Fantasy Football: 2017 San Francisco 49ers depth chart

Shanahan brings fantasy intrigue to nondescript 49ers offense

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San Francisco 49ers Carlos Hyde (28) during a game against the Washington Redskins on November 23, 2014 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The 49ers beat the Redskins 17-13.
San Francisco 49ers Carlos Hyde (28) during a game against the Washington Redskins on November 23, 2014 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The 49ers beat the Redskins 17-13. — Rob Holt/SportPics

The 2017 Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football magazine is on newsstands now and available online. In addition to rankings, mock drafts and loads of player reports, it features 32 team fantasy depth charts. Here's a small taste of the 49ers information you'll receive by purchasing your copy today.

QB1: Brian Hoyer — This pertains mostly to DFS and streaming owners, but Hoyer authored QB11, QB7 and QB5 finishes in his first three starts with Chicago last season, against Dallas (Niners’ Week 7 opponent), Detroit and Indy (SF @ Colts Week 5), respectively. Granted, it comes after stops in Houston and with the Bears, but Hoyer enters Year 2 overall in Kyle Shanahan’s system, when Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub fully clicked with the reigning Assistant Coach of the Year.

RB1: Carlos Hyde — Whether he fits in Kyle Shanahan’s outside zone scheme has been widely debated this offseason (he says he does, while we have our doubts). Hyde’s injury issues in his first three seasons are also well documented (he reported for camp at 228 pounds, the leanest since his high school days).  He’s coming off a career year wherein the RB14 in standard leagues (RB18 in PPR) set personal bests across the board, including an impressive 4.6 yards per carry running behind a bad O-line. He opens his contract year with John Lynch raving about his buy-in. But…

RB2: Tim Hightower — Hightower knows Shanahan’s system from their year together in Washington, and has enjoyed quite the late career renaissance the past year-and-a-half. He’s the roster’s most polished receiving back, and we saw the value Shanahan places in backfield versatility last season. Hightower took the first carry in San Francisco's Monday padded practice. But...

RB3: Joe Williams — Be it a third-rounder, like Williams, or less-heralded rookie — perhaps UDFA Matt Breida? — they’ve out-produced the incumbent or higher-pedigreed starter in each of Shanahan’s Year One stops as a coordinator prior to Atlanta — Steve Slaton in Houston, Alfred Morris in Washington and Isaiah Crowell in Cleveland. None of them compelled Shanahan to bang the table publicly for them the same way as Williams, the ex-Ute who exploded all over UCLA and Indiana upon returning from his “retirement” last season. There's also Kapri Bibbs, whom the Niners traded for draft weekend, in this muddled situation.

WR1: Pierre Garcon — Garcon is just one in a long line of receivers whose volume peaked under Shanahan: Andre Johnson had a career-high 115 catches in 2008; Santana Moss, 93 grabs in 2010; Julio Jones, 136 receptions in 2015; and Garcon, whose NFL-best 113 snares in 2013 were 34 more than his next-highest total (79 last season).  If that isn’t convincing enough to put Garcon on your PPR wish list, a reminder he turns 31 next week, yet commanded more guaranteed dollars — $20 million — than any free-agent wideout this offseason. He never misses time, appearing in 16 games of five of the past six seasons, and Garcon has the intermediate chops Hoyer was born to utilize.
 
WR2: Marquise Goodwin — The former Bills third-rounder and Olympian long jumper secured $4.5 million guaranteed, or $750,000 for each of his six career touchdowns, to be Shanahan's Taylor Gabriel. In case you need a reminder, Gabriel was plucked off the Browns scrap heap last offseason to become Shanahan's miniature chess piece with 4.4 wheels and ankle-breaking short-area quickness. He totaled seven touchdowns, averaging more than 16 yards per touch, most of them starting in the space Shanahan brilliantly schemes open. Goodwin's similarities are uncanny to last year's WR48.

WR3: Jeremy Kerley — In PPR formats, slot Kerley ahead of Goodwin. On a miserable Niners offense, one he joined late last August after a trade from Detroit, Kerley managed a career-high 64 catches and three scores along with 667 yards. He wasn't a big-play threat, and, again, that's a role better suited for Goodwin, but Kerley's experience should keep him on Hoyer's short list of dependable targets.

TE1: Vance McDonald — He's the known quantity in the room, with an impressive 16.3-yard catch average in his career 2016, parlayed into a $16.5 million parting gift from Trent Baalke. But McDonald has been nicked-up regularly, never mind the Niners' failed, at least until now, attempts to trade him this offseason. Although rookie TEs are usually fantasy fool's gold, keep an eye on George Kittle. The Combine All-Star and fifth-rounder got off to a great start in his first offseason, when he routinely flashed speed and underrated receiving skills to work down the seam.