With the 2021 NFL regular season right around the corner, fantasy football fans are starting to think about which players they should draft and when. Everyone is trying to figure out who is worth being a first-round selection and which players could have a breakout season. Here is a Brandon Aiyuk 2021 fantasy football profile and a look at why he could have a breakout season.
Brandon Aiyuk 2021 Fantasy Football Profile
Productive Rookie Campaign
The San Francisco 49ers drafted Brandon Aiyuk in the first round (25th overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft. In 12 games (11 starts) in his rookie year, Aiyuk had 748 yards on 60 receptions and five touchdowns. Despite playing in just 12 games, those 60 catches were a team-high. If you extrapolate those numbers over 16 games, he would have had around 1,000 receiving yards and 80 catches. He also added 77 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
He managed to do all of that with three different quarterbacks, including Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, who combined for 10 starts under center for the 49ers last season. This season Aiyuk will have a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo or rookie Trey Lance throwing him the ball. The former Arizona State Sun Devil put up at least 15 PPR points seven times last season. In Weeks 7-15 Aiyuk averaged over 17 fantasy points per game. Only Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill averaged more points during the same time period. He finished 2020 as the fantasy WR33.
Looking Ahead to 2021 Season
Fellow wideout Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle (the top tight end in the NFC West) both missed time due to injuries last season. With both Samuel and Kittle back in the lineup, Aiyuk should see more one-on-one coverage in 2021. Last season Aiyuk led the 49ers in targets with 96 and all rookies on a per-game basis with 8.0. The return of Samuel and Kittle could mean fewer targets for Aiyuk, but it could also make it is easier for Jimmy Garoppolo (or Trey Lance) to get him the ball since defenses won’t be able to focus as much on him. Aiyuk’s production should only improve with a better overall offense. And if they can stay away from the injury bug, the 49ers offense should be better in 2021. Aiyuk also provides versatility as he is capable of lining out wide or in the slot.
Although all five of his touchdowns were thrown within five yards of the endzone, Aiyuk is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball anywhere on the field (and the usage in the red zone will be good for fantasy managers). If the 49ers can get Aiyuk the ball in space, opposing defenses will need to be on alert. He just needs to remain healthy. That could be an issue giving his aggressive running style after the catch. But if he can remain available and either Jimmy G or Lance can provide good production at the quarterback position, Aiyuk could have a really good 2021 season.
Aiyuk shouldn’t be drafted in the first or second round, but if fantasy managers are able draft him in a later round he could provide incredible value.