Roster management has quickly become one of my favorite aspects of dynasty football. The concept of running a team year-round, crafting it and tweaking it to my liking, and scoring big on off-season trades is just as fun as the in-season thrill of weekly matchups.
I am working on being more aggressive this offseason. There is one player I have come to love throughout the last few months that I will be aggressively targeting in dynasty leagues this offseason, despite the fact that his price is on the rise: Deebo Samuel.
I appreciate the articles and research that highlight players that can be acquired for cheap. I’m always a fan of “buying low” and securing value at every position that I can. However, I am also getting better at going after players I like and believe in. It’s okay to pay up for talent, and that’s what I think you should do with Samuel.
Samuel’s Rookie Year In Review
Samuel, a second-round rookie and the third wide receiver drafted in 2019, had an erratic seven weeks to open his NFL career. He topped 20 PPR points in one game and totaled just over 17 PPR points in his other four games. He missed one game due to injury (groin) and the San Francisco 49ers also had an early bye week.
His first five games (Weeks 1-7) are represented by his “In Split” rankings while his last 10 games (Weeks 8-17) are represented by his “Out of Split” rankings.
Truly a tale of two seasons.
Throughout the final 10 games of the regular season, Samuel was one of the best wideouts in all of football. His season-long pace of 253 PPR points would have been good for WR9 on the season.
From Weeks 8-17, he finished as the WR9 in PPR scoring, falling just five points shy of being the WR5 overall during that stretch. His six total touchdowns were tied for third among wide receivers during that time as well.
Check out his weekly stats during his final 10 games.
That’s some consistent production from a rookie wide receiver. It’s also encouraging to see how well he performed against fellow NFC West teams. With fellow wideout Emmanuel Sanders well on the wrong side of 30 years old and an unrestricted free agent after this season, Samuel could be looking at a situation where he is the WR1 in San Francisco next season.
As long as tight end George Kittle is with the team, Samuel will rarely be the focal pass-catcher for the 49ers. Kittle is the only member of the 49ers to receive a higher target share than Samuel, and that likely will not change moving forward.
However, for as dominant as Kittle was, he only averaged two targets more than Samuel on a per-game basis. In fact, during the two-game stretch that Kittle missed, Samuel posted back-to-back games of double-digit targets.
Kittle and Samuel can co-exist on this offense and Samuel will only continue to improve as he enters his second season.
Samuel’s athleticism and versatility have been put on full display by head coach Kyle Shanahan this season. Also, his WR5 rank in yards-after-catch (461 yards) demonstrates phenomenal open-field ability as does his WR2 rank in yards-after-catch per reception.
Samuel’s usage near the line of scrimmage allows him to be dangerous after the catch. Over 84% of his receptions came within 14 yards of the line of scrimmage.
During the season, Samuel displayed a strong rapport with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G’s adjusted yards per attempt (AYA) was highest when targeting Samuel amongst all 49er pass-catchers with at least 40 targets.
Impactful scheming and excellent coaching have played a role in the success of not only Samuel but the entire team this season. That does not diminish what Samuel has brought to the team and what he is capable of moving into next season.
Teammates Jalen Hurd and Dante Pettis will both be looking to contribute at a higher level next season. But even with the wide receiver room regaining some depth, Samuel should be the second-best pass-catching option (behind Kittle) for a long time.
What Should You Pay?
Samuel might be tough to acquire in the coming months. However, I would be aggressive in pursuing him. I view him as a low-end WR2 (WR20-24) with upside for the foreseeable future. His role on an efficient, well-coached offense is secure and he has shown flashes of immense talent, especially after the catch.
Test the waters in your league(s). You might be surprised at how different owners value certain players. I would offer as high as the 1.08 in single quarterback rookie draft and a late first-round pick in a Superflex rookie draft. His current best ball ADP has him outside the top-24 WRs, so you may find you can still acquire him at a small discount.
Target talented players. Don’t be afraid to aggressively pursue the players who will benefit your team. That’s how you win championships.
Make sure to check out a recent piece from Shawn Siegele in which he highlights 15 breakout wide receiver candidates for 2020, one of whom is Deebo Samuel. And see where Shawn selected Samuel when redrafting the 2019 rookie class.