Under the direction of first year head coach Jim Tomsula and offensive coordinator Geep Chryst the San Francisco 49ers look to have a bounce back season from a year ago. I expect the 49ers to take more shots down the field this year and put quarterback Colin Kaepernick into favorable situations outside of the pocket. The general perception of this team isn’t great right now but I am a believer in the 49ers fantasy value for 2015.
Colin Kaepernick has tweaked his throwing motion and looks to be improved from a season ago. The duel threat QB put up 3,369 yards passing with 19 touchdowns and had 639 yards rushing and one touchdown on the ground. I believe the one rushing touchdown was a fluke, as Kaepernick should be closer to five rushing touchdowns this year. That being said, Kaep is nothing more than an intriguing QB2 option this year.
How will the 49ers replace workhorse Frank Gore who is now in Indianapolis? All signs are leaning towards running back Carlos Hyde being the beneficiary of the early down work. I have Hyde as a RB2 at the moment and looking to draft him in the fourth round. Reggie Bush will also be a factor out of the backfield for the 49ers. Bush will be a RB3/Flex candidate and has been readily available late in draft rooms. If you draft Hyde, I would recommend trying to take Bush late in the draft as a handcuff until the running back picture becomes a little bit more clear, although at least initially Bush’s value will be maximized in PPR formats.
The main passing game targets are the steady Anquan Boldin and burner Torrey Smith, who are both late round fantasy draft picks. However, I really like targeting Boldin past the tenth round. Boldin has been a top-30 fantasy WR the past three seasons and provides a lot of value that late in the draft. Torrey Smith has the speed and athleticism to be a solid WR3 option this year, which has me looking to draft Smith anywhere after the eighth round this year.
Vernon Davis is the ultimate wildcard, coming off his worst season in the NFL after only racking up 245 yards with two touchdowns on 26 receptions. It is really hard to be optimistic on Davis this year who is now 31 years of age. I am going to label Davis as undraftable, but a hot start could make him a solid waiver wire addition in leagues where he goes undrafted.
San Francisco has always been known for a vaunted defense – specifically against the run – but we can’t totally count on them being a top shelf fantasy team defense in 2015. The coaching staff has been altered, several big names like Patrick Willis and Justin Smith have retired and the NFC West is only getting better. The Niners may not drop off the face of the earth defensively like some are predicting, but they are no longer one of those defenses you can consider reaching for before the final picks.
The 49ers don’t have a lot of flashy fantasy players but they have a group full of guys that will put value around your fantasy teams this year. In order to win a fantasy football championship you need to have value throughout your roster and the 49ers core of draftable players give you plenty of value in the later rounds. Carlos Hyde is the only 49ers player draftable before the fifth round, however, leaving the WR corps of Boldin and Smith available late into draft day with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.