The 49ers wide receivers are a bit of a wild card. They are coached by a great offensive mind in head coach Kyle Shanahan and will catch passes from a quality quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo. But the wide receiving corps lacks elite talent. And they have a lot of bodies. Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon should lead the way. Can one of them be a true WR1 here? How many targets can Trent Taylor and rookie Dante Pettis expect? Can guys like Kendrick Bourne and Aldrick Robinson produce anything of note?
Jason Wood: Last year, I detailed Pierre Garcon's opportunity in San Francisco and noted he would be productive because Kyle Shanahan has a history of feeding his top receiver. I also detailed Garcon's stunning mediocrity and documented that 100 percent of his fantasy value was tied into compiling stats versus being a playmaker on a per-touch basis. All that holds entering this year, but what's different are two things: 1) the emergence of Jimmy Garoppolo, and 2) Marquise Goodwin's breakout late last year. Goodwin was on a 90+ reception, 1,300-yard pace once Garoppolo took over, and there's no reason to expect the chemistry the pair had initially will suddenly fade after an offseason together. Garcon is better suited to a No. 2 role and should be effective in that role, albeit challenged to have weekly fantasy relevance. Longer term, I'm intrigued by Dante Pettis but expect 2018 to be a redshirt year barring injuries to the starters.
Bob Henry: I've been bullish on Marquise Goodwin after his strong second half, playing through injuries and clicking with Jimmy Garoppolo down the stretch. I remain a fan and have targeted him throughout the best ball draft season as a value at his ADP. What I overlooked, though, and now gives me some pause is not just his injury history, but the number of concussions he's suffered. That changes the risk profile for me, but it's been fun watching him develop and I agree with Jason that he can easily slide into that No. 1 role with Garcon a super reliable and productive No. 2.
Trent Taylor came on strong in the slot, but he's coming off back surgery and the Niners drafted Dante Pettis and they're having him learn all three spots. He offers bonus appeal for leagues with return yardage scoring. It's not a stretch to think Goodwin and/or Garcon miss time. Pettis would benefit the most and get the first crack. If Taylor is healthy, he just might hold off Pettis in the slot.
For draft purposes, I like both Garcon and Goodwin as upside picks in the middle rounds, but I'm starting to fade Goodwin just a little more. Those concussions are concerning.
Daniel Simpkins: I agree with Bob that multiple concussions scare me away from players. It’s one reason I’ve not been crazy about drafting Davante Adams or Goodwin at current ADP.
I think the answer here is still Garcon. It’s not because I think he’s an exceptional player. It’s because he has earned the trust of the coaching staff and has the role where he gets lots of receptions. He averaged nine targets when healthy, close to what premium guys like Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr Jr. demanded from their offenses. He’s one of those options I know I can count on in the mid-rounds if I go heavy at other positions early and want to make up some ground at receiver later in the draft.
Chad Parsons: Both Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are affordable (in the WR40 range) and clearly on my target list. Of the two, my preference is for Garcon as Goodwin profiles as a speed-centric WR2/3 in the NFL, not a depth chart-leading WR1. Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan are what gives this depth chart such appeal as Garoppolo is one of the hot QB1 projections for 2018 around the fantasy community and for good reason. I am confident there will be a top-20 fantasy receiver from San Francisco this year and both Garcon and Goodwin have an ADP far below the potential. It is worth noting Garcon had 67 targets in the eight games before injury in 2018 - a usage total which would put him in the Top 20 without trouble over a full season.
Andy Hicks: After their first three games together, it looked like Marquise Goodwin and Jimmy Garoppolo were headed to fantasy stardom together with games of 8-99, 6-106 and 10-114. That fell back to earth with a three-catch and a two-catch game to finish the season. The rapport was obviously worth keeping an eye on though and despite his frame, Goodwin is worth a draft pick, especially in best ball leagues where his likely variance isn’t as important. Pierre Garcon never had the opportunity to play with Garoppolo, will be 32 by the time the season starts and given his expensive contract may be in his last year with the 49ers. Depending on how the younger receivers in Trent Taylor and Dante Pettis perform, Garcon will either be a reliable starter or eased out the side door. Taylor is best suited to the slot and doesn’t project as a reliable fantasy option. Pettis is the guy that the 49ers will want to be the future number one, so his development will be crucial. One to watch during training camp.