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Fantasy football 2017: Previewing the 49ers

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Where should fantasy owners target 49ers players in their upcoming drafts?

NFL: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football draft season is here! With the majority of fantasy leagues drafting over the final two weeks of the preseason, Niners Nation has your 49ers fantasy analysis covered. Average Draft Position (ADP) is based on 12 team leagues using a standard scoring format.

Quarterback

Brian Hoyer enters the season as the undisputed starter at QB, playing in an offensive system that in 2016 helped Matt Ryan rise to NFL MVP. In standard scoring formats, Ryan put up the second-most fantasy points in the NFL.

What does this mean for Hoyer? For now, not much. Hoyer falls out of the draftable QB rankings in ADP according to the Fantasy Football Calculator. If Hoyer finishes in the 15-20 range among QBs, he’ll have overachieved. On the positive side, Hoyer did contribute 20+ fantasy points in three of his five starts in 2016. He’s worth a late flier in two-QB leagues, otherwise he should be available on waivers later in the season if he breaks out.

Running Backs

Carlos Hyde has the potential to be a massive draft steal based on his ADP. He is currently the 17th back off the board, averaging the 11th pick of the third round. He finished 15th in fantasy points at RB in 2016. Playing in an offensive system that has churned out many stars at RB, Hyde has the potential to be a Top 5 player at his position.

Injuries are a concern with Hyde, who has missed 14 games in three seasons (and has played limited by injury in many more), including three missed starts in 2016. It’s a risk well worth taking if Hyde is available early in the third round, because the upside is tremendous.

As a handcuff for Hyde, Joe Williams is currently averaging the 140th overall pick, as the 51st RB off the board. Pass on Williams, however, until there is more clarity as to the 49ers depth chart.

Wide Receivers

Pierre Garçon is certainly a draftable player, but nailing down his exact draft position is difficult. He is currently averaging the fifth pick of the eight round, as the 36th WR and 90th player overall. He will likely outplay that draft position as the primary receiving option on a team that may end up trailing in many games.

After Garçon, it’s unclear who will see the most targets. No other 49ers WR rates as draftable based on ADP, so the remaining players are intriguing late round fliers at best. Marquis Goodwin is currently slated as the second WR in the starting lineup, with Jeremy Kerley in the slot. Aldrick Robinson and Trent Taylor round out the group that will likely see meaningful playing time. Of the group, Goodwin is the one to target at the tail end of the draft, as the rest should absolutely reach the waiver wire. There is potential here, so be prepared to jump on the waiver wire if one of these players emerges.

Tight Ends

The 49ers depth chart at TE is still unclear, but no player should be considered draftable. Rookie George Kittle is a player to keep an eye on, but he is likely to go undrafted in most leagues. Kyle Shanahan’s heavy use of two-TE sets means there likely won’t be a primary TE target in the passing game. FB Kyle Juszczyk will cut into TE production as well, resulting in a group that should perform well collectively, but won’t carry much fantasy value.

DEF/ST

The 49ers defense performed abysmally last year, and ranked in the bottom 5 in fantasy points. The group should be much improved, particularly in the run game, but won’t likely be a Top 12 unit meriting draft status. The special teams group does little to move the needle.

Eric Reid is well worth a pick as an Individual Defensive Player (IDP). NaVorro Bowman and Reuben Foster are worth considering, but their production level in the new-look defense is still to be determined.

Kicker

Robbie Gould began 2016 on the street, before signing with the New York Giants in the wake of Josh Brown’s suspension. The aging vet connected on 10 of 10 field goal attempts over 10 games, but his PAT percentage ranked 31st in the NFL. Unless the 49ers offense surprises, Gould doesn’t have any draft value, falling entirely out of ADP rankings.

The bottom line:

Only Carlos Hyde and Pierre Garçon rank as draftable players, and both should outproduce their ADP. The team has a lot of potential waiver wire gems so be prepared to snap up 49ers players, particularly at WR, as their roles emerge.