Brandon Aiyuk Fantasy Outlook Ascends to League-Winner Status Following Deebo Samuel Injury - Roto Street Journal
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Brandon Aiyuk Fantasy Outlook Ascends to League-Winner Status Following Deebo Samuel Injury

Kyle Shanahan has once again hit on a rookie receiver. After nailing Deebo Samuel in last year’s draft, he found another electric wideout in Brandon Aiyuk who fits his system like a glove. But with Samuel unable to stay on the field this year and George Kittle on IR, Aiyuk has been forced to step up as a rookie.

After putting up a career-high 119 yards and 10 receptions on 16 (!) targets in Week 14, the Arizona State product is set to explode in Week 15 with Samuel likely done for the season. As a result, Aiyuk is a fantasy must-start as the 49ers’ target hog and a likely league-winner for his patient fantasy owners.

In the last three games in which Samuel has missed, Aiyuk has been targeted at least 11 times in each of those games. He’s in line to be showered in targets in Week 15 against the Cowboys, a pathetic secondary that’s allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

The great Matt Harmon explained how not only is Aiyuk producing like an alpha WR, but Shanahan is scripting the passing game around the rookie. Since Week 8, Aiyuk has garnered 31 percent of the team’s targets, 36 percent of the team’s air yards, and 25 percent of their red-zone targets. In those five games, Aiyuk has caught 36 balls for 495 yards and three scores. Furthermore, he’s caught all four of his catchable passes that floated over 20 air yards downfield for 139 yards.

But following Aiyuk’s breakout game against Washington, Shanahan said he has high expectations for the rookie and wants more out of him over the next few weeks.

“I thought he had one of his better games last week (vs. the Bills),” Shanahan said on Monday. “I know he had some good stats, but I have high expectations for Brandon. I just want him to keep improving each week. Each week’s a different situation.

“He is a rookie. He handles himself more like a pro than most rookies I’ve been around, so I think he’s got a great future with that, but I still think he can play a lot better, and I think he could have last night, too. I think he took a small step back last night, and I’m hoping he’ll take two forward next week.”

That’s some tough love from a head coach who doesn’t want his rookie to get too big of a head following a career-best performance.

Albeit very talented, it’s surprising the 2020 rookie wideout class has developed so quickly during a COVID-restricted season. Not to mention Aiyuk has battled through some hamstring issues, which further limited his practice availability.

Even though the former Sun Devil has only played in 10 games, he’s only 267 receiving yards away from snatching the 49ers rookie receiving yardage record from none other than the GOAT himself, Jerry Rice. For those who aren’t good with numbers, Aiyuk only needs roughly 90 yards in each of his last three games to surpass Rice. While that may seem like a lot, Aiyuk has gone over the 90-yard mark in three of his last four games.

Anyway, Aiyuk is a Week 15 lineup lock who could lead you to the promised land with the Cowboys and Cardinals on deck. As a result of the Deebo injury and his own coming-out party, Aiyuk is WR10 on The Wolf’s Week 15 Fantasy Rankings.

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