Fantasy Impact: Pierre Garcon to the 49ers
Over the last few days it had seemed that the 49ers wouldn’t have enough players to field a team with all the cuts they’d been making. They made one of their key additions on Wednesday with the acquisition of 30-year-old wide receiver Pierre Garcon. The deal is reportedly worth $16-17 million in the first year.
It’s somewhat of a puzzling move for a team that is in full rebuild mode, but it also makes sense because Garcon is familiar with new head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system from their time in Washington together from 2012-2013. Garcon will likely be used to develop some younger wide receivers they acquire in the draft.
With that being said, Garcon is coming off one of his better years in the NFL, as he recorded 79 receptions for 1,041 yards and three touchdowns. Despite being six-feet tall and weighing 210 pounds, Garcon has never been a touchdown scorer. His three touchdowns in 2016 were right in line with his career totals, as he’s never scored more than six times, and that’s including his time with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.
So what did Garcon look like in Shanahan’s scheme? As mentioned, these two worked together in 2012-2013, where Garcon totaled 249 targets in just 26 games played. That ranked as the 18th most in the league, despite missing six games in 2012. His 182 targets in 2013 were a league-high, and they resulted in his best season to date where he finished with 113 receptions for 1,346 yards. If you were to look at his totals on a per-game-basis from both seasons with Shanahan, he ranked ninth among wide receivers. His competition for targets during that time was Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, and Josh Morgan.
Looking at the 49ers depth chart right now, his lone competition for targets is Jeremy Kerley, Bruce Ellington, Chris Harper, Aaron Burbridge, and DeAndre Smelter. Outside of Kerley, the remaining wide receivers have combined for just 71 career targets. It’s fair to say that the 49ers are not done addressing the position.
It’s hard to say what type of fantasy impact Garcon will have without knowing who his quarterback will be, as the 49ers have none on their roster. It’s also possible that they are targeting Alshon Jeffery or another free agent wide receiver to go with Garcon, considering his struggles in the red zone.
Regardless of who they add, Garcon is slated to make $16-17 million in 2017, which means they plan on him being an integral part of their offense. If the 49ers don’t add any other big name wide receivers, you can put Garcon down for a minimum of 110 targets. There have been 56 instances where a player has seen at least 110 targets (in a single season) over the last two seasons, and of them, there’ve only been three to finish outside the top 30 at wide receiver. Those players were DeAndre Hopkins (2016 – WR36), Brandon Marshall (2016 – WR52), and Golden Tate (2015 – WR34). Right now, he should be penciled in as a solid WR3 in fantasy leagues.