2020 NFL Draft: Brandon Aiyuk lands in interesting spot with 49ers, but could be quiet at first for Fantasy


Brandon Aiyuk is an extremely interesting wide receiver who landed in an extremely interesting situation in San Francisco with the No. 25 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Aiyuk’s college career began at Sierra College, and he was a Junior College All American in his sophomore season when he caught 14 touchdown passes and returned three more for scores. Aiyuk didn’t do much in his first year after transferring to Arizona State, but in 2019 he caught 65 passes for 1,192 yards and eight scores, averaging 18.3 yards per reception. 

Aiyuk’s combine was a bit of a mixed bag, but a 4.50 40 time is plenty fast for a receiver who measures six-foot tall and weighs more than 200 pounds. As Aiyuk’s yard per catch illustrate, the ability is there. I’m just not sure he’ll unlock it in his rookie year with the 49ers.

This was one of the most run-heavy offenses in football in 2019, and when Jimmy Garoppolo did throw it, his first look was often to George Kittle, not a wide receiver. Aiyuk should be able to win the No. 2 job opposite Deebo Samuel eventually, but I wouldn’t bet on him wrestling the top job away from Samuel, which probably means he’s third at best in the pecking order. Unless the defense completely falls apart, there won’t be enough targets to support two wide receivers in addition to Kittle. 

Short-term, Aiyuk should be drafted in the double digit rounds as a lottery ticket pick to stash on your bench. He’s best served for Best Ball leagues where you don’t have to decide when you start him. I say that because in his rookie year, Aiyuk figures to be a big play guy who will be boom-or-bust on a week-to-week basis. That can be very frustrating when you’re trying to set your lineup.

In Dynasty leagues, Aiyuk will be a second-round pick in rookie drafts and an eighth- or ninth-round pick in full drafts. He has big-time long-term upside because of his relative inexperience and room for growth, but at his current stage of development, he may not be ready to contribute consistently to an NFL. He could make a bigger impact in leagues that reward points for return yards.

As for the rest of the 49ers, this is a small boost for Jimmy Garoppolo, as Aiyuk’s presence certainly adds upside to his weaponry. It also feels like a win for Samuel. The 49ers had a shot at a more polished No. 1 receiver earlier in the draft and took a defensive tackle instead. That should solidify Samuel as the team’s top receiver.





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