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Fantasy Football Player Notes

Week 1 PPR Rankings

DeAndre Hopkins Note
DeAndre Hopkins photo 8. DeAndre Hopkins (at SF)
I'm definitely worried about wide receviers going to new teams this year with no preseason games, though Hopkins is one I'm a bit less worried about. Why? Have you seen the quarterbacks he's worked with throughout his career? Outside of Deshaun Watson, here's the list: A.J. McCarron, Tom Savage, T.J. Yates, Brock Osweiler, Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum, Matt Schaub, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Despite all of that, he's been a top-five receiver for as long as I can remember. The 49ers don't shadow, so Hopkins will be most likely see Emmanuel Moseley in coverage most of the time. He's a former undrafted free agent who was forced to step into the starting lineup after Ahkello Witherspoon failed to live up to expectations. The Cardinals targeted him seven times in their matchups last year, completing five passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. There's likely going to be some growing pains with Hopkins and Kyler Murray, and knowing the 49ers defense is no pushover, it's hard to trust Hopkins as anything more than a WR2 in his Cardinals debut.
31 weeks ago
A.J. Green Note
A.J. Green photo 31. A.J. Green (at SF)
After dealing with a hamstring injury during training camp, it appears Green should be good to go for the opener. Unfortunately, it's the first time he's stepped foot on the field since 2018 and he has a matchup with a Chargers secondary that might have the best cornerback trio in the league. Casey Hayward has been very good the last few years but adding Chris Harris Jr. this offseason took them to a different level. Harris has been dominant for years and we wondered how he'd do transitioning to the perimeter last year, but he did a fantastic job in shadow coverage. He's not Darrelle Revis in his prime good, but he's good enough to downgrade a player. There were four receivers who played the Chargers last year and saw six-plus targets but didn't finish as a top-36 wide receiver. Those receivers were Allen Robinson, D.J. Chark, Olabisi Johnson, and Marcell Ateman. So, they weren't an automatic producer with targets alone. Because of that, combined with it being Joe Burrow's first game, and Green coming off a long absence, he should be considered a WR3 this week. There will be plenty of weeks where I'll recommend him as a WR2 but play it a bit safe here if possible.
32 weeks ago
Christian Kirk Note
Christian Kirk photo 44. Christian Kirk (at SF)
Not many realize that Kirk was on a 132-target pace over a full 16-game season last year. DeAndre Hopkins puts a massive dent into that, but Kirk is clearly the No. 2 option in this offense that figures to be more pass-heavy in 2020. He played two games against the 49ers last year, though it was nothing to write home about. He totaled 14 targets and hauled in eight of them for just 49 scoreless yards. The question we don't have answered is whether Kirk will move back to the slot with the acquisition of Hopkins, which is something we don't know until we see game action. The 49ers allowed just 6.74 yards per target to wide receivers last year (third best in the NFL last year), so it's a bad matchup in general, but if he moves into the slot, he'll avoid Richard Sherman. To be fair, K'Waun Williams was very good covering the slot last year, but he's been a bit hit-or-miss throughout his career to this point. With the uncertainty about where he'll line up, as well as the uncertainty surrounding his target share, it's best to approach with caution, though Kirk will likely be in the 5-7 target range for this game. Consider him a middling WR4 with limited upside.
31 weeks ago
Larry Fitzgerald Note
Larry Fitzgerald photo 57. Larry Fitzgerald (at SF)
He saw 109 targets last year, but that was without DeAndre Hopkins, and Christian Kirk missed three games. We also watched his targets decline as the year went on. He topped seven targets just once in his final 10 games, and also failed to top 56 yards in nine of them. Now you add Hopkins to the mix, and we're likely looking at a six-or-seven-target ceiling for Fitzgerald. He actually caught all nine of his targets against the 49ers last year, that amounted to just 75 yards, though one of them was for a touchdown. We could see Kirk move into the slot and Andy Isabella take the other perimeter spot in 4WR sets, which would also cut into Fitzgerald's appeal as one of now two legitimate options over the middle of the field. He fell in fantasy drafts due to his lack of ceiling and nothing has changed. He's more of a bye week option when you want a decent floor. Unless he scores here, I don't think he gives more than a WR5-type floor.
31 weeks ago
Andy Isabella Note
Andy Isabella photo 88. Andy Isabella (at SF)
Isabella's an intriguing name to watch this week to see what his involvement in the offense is like, but otherwise he should remain on your bench in deep leagues.
32 weeks ago
KeeSean Johnson Note
KeeSean Johnson photo 101. KeeSean Johnson (at SF)