Can Brandon Aiyuk Consistently Produce For 2021 Fantasy?
Brandon Aiyuk was impressive during his rookie year with the 49ers. Even in an injury-riddled year for the 49ers that included horrible quarterback play, Aiyuk was still able to put up solid numbers. Going into the 2021 season, can Brandon Aiyuk be consistently relied on in fantasy?
Aiyuk finished 2020 with 60 receptions, 748 yards, and five touchdowns. He also added 77 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns while only playing in twelve games. Aiyuk only had six rushing attempts, but it felt like they ran that jet sweep with Deebo and him ten times a game. Those stats landed Aiyuk to be ranked as WR35 in PPR leagues.
Although the 49ers sustained a number of injuries to key players, including Nick Bosa, Raheem Mostert, and Solomon Thomas, no injury hurt them more than Jimmy Garoppolo. The quarterback position has never been more valuable, and when you lose your starter for the year, the season is not going to go end well. Garoppolo has become severely underrated, but he has had a problem staying healthy. As they say, the best ability is availability. When Jimmy G went down, San Francisco relied on C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens at the quarterback position, which was a disaster.
Aiyuk is in an interesting position with the 49ers. While they already have an elite receiver in Deebo Samuel and the best tight end in the league in George Kittle, they both have shown an inability to stay healthy. Kittle has only played one full season, and Deebo has missed ten games in two years. Aiyuk only missed four games last season and was the clear number one option for San Francisco when he was healthy.
I was surprised when I saw Aiyuk’s numbers because Kyle Shanahan loves running the football. Whether it was Mostert, Jeff Wilson, or JaMycal Hasty, Shanahan loves running the ball down the opposing defenses’ throat.
I think Brandon Aiyuk is poised to have a huge season as long as Jimmy Garoppolo can stay on the field. We all know the 49ers took Trey Lance in the draft, but I don’t know how much of this offense he is going to be able to effectively run if he is thrown into the game. Garoppolo enters his fourth year in Shanahan’s system and knows it like the back of his hand.
Aiyuk’s floor is a high-end WR2 and may have WR1 stats by the time the season ends, again, if Garoppolo is the quarterback. This offense is going to look a whole lot different when Trey Lance gets his shot.