Fantasy football owners had to wait and see how Deebo Samuel and his situation with the 49ers unfolded, but his unchanged role is good news for 2022.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel may have flown a bit under the radar entering 2021, at least in terms of fantasy football value. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Samuel’s average draft position (ADP) a season ago was 8.06 in the 12-team PPR leagues.
That lagged behind Niners teammate Brandon Aiyuk, whose 2021 ADP was 5.06.
Needless to say, those who caught Samuel over Aiyuk were not only rewarded with a late-round steal, but also received All-Pro production with the former South Carolina Gamecock recording 1 770 all-purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns. While Aiyuk was pretty solid as a WR2 or FLEX option, he falls far short of Samuel’s production.
Of those 1,770 yards, 365 of them came on the ground as a rusher, while eight of his 14 touchdowns were also of the rushing variety. It was a fantasy football goldmine, pure and simple.
Surely the newly coined term “wide back” was applicable. Still, deleting the fantasy football discussion for a second, Samuel was thought to be upset about his role, with reports of it coming from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport amid the contract standoff between the All-Pro and San Francisco.
Once Samuel finally received his contract extension, which included incentives to run the ball and not just serve as a catcher, he only dismissed any allegations of being upset with his role (h/t 49ers Webzone):
[Reporter]: One of the stories this offseason was that you were upset with how you were going to be used. Can you talk about it? Is this correct or not?
[Deebo Samuel]: ” It’s wrong. There were a lot of things I wanted to talk about, but in the end, I wasn’t allowed to. So you can turn on the tape, go back to the Cowboys game, it kind of shows what kind of player I am. And also, you can go fire up the Pro Bowl strip and what I said about being a wide back, I don’t mind doing whatever it takes for this team to win.
Turning our fantasy football radar back on is obviously great news for team owners looking to add Samuel to the mix, and it certainly increases his overall value.
Deebo Samuel’s fantasy football value soars in continued ‘wide-back’ role
No longer an under-the-radar fantasy gem, Samuel would still have been a sought-after commodity in fantasy drafts, even if his contract specified something along the lines of not being used in a dual-threat role as much.
With quarterback Trey Lance making his debut as a full-time starter for the first time, there are understandable concerns as to why Samuel’s 2022 numbers may not be close to this. which he featured a year ago, but Fantasy Football Calculator’s ADP for wide receiver is still a lofty 2.05, and he’s currently ranked as the No. 7 wide receiver to go, on average, in the 12-team PPR formats.
If Samuel wasn’t going to be used as a wide-back, this spot would probably have been a little tough, as his dual-threat usage was basically what made him so unique.
Now, with Samuel all but guaranteed to play a role almost identical to the one he displayed last year, his fantasy football value is certainly much better.
Even though Lance struggles early on to find the 49ers’ best offensive weapon from a year ago, Samuel’s rushing prowess still makes him a true WR1 candidate. These big plays of rushes, combined with regular trips to the end zone, help ensure that fantasy owners who use an early pick on him are well rewarded.