As we get closer to football season, more and more fantasy football talk will pop up. Our own Patrick Holloway will be doing fantasy videos weekly with Ben Ammar to discuss everything fantasy related. That will kick off late next month if everything goes to plan.
Expectations are higher than they’ve ever been during his life for San Francisco 49ers second-year wide receiver Dante Pettis headed into the 2019 NFL season. Pettis can be a star. We will wait and see whether that happens this year, or the following season. ESPN’s Matt Bowen believes that Pettis will breakout this year:
“It’s a small sample size from Pettis’ rookie season, but based on his 17.3 yards per catch (fourth overall in the NFL) and the five-week run at the end of the 2018 season in a heavy, play-pass system under Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers wide receiver could have the highest ceiling of this group.”
I am far from a fantasy expert. I tend to gravitate towards the guys that get a lot of volume, touchdowns, and big plays. Pettis will likely get all three of those.
The numbers Bowen referenced towards the end of the season between the duo of Pettis and Nick Mullens from Weeks 12-16: 20-of-31 targets for 259 yards, four scores, and 7.49 yards after the catch. I’ve heard the “Pettis put up those numbers in meaningless games.” Well, he also did it with an undrafted free agent quarterback that had never taken a snap at the NFL level. If he could do that with Mullens, what is Pettis going to accomplish with a superior quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, not to mention better offensive weapons around him that will only create more space for him?
“And in Weeks 12-14, Pettis was WR6 in fantasy, outscoring both Julio Jones and Antonio Brown. Again, this is a small sample size we are talking about, but of the wide receivers with at least 40 targets in 2018, Pettis was the only player who averaged 10 air yards per target and seven yards after the catch. Which brings us back to Shanny’s system.”
I didn’t know that Pettis outscored those two. That air yard number is impressive because it tells you Pettis can either separate or finish down the field. If he can be a consistent threat at the intermediate level and open up the offense underneath for a guy that’s talented after the catch like Deebo Samuel, the only thing that will prevent the offense from moving the ball is themselves.
Here’s Bowen on how the health of Garoppolo will benefit Pettis:
“With a healthy Garoppolo entering the season, and the route-running of Pettis to create separation on crossers/over routes, plus the deep out in the 49ers’ three-level flood concepts, the windows will be there,” Bowen writes. “And that also leads to numbers after the catch when the 49ers match up to zone-heavy defenses in both single-high and split-safety looks. I think Pettis could have a breakout season, pushing his way into lineups in all scoring formats as a WR2.”
So, what do you think is a fair ceiling for Pettis this year? Let’s hear some fantasy projections.