San Francisco 49ers Team Preview

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    The 49ers have been the class of the NFC over the last five years. They have reached the playoffs in four of the last five seasons and played in the Super Bowl in two of the last five. In a way they are the Celtics of the NFL, a team with a dominant roster that has had playoff success but just cannot get over the hump. Brock Purdy has emerged as a good starter, however when he has to face Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl doubts will naturally creep in if he can get it done, even when his team has the more well-rounded roster. This is similar to the Celtics in how Tatum is a first team All-NBA player but, in the Finals, going up against a Steph Curry or Luka Doncic he would likely not be considered the best player on the floor.

    Despite the 49ers jumping out to an early lead in the Super Bowl as the game wore on it seemed almost inevitable that they were going to succumb to the greatness of Mahomes and the Chiefs. In overtime they had an 88% change to win according to ESPN analytics but the decision to kick the field goal came back to haunt them. In what could go down as one of the biggest coaching mistakes in recent history they decided to go for a field goal and allowed the Chiefs to win when they scored a touchdown on their ensuing possession. After the game 49ers players even admitted they did not know the new rules and the team had not gone over a strategy for overtime. While the Chiefs on the other hand were briefed on that exact scenario thanks to Andy Reid and his staff.

    Although the niners came up short in the Super Bowl I would not consider the season a failure for the 49ers. They had a dominant regular season finishing 12-5 and had some clutch wins against the Packers and Lions in the playoffs to advance to the Super Bowl. With the majority of their players from last season returning the 49ers are poised for another playoff run.  It’s easy to be to be optimistic as this team boasts one of the most complete offenses in the league.  No matter what you do try to and limit the explosiveness of the 49ers, there will always be a counter and the only thing you can do is try and make them earn thier points, but that is going to be difficult when Purdy led the league in pas plays that went for 30+ yards (31) and 40+ yards (14).  Purdy might not be in the same league as the truly elite QBs, but it’s hard to discount a QB who is both airing it out a league-high rate while also completed passes at a league-high efficiency.  It’s almost unfair that the Niners got this guy with the last pick in the draft and if everyone can stay healthy, it’s going to be hard to imagine anyone other than Mahomes beating them again this season.

    The 49ers have a plethora of strengths, however none greater than Christian McCaffrey. CMC finished as the number one running back in total points by a wide margin (81.6 points). He has a nose for the end zone which was illustrated by his franchise record of 17 straight games with a touchdown. This was the second consecutive year CMC has finished as a top-two running back and baring an injury I expect him to finish in the top-three again this season. His ability to make a defender miss after catching a screen from the backfield and break a long run only adds to his fantasy appeal. If you have the top pick in this year’s fantasy draft, I think picking CMC is a no brainer.

    CMC is not the only versatile weapon the niners have. Deebo Samuel is the ultimate Swiss army knife with his ability to run and catch out of the backfield. Samuel had five touchdowns on the ground and seven through the air last year. He should once again be a reliable receiver you will want to target in drafts. Brandon Aiyuk took another step forward last season as well and if he is still on the roster to start the season, he should enjoy another WR1 season. Their two top wide receivers and George Kittle round out this aerial attack to be one of the best in the league. While Kittle is a great tight end, he sometimes lacks the consistency of some of the other elite tight ends due to all the options the niners possess. While he can have blow up games for fantasy, there are times when he seems to be used more as a blocker and will let your fantasy squad down despite dominating the real life game. With that being said I still think he is a TE1 next year but with the emergence of some of the younger tight ends he is no longer a surefire top-three-to-five tight end off the board.

    The final strength of the Niners is their defense. The 49ers were first in interceptions last season and ninth in total sacks. This is in part due to their stellar offense. Their ability to put points up in bunches and make the other team play from behind helps their opportunistic defense capitalize. Their defense is led by Nick Bosa, Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner but they should receive additional help from second round draft pick Renardo Green. Green is a six-foot corner from Florida State who I expect to make an immediate impact and bolster their secondary.

    San Francisco 49ers (12-5): Win prediction 11-6


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