daunting. There could be some shootouts in 2019.
Bye- Week 4- This seems incredibly early and doesn’t help the 49’ers as injuries mount over the course of the year
Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 OK @New Orleans, Atlanta, LA Rams, @ Seattle The Saints have a very underrated defense. Atlanta has talent, but they’ve suffered injuries. Can they stay on the field? Shanahan is very familiar with their personnel so he might be able to exploit them even if they can. The Rams Aaron Donald is always a concern, but they underperformed last year. Seattle’s Legion of Boom is long gone. There’s nothing there this team can’t handle.
Sleeper- Jimmy Garoppolo, Dante Pettis
Undervalued - George Kittle
Overvalued- Jerick McKinnon
Bottom Line- Fantasy owners are a fickle crowd my friend. Many only remember what have you done for me lately. George Kittle is the star everyone will gravitate toward, but if you believe in Kittle you should believe in Garoppolo too. Expecting Kittle to do well or as well again without Garoppolo seems unlikely. Many experts are in a wait and see mode on Garoppolo and are afraid to rank him too high. He has sleeper potential written all over him if he can stay healthy. If this offense takes off-like a top 10 offense- it will be more than just the George Kittle show. Dante Pettis seems like as good a bet as any. He’s a hard worker and was coming on late last year working with only backup QBs. With a gunslinger like Jimmy G he could be a bargain on draft day. The RB situation still seems murky, but Tevin Coleman is in the lead to be the most productive. To summarize, this team has a relatively easy schedule, they’re more comfortable in this offense as it’s year 3 in Kyle Shanahan’s tenure, and they have the firepower to do some damage. The price tag is right for several 49’ers. Fantasy owners who take a chance mining for 49’ers on draft day might just strike gold in 2019.