The 49ers traded some serious draft capital to get their guy at the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. This looks to be a win now move for the San Francisco.
The 49ers traded the 12th overall pick in the 2021 Draft, their 2022 first-round pick, their 2023 first-round pick as well as a 2022 third-round pick to move up to the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Obviously this means that the 49ers are set to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo. The question is, what does this do for the offense overall, do they have the supporting talent to compete, and have they added enough to the team to remain Super Bowl contenders? Let’s take a look at the off-season and the fantasy outlook.
How The Draft Helped Shape The 49ers Offense
First Round, Third Overall – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Trey Lance ended up being the guy the 49ers traded the world for, and he could be the key to opening up the 49ers offense. Though Lance played for a smaller school’s football team, he was incredibly efficient. During his lone full season as a starter, he posted some unreal numbers. He finished 2020 with 2,800 passing yards, 28 touchdowns with 0 interceptions, 1,100 rushing yards, and 14 rushing touchdowns.
The offense run at North Dakota State is a pro style offense, and Lance showed terrific football IQ being able to go through his progressions. Sure, he is a running quarterback, but make no mistake — he does not tuck it away and run after his first read is no good.
Lance has a great physical build at 6’4″ and 224 pounds with a frame that is built to withstand the physical punishment of the NFL. Coach Shanahan spoke before the draft about how he has been mislabeled as a coach who prefers a pocket passing quarterback. The reason is because that is all he has been handed, and the fact he has been able to cater his offense to them speaks tons.
Shanahan said himself that his offense and his running game excels while being able to run RPOs (run/pass option). Lance does that very well and this offensive playbook may open up to it’s fullest potential yet.
Second Round Pick, 48th Overall – Aaron Banks, Guard, Notre Dame
Aaron Banks was a beautiful addition to the 49ers’ offensive line. Banks finished his career at Notre Dame as a proficient pass protector, allowing only two sacks and 19 pressures over his three year collegiate career. In his run blocking, he is more of a power gap scheme fit, though he does have the athleticism to move outside. His power at the point of attack makes him a people mover, one that should set some nice gaps in the run game.
Thirrd Round Pick, 88th Overall – Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio St.
The 49ers traded up in the third round to draft Trey Sermon. The significance of this move is that Kyle Shanahan is known for being able to take mid-round selections and make them stars in his offense. The fact that they traded up for Sermon leads me to believe that they think he is a great fit with the offense.
Sermon has some issues with his vision in the run game, though this scheme will not often force him to pick between gaps. Huge holes open up in this scheme, and Sermon has the speed and athleticism to exploit it.
Fifth Round Pick, 155th Overall – Jaylon Moore, Offensive Line, Western Michigan
Jaylon Moore is another seamless fit the 49ers picked up in the 2021 Draft. Moore does his best work where he can get out in space and block at the second level. Moore has experience playing tackle, allowing him to fill a depth role all across the offensive line, which is huge with the amount of injuries that can happen. This is just another big body the 49ers selected to help protect their high dollar investment.
Sixth Round Pick, 194th Overall – Elijah Mitchell, RB, Lousiana Lafeyette
Elijah Mitchell has the perfect athletic profile to fit the 49ers’ run scheme. He is gifted receiving the ball out of the back field and has very good vision with excellent speed to match. Unfortunately, he lands in a crowded running back room, one that already includes a running back they traded up for in the same draft. Mitchell may hold on to a roster spot, but likely will not see much field time.
49ers’ Free Agency Moves To Solidify Offense
The 49ers made some very good signings in free agency, mainly resigning some key parts of the team, and also made some good additions. The offense needs to function in a certain way for Coach Shanahan’s offense, and he needs the correct personnel to do it. Some of his play designs are intricate and can be confusing, so having players who have worked within his system are key. Lets take a look at some of the key free agent moves the 49ers made.
Trent Williams, OT. Six years, $138 million
Trent Williams is a massive man, though he is incredibly athletic. He has a strong upper body with great hands and has thrived in Coach Shanahan’s running scheme. Williams is 31 and, signing him to a six year contract may seem crazy, but offensive lineman of his caliber are incredibly hard to come by. With the 49ers bringing in their signal caller for the foreseeable future, a top tier left tackle is a necessity.
Kyle Juszczyk, Fullback. Five years, $27 million
Kyle Juszczyk is the unsung hero of the 49ers’ offense. He is so versatile — from his blocking in the run game, pass protection, excellent hands, and ability to run routes in the passing game. Juszcyzk is one of the few fullbacks still used in todays NFL, but if you watch any 49ers games, you can easily see his impact. Signing Juszcyzk was a no brainer for the 49ers and he should aid in keeping Lance safe and comfortable.
Alex Mack , Center. Three years, $14.85 million
Alex Mack is a former pro-bowler signing that the 49ers made this off-season. Mack’s pro-bowl days came playing under center for Coach Shanahan during his time in Atlanta and in Cleveland. The significance of this signing? Mack is familiar with Shanahan’s system. Shanahan preaches the importance of having a good center in his offense and Mack is just that. Mack is 35, but the championship window for the 49ers is still open, making this a very significant signing.
What Did The 49ers Add In the Draft For IDP?
On the IDP side of the football, the draft was a bit lackadaisical for the 49ers. The biggest area of need was obviously the secondary, and they added two cornerbacks in Ambry Thomas out of Michigan in the third round and Deommodore Lenoir out of Oregon in the fifth round. Both picks are solid players. One may actually win a starting role, but it all depends on what Richard Sherman decides to do.
So, for IDP purposes, these moves did not move the needle. The one IDP draft pick that I like a lot is Talanoa Hufanga, a safety out of USC who they drafted in the sixth round. He was the AP Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as an AP All-American first teamer.
Hufanga posted some unreal numbers his final collegiate season, putting up 62 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, 1 pass defended, 4 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. He is the type of playmaker that the 49ers have lacked on the back end of their defense. Hufanga has an uphill battle for snaps, as the 49ers have a decent amount of depth at the position, leaving this pick a tough one to fully fall in love with.
The Fantasy Impact of the 49ers Off-Season Additions
What the 49ers did this off-season has huge implications on fantasy relevancy for 2021. First off, the addition of Trey Lance and all of the draft capital that they spent on him, has made Jimmy Garoppolo completely irrelevant. He may be the starter at the beginning of 2021 though, if he struggles or gets injured, Lance will replace him and the 49ers won’t look back. Even if Garoppolo finished the year as the starter, though he likely will not, he will be replaced in 2022 by Trey Lance.
Verdict: Sell him for whatever you can get for him.
If Trevor Lawrence was not in this draft, Lance would be my rookie draft 1.01. Even still, Lance is my rookie draft 1.02 in both single QB and superflex leagues. His ability, matched with the prolific offense and tools that Shanahan provided, plus the additions across the offensive line, make this a match made in heaven.
Verdict: 1.02 rookie – buy anywhere you can, even if you need to overpay.
Trey Sermon has the luxury of the 49ers actually spending draft capital on a running back, and trading up for him at that. That is unheard of for a running back in this regime. Sermon has some vision issues, though he has excellent speed and athleticism. The size of the holes this offensive line has been able to provide should bode well for Sermon.
The 49ers built up their offensive line, which should make this run offense even more potent. Mostert and Jeffery Wilson hold little to no draft capital, which means Sermon may be the back best suited for snaps, though he still needs to win the job.
Verdict: Sermon is worth an early second round rookie pick based off wonderful scheme fit, but with the possibility of taking a year or two to start.
Mostert has been the 49ers most prolific back over the past two seasons, though he has been often injured. When he is on the field he shows great breakaway speed with adequate hands in the passing game. Unfortunately for him, his contract does not force the team to force feed him. He could easily be a relegated to special teams ace again.
Verdict: Trade Mostert if you can, in start up drafts he is worthy of your RB4/5 as a flyer that he does not lose his job. He may be a one year rental.
Jeffery Wilson was probably the most affected by the drafting of Trey Sermon. At one time, Wilson looked like a possible sleeper for 2021, and some people were trying to scoop him up for pennies on the dollar. My advice was to sell high because, as we learned with James Robinson, draft capital does matter. Wilson likely takes a seat behind Mostert and Sermon on the bench.
Verdict: Hopefully you sold high — Wilson does not hold much value if any after the addition of Sermon.
The Receiving Group
The entire receiving group, including tight ends, may have gotten a bump in fantasy value, as Trey Lance has a cannon and is far more accurate than Jimmy Garoppolo. Lance also brings in another level to the 49ers running which will open up play action for the team. Receivers always have an easier time winning during play action and this team could be stellar.
Verdict: Buy Deebo Samuel — his value is at an all-time low right now and he is still the team’s WR1. Hold Brandon Aiyuk — he is coming off of a stellar rookie season and he is to costly to buy, yet will not garner enough, which makes selling him worth it. Hold/Sell George Kittle — his value is always high, yet he seems to have issues staying healthy, likely due to his play style. In tight end premium leagues, you could land a ton of assets for Kittle.
Dee Ford is primed for another chance to perform for the 49ers. They did not add anyone in the draft, and signed only Samson Ebukam away for the Rams. Ebukam likely is the low man and will not see too much time on the field. Ford, if healthy, still has the chance to see the field for upwards of a 55% snap share.
Verdict: Buy Dee Ford — his value is incredibly low. You could see a potential DL2/3 easy if he returns to health, though that remains in question, so there is a risk/reward that goes with it.
The 49ers’ offense may take on a new identity with the off-season acquisitions they have made. They traded up and got their signal caller for the future, one who caters to the type of offense we will finally be able to see Kyle Shanahan run. The entire offense gets a bump and, in my opinion, this could make the 49ers a serious contender. On the IDP side of the football, not much changed. The hope is that the team comes back healthy and ready to play and make a Super Bowl push.