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Marquise Goodwin: Can You Trust a Small Sample Size? - Footballguys

A detailed look at Marquise Goodwin's fantasy prospects for 2018.

Nearly five years into his career, Marquise Goodwin was a minor footnote. After struggling to earn a regular role in Buffalo over four seasons, he signed a two-year contract with the 49ers and was viewed as a complementary deep threat in a rebuilt offense under Kyle Shanahan's watch. Through eleven games, Goodwin was exactly what most thought -- an undersized vertical threat with questionable hands. However, Jimmy Garoppolo's arrival not only turned the 49ers around (5-0 in the final five games), but Marquise Goodwin was his security blanket. Goodwin averaged 8.6 targets and 77 yards and was on a 90-catch, 1,200+ yard pace. Fantasy owners must now ask themselves whether Goodwin and Garoppolo clicked and can build off their late-season heroics, or if a five-game sample size is too risky to bet on particularly when juxtaposed against 4+ years of less-than-stellar play.

  • Goodwin (5-foot-9, 183 pounds) doesn't profile as a No. 1 receiver
  • Pierre Garcon was injured during Goodwin's five5-game breakout
  • Kyle Shanahan has a long history of favoring No. 1 receivers with a massive target share
  • Shanahan's history is much less kind to No. 2 receivers
  • Small sample sizes are difficult to trust without supporting context
  • The 49ers rewarded Goodwin with a three-year, $20.3 million extension including $10 million

It's tempting to believe what we saw from Marquise Goodwin last year in the final five games is his new baseline. Fantasy owners are perfectly happy buying into the small sample size for Jimmy Garoppolo; he's being drafted as a top-10 fantasy quarterback. If what we saw in the final five games was statistically predictive for Garoppolo, how could it not portend big things for Goodwin? Ultimately, Goodwin's fate hinges on whether he can fend off Pierre Garcon in the preseason for the No. 1 role. He'll get the chance, but Garcon has a better pedigree, including a 181-target career year playing in Shanahan's offense in Washington back in 2013. Goodwin has WR2 potential with a WR4 ADP, but he could also be a complete bust depending on how other young players evolve. It's a risk worth considering, but only if you're disciplined enough not to reach for him.

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