Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

49ers Notebook: Garoppolo addresses the knee brace, Aiyuk’s fantasy value soars, big-baby Kinlaw, Schein ranks defense No. 3

Aug 18, 2020 at 6:30 PM--

Here are other San Francisco 49ers-related storylines that might interest you.

Garoppolo addresses his knee brace

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's knee brace has prompted a lot of discussion among local reporters. He wore it on his left leg all last season after returning from an ACL injury suffered the year before. It was noticeably absent during training camp walk-throughs.

Then, when practices started on Saturday, Garoppolo was once again wearing the protective device.

"The knee feels great, for everyone concerned out there," Garoppolo assured reporters on Tuesday. "The brace is just a precaution, getting back into camp and everything like that. But the knee feels great."

PFF high on Aiyuk's fantasy football value

Pro Football Focus is high on 49ers rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk following Jalen Hurd's latest season-ending injury. The analytics site goes as far as to name him a "screaming fantasy football buy."

All-Pro tight end George Kittle clearly remains the team's No. 1 target. Second-year wideout Deebo Samuel's status for Week 1 is mirky, and one of last year's top targets, Emmanuel Sanders, is now in New Orleans.

Aiyuk has looked good during training camp practices, and Ian Hartitz of Pro Football Focus sees him as the most likely candidate to assume the No. 1 receiver role.

"He was very impressive on the zoom meetings," head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Aiyuk over the weekend. "Just his attention to detail. But, since we've gotten here just going through these walk-throughs and stuff, you can tell he knows how to practice like a pro. You can tell he comes prepared every day.

"He's not a guy you've had to teach how to act or teach how important it is to learn this stuff. You can tell he understood that before he got here and since we've been around him, you can tell he's been working and that's why he's further ahead, I think, than a lot of rookies would be at this time."

Aiyuk excited to be teammates with Austin

Aiyuk revealed that he's excited to be teammates with veteran Tavon Austin, a longtime Rams wide receiver.

"You see a guy like Kwon Alexander on Instagram or on TV, and now, I'm walking past Kwon as he's headed to his locker," Aiyuk wrote in a feature for "I'm walking past guys like Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle and Nick Bosa. I think that's when reality set in. These are my teammates!!!

"What was really cool was when the team signed Tavon Austin. I used to watch his college highlight tapes before my practices and games, and now he's in the same room as me. It's been really cool to be able to talk to him and pick his brain. It's finally starting to settle in that I'm in the NFL and I play for the San Francisco 49ers."

Big-baby Kinlaw

Rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw revealed to reporters on Tuesday that he weighed 10 pounds, 8 ounces at birth.

Kittle took the opportunity to reveal that he had Kinlaw beat by two ounces.

Obviously, Kinlaw has Kittle beat in that category now.

Kittle primed for another fantastic fantasy football season

Kittle's streak of dominating play could continue, according to Pro Football Focus. The analytics site factored in the competition the tight end will face this season and likes the matchups. Kittle will go against the third-easiest schedule for the tight end position.

Wrote Kent Weyrauch of Pro Football Focus: "In 2019, Kittle was first among tight ends in yards per route run (3.12), third in YAC per reception (7.3) and was our highest-rated pass-catching tight end at a massive 94.9 receiving grade. Don't overthink it: Kittle is an easy second-round draft pick this year."

Adam Schein ranks 49ers defense No. 3 in the NFL columnist Adam Schein offered up his predicted top nine defenses in the league, or his "Schein Nine." Two NFL units — the Los Angeles Chargers and Buffalo Bills — ranked above San Francisco's, which came in at No. 3.

Schein notes that even after trading DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, the 49ers still boast the best defensive line in football. That is due to talents like Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, and Buckner's replacement, Kinlaw.

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