Deebo Samuel is coming off a monstrous season in terms of fantasy football and production for the San Francisco 49ers. Samuel broke out in 2021 after suffering an early injury during training camp as well as several hamstring injuries keeping him sidelined for most of 2021. The star wide receiver was poised to break out in 2020 but had to wait until the following year when he could stay healthy. Samuel is one of, if not the most, explosive players with the ball in his hands when on the field. He should continue his electric style of play with a new quarterback in 2022.
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2022 Fantasy Football Outlook: Deebo Samuel
2021 Season Recap
Samuel’s breakout season featured 1,405 receiving yards with six touchdowns through the air. The electric wide receiver worked with both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo catching 77 passes on 121 targets. Not only did Samuel knife defenses through the air, he also racked up 365 rushing yards on 59 attempts with eight more touchdowns on the ground. His 1,770 total yards and 14 touchdowns solidified his status as a pro-bowl and 1st team All-Pro wideout.
Deebo Samuel is a WEAPON 😤 pic.twitter.com/bA6inS3nCF
— PFF (@PFF) January 14, 2022
Samuel’s production didn’t stop during the regular season. He gashed defenses in the playoffs with an additional 154 yards adding a touchdown. However, he did his most damage on the ground with 137 yards on 27 rushes and a touchdown. Samuel had a truly explosive season putting the team alert as soon as he touched the ball. His level of elusiveness will lead to another monster season in 2022 making Samuel a potential top-five fantasy wide receiver.
Samuel is poised for another massive fantasy football season. However, his production could drop off a bit given recent disputes about rushing attempts between him and the 49ers. Samuel is reported to have told reporters he did not want to continue rushing the football, but rather focus on playing wide receiver. This report comes out amidst trade-demand rumors and a looming holdout.
Samuel signed a three-year extension worth $73.5 million keeping him in San Francisco for the foreseeable future, squelching holdout and/or trade rumors. Despite the extension, Samuel clearly does not want to rack up another 60 rushing attempts in each season for the remainder of his career.
No holdout in Santa Clara.
— Niner Noise (@SFNinerNoise) July 26, 2022
Samuel’s hesitancy and potential lack of rushing upside could significantly negatively impact his fantasy production. He is unlikely to eclipse 1,770 yards again without added rushing attempts. Samuel should experience some regression in 2022 if he does not run the ball, but will likely continue as a top-five wide receiver.
The star wide receiver gets an upgrade at quarterback with Lance taking at the helm for 2022. Garappolo quietly had a good 2021 season with 3,810 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. Samuel was Garappolo’s favorite target exhibiting obvious chemistry between the two. Lance should make a big jump this season and continue feeding his target-hungry stud wideout. With Lance at the helm, Samuel could make up for fewer rushing yards and attempts to solidify his top-two round pricetag.
2022 Average Draft Position
Samuel has the 11th highest ADP at 13.1 according to ESPN.com. He is the fifth wide receiver being drafted at the end of the 1st round or beginning of the second round in smaller leagues. He is being taken between Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs as an elite-level pass catcher.
The first round is all about taking safe picks and known quantities to cash in on such a high-value draft pick. Rather than taking risks, owners should be looking at acquiring a workhorse to set a high floor on a weekly basis. Samuel is the prototypical first-round player owners should look to draft for week-in and week-out fantasy production. He won’t likely impress like last season or be dubbed a league winner, but he is the safe and productive first step to a winning fantasy football team.