FBG says: Good matchup. Jimmy Garoppolo bounced back from a shaky opener with a statement performance on the road in Week 2. Garoppolo was sharp all day against the Bengals, completing 17 of 25 passes at a stout 11.9 yards per attempt. Most importantly, he was on-target with his downfield throws, hitting on 3 of his 4 deep balls (15+ yards downfield) for 98 yards. Garoppolo rekindled his 2017 connection with ex-Olympian Marquise Goodwin (3 for 77 and 1 touchdown) and put down roots for a new one with rookie Deebo Samuel (5 for 87 and 1). With George Kittle and a pair of pass-catching backs also in play, Garoppolo's supporting cast is suddenly loaded with after-the-catch dynamism. And that's to say nothing of Dante Pettis' potential; he worked his way back onto the field for 35 snaps Sunday, though he failed to draw a target. Coach Kyle Shanahan makes heavy use of screens and quick slants, which should help get the ball to these weapons efficiently. It also helps to mitigate the 49ers' mediocre front line, which allowed just two quarterback hits Sunday. There are still plenty of question marks surrounding Garoppolo, who's been anything but consistent as a starter. But unlike last year, the team finally boasts a wide array of explosive, versatile receivers to play around with. Garoppolo may not need to be Tom Brady 2.0 to take advantage.
The Pittsburgh pass defense is a solid unit, though certainly not prohibitive for fantasy matchups. They've been especially vulnerable in the slot, where Mike Hilton and the safeties have been nickel-and-dimed by Julian Edelman (6 catches for 83 yards) and Tyler Lockett (10 for 79). It was to that end that the team sent next year's first-round pick to the Dolphins for second-year safety Minkah Fitzpatrick this week. The merits of that deal are up for debate, but what's clear is the upgrade he offers in coverage over Sean Davis and Cameron Sutton. Fitzpatrick will play free safety in Pittsburgh, with a heavy focus on the slot, and should get up to speed quickly. He'll be needed right off the bat to help keep an eye on explosive 49ers tight end George Kittle. On the outside, another new Steeler, ex-Chief Steven Nelson, looked much better in Week 2. He pairs with Joe Haden to form a strong coverage duo on the boundaries. When the pass rush is healthy and active - Stephon Tuitt was a one-man wrecking crew Sunday - this unit is fully capable of slowing opposing pass games. But it may take a game or two for Fitzpatrick's upgrade to be truly felt.