2020 Shadow Coverage Report – San Francisco 49ers

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Division: NFC West

WR1: Deebo Samuel

Number of Potential Shadow Coverage Match-ups: 11

Historical Production

Deebo Samuel has yet to draw shadow coverage in his career as last season some teams elected to take away Emmanuel Sanders. The luxury of having a great play caller like Kyle Shanahan is he gives Samuel multiple ways to produce.  Shanahan does this by using Samuel in the run game which helps raise his floor even in tougher match-ups. Samuel was utilized in the slot as well seeing 25% of his routes on the inside and roughly 35% of his targets from that position. These factors will be notable when evaluating Samuel throughout the season.

2020 Schedule

Samuel’s schedule is nothing short of a gauntlet. Already behind the eight-ball dealing with an off-season foot injury Samuel is returning to the toughest shadow cornerback schedule of any wide receiver in 2020. This season he won’t have another wide receiver like Sanders to draw attention away, so Samuel will be the player that defensive coordinators target for shadow coverage. Heading into 2020 Samuel has 9 tier 1 cornerback match-ups and 11 total for the season.  In his own division he will see match-ups vs. top shadow cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Patrick Peterson. The NFC West will be facing off vs. AFC and NFC East that hosts some top shadow cornerbacks including Bryon Jones (Dolphins), Stephon Gilmore (Patriots), Tre’Davious White (Bills) and James Bradberry (Giants). If this wasn’t tough enough the other NFC teams they face are the Saints (Marshon Lattimore) and the Packers (Jaire Alexander).

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What wide receiver stats really matter? If you scroll through Twitter on any given day you will see a plethora of numbers backing up sleepers, busts and “league winners” among other things. For WRs you’ve got YAC stans, yards/target pushers, market share aficionados and everywhere in between. It’s easy to get excited when you see that a certain player had 25 yards/reception and is in line for increased targets the next year!

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Maybe you follow me on Twitter and listen to the Razzball Fantasy Football Podcast hosted by Donkey Teeth and myself. If that’s the case, you may have seen or heard these numbers. However, if following me on Twitter and listening to a podcast is too much, here are some fun numbers to look at for the upcoming season and dynasty purposes. 

Old TEs

Dynasty startups are under way. If you’re thinking about taking an older TE or WR early in the draft, this might give you a better understanding of what you’re signing up for with that pick. 

At TE, since the merger, there have been 3 players that have 1000+ yard seasons after the at the age of 31 or older. The list is Tony Gonzalez, Delanie Walker, and Greg Olsen. If we move that to the age of 32, it’s a small list. ONE. One TE (Tony Gonzalez) has more than 1000 yards at the age of 32, and no TE older than 32 has ever reached that mark.

Certainly the TE position is more of a receiving threat in the modern approach, but age has not been kind at the position. Maybe it’s due to the physical nature? Or just natural aging? But Father Time doesn’t get cheated very often. 

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So the country is mostly reopened now. New Orleans has even reached “phase 2” of their reopening, and as you can see in my sub-tweeted image below, folks are really getting out there. The guy in the back right is particularly out there if you know what I mean—don’t look!

Did you look? I told you not to! So there’s lots going on in the Big Easy lately. First we had the whole Drew Brees BLM saga, then protesters toppled a slave owner statue and now Dick’s taking full advantage of phase 2. But in the midst of all this craziness we find one rock: Michael Thomas. The guy just keeps getting better with receiving yardage totals exceeding 1,100 in 2016, 1,200 in 2017, 1,400 in 2018 and 1,700 in 2019. 2,100 yards in 2020 is logically the next stop, should be easy enough for Thomas to demolishing Megatron’s single season record by 140 yards. Anyway, here’s my top 20 wide receivers for 2020 PPR fantasy football:

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B_Don and Donkey Teeth are joined by Al_FF_Red, formerly known as Boof, to go over Donkey’s dynasty rankings. DT walks us through his ranking process and we ask him about the general construction of his top 20. 

We dig into his Joe Mixon ranking/hatred as both B_Don and Boof are all in on Mixy. We then ask DT about his top 20 ranking of Julio Jones and if he still belongs in that range at this point in his career. B_Don then asks Boof and DT to explain the Deebo Samuel infatuation.

As the guys wrap up, we look at some late ranked players in Alshon, Kyle Rudolph, Jalen Hurts, Nick Foles, and Darren Fells (who B_Don only brings up to plug Kahale Warring).

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I watched The Match on Sunday featuring Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning battling against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. The echo chamber said Tiger had a huge advantage playing at his home course. The echo chamber said Tiger wouldn’t lose two matches in a row to Phil. Turns out the echo chamber sometimes echos for good reason, as the Tiger/Manning duo held off a later charge from Phil and Brady to hoist the Pandemic Cup. But the echo chamber isn’t always right, especially in fantasy football. Remember last years mad chants of David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell as surefire first rounders? And JuJu and OBJ as top 15 draft pick elite WR1s? Well, I’ve stepped outside the echo chamber and into a private padded room to compile my 2020 fantasy football rankings. Over the weekend I gave you my overall top 10 for 2020 fantasy football which were crazy as a pack of unicycle-riding-gorillas. The only echos you’ll find here are the friendly, completely sane, voices inside my head. Anyway, here’s my top 20 for 2020 PPR fantasy football:

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Last week I gave you my top 10 dynasty rankings for 2020 fantasy football. First there was an angry mob of readers outraged by my Miles Sanders optimism. But that was only the tip of the iceberg. An hour after the rankings dropped I glanced at my phone. A dozen missed calls, all from Kerryon. When I finally mustered up the courage to call my love back, I could hardly get a word in. “Miles Sanders at #10?! I thought we had something special. What about the weekend we had in Paris!” So it took a lot of sweet talking before KJ was back in my bed, later that night. And all was right in the world. That is until today when my Johnson sees he’s no longer in the top 20. I’ve preemptively sent flowers. Anyway, here’s my top 20 for 2020 PPR dynasty leagues:

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Tuesday was the big unveiling of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new uniforms officially wiping the slate clean before the Tom Brady era, or whatever. I’ll give Tampa credit, these look like actual NFL uniforms as opposed to the knockoff XFL jerseys that they had been rocking for the past few years. I suppose that you could say that these new uniforms have a similar feel to golden era of Tampa Bay football in the late 90’s and early 00’s. The new uniforms are not that original though. They look like a hybrid of the Houston Texans’ and the Atlanta Falcons’ jerseys. 

I don’t think that the uniforms are the only similarity that there will be with the Bucs and Falcons this year. In fact, I think the Falcons could have a breakout receiver similar to what the Bucs had with Chris Godwin. And that receiver is none other than Calvin Ridley. 

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Socrates once said, “True knowledge exists in knowing you know nothing.” But if I know that I know nothing then isn’t that knowing something? What then? I’m already confused! What we can all agree on, based on my #9 ranking of Kerryon Johnson in my top 20 dynasty running backs, is that I’m a huge idiot AND I know nothing. Unless of course Kerryon happens to be a 22 year old fantasy RB1 this season. Then I’m just a regular size idiot because Juju Smith-Schuster has been omitted from my top 20 dynasty wide receivers. If somehow you resisted the urge to throw your computer against the wall in outrage at this news, then use that computer to take a look at the rest of our dynasty and rookie rankings for 2020 fantasy football. Anyway, here’s my top 20 wide receivers for 2020 PPR dynasty football: 

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We are three weeks removed from the Super Bowl and sprinting down the stretch of the college basketball season and fantasy baseball draft season is starting to take form for most. But fantasy football is a 12 month per year sport. I’ve already drafted a start up dynasty team this off season and can’t wait for free agency, the combine and the draft. We have a ton of NFL draft content on the site for you to sort through and there is plenty more to come. 

The wide receiver position had some great break out performances this season and also some disappointment at the top of the fantasy draft board. Some of the guys that we are accustomed to didn’t live up to their draft day price, while a few of the players that had preseason hype of a discounted price lived up to their potential. Just like we do every season, we had an unexpected breakout from a player that nobody was talking about. And in 2019, that player was D.J. Chark. Chark did have a few outlier games, but one of the more impressive parts of his season was the consistency of his stats. It didn’t matter who was taking snaps under center. Chark went from a fantasy waiver wire pick up to a guy that caught 73 balls for over 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns. Let’s break down the 2019 wide receiver leader board based on a few key stats. 

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