Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports


Cynthia Frelund lists 49ers among contenders despite 2-2 start

Oct 6, 2021 at 12:05 PM--


San Francisco 49ers fans appear to be in a bit of a mini panic regarding the fate of their favorite NFL team. The Niners entered the season viewed as a playoff contender and a strong candidate to emerge as the NFC West champions. However, stumbling out of the 2021 season gate with a 2-2 record has generated some concern. Were the offseason expectations for San Francisco too high?

It's a topic discussed at length in the latest episode of the 49ers Webzone No Huddle Podcast.

It's also a topic touched on by NFL Media analytics expert Cynthia Frelund, who, in her latest column for NFL.com, projects the playoff fates of all seven 2-2 teams. She divides them into two groups — contenders and pretenders.

Despite their .500 starts, the Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, and Washington Football Team are lumped into the "contenders" group, as are the 49ers.

Frelund doesn't see things as dire as some of the most critical fans speculate them to be.

"Ahead of the season, the NFC West was projected to the most competitive division in football -- and four weeks in, that continues to be true (yes, I checked this group against the AFC West)," wrote Frelund. "Still, the Niners make the playoffs in 52.4 percent of simulations, even with uncertainty at the quarterback position."

That doesn't mean things don't need to change. While wide receiver Deebo Samuel leads the league in receiving yards, one of the 49ers' other YAC stars hasn't yet been utilized to his full potential.

"Star tight end George Kittle has not been targeted on his routes as often as he has been in previous seasons, logging a target on 26.5 percent of routes in 2021 after reaching marks of 30.1 percent in 2020 and 33.5 percent in 2019," Frelund explains. "But based on the [Next Gen Stats] numbers, there is reason to believe Kittle will be targeted more frequently in the future: He's been open (meaning, he's gotten 3-plus yards of separation) on more than half of his targets (51.7%)."

Involving Kittle more could be the key to increased production on offense. The team also hopes to get others, like second-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, more involved as the season progresses. On paper, San Francisco still has several offensive weapons for Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance—whoever ends up being the quarterback—to target.

While the naysayers would have you believe that things are quickly falling apart, analytics tell Frelund that the playoffs are nowhere near out of reach for head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad.

Oh, and it might please The Faithful that the Seattle Seahawks, who beat the Niners this past weekend, fall under Frelund's "pretenders" group.





More San Francisco 49ers News



Why Cynthia Frelund predicts 49ers to make playoffs

By Romelo Bracy
Nov 26

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off back to back victories and are now in a position to fight for a playoff spot. After the New Orleans Saints fell to the Buffalo Bills last night, the 49ers slid themselves into the No. 7 seed. Ahead of a pivotal matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, playoffs has been creeping back into the minds of 49ers fans. NFL Media analytics expert Cynthia Frelund listed the 49ers as one of two bubble teams to make the playoffs in her latest column for NFL.com The other team that Frelund favors to make the playoffs is the Indianapolis Colts, who like the 49ers appear the be getting hot at the right



49ers RB Elijah Mitchell among Bucky Brooks' top 5 rookies through Week 10

By David Bonilla
Nov 18

In a special for FOX Sports, analyst Bucky Brooks ranked his top five NFL rookies through Week 10, and San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell received some love. The Louisiana product landed at No. 5 on Brooks' power ranking. "Elijah Mitchell was a sixth-round pick, and who thought he would be able to make an immediate impact?" Brooks said. "Well, the San Francisco 49ers did because this is what they do at the running back position. They typically take late-round picks, and they transform them and make them stars. "Elijah Mitchell might be the next one to get it done in Kyle Shanahan's offense. He already has over 500 yards, he has three touchdowns, and if you've got a chance to check them out against the Rams, Elijah Mitchell was making it



49ers-Jaguars: Elijah Mitchell among 4 inactives for Niners

By David Bonilla
Nov 21

The San Francisco 49ers have released the list of inactive players for their Week 11 matchup on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars. These players will not suit up for Sunday's game. 49ers Inactives: RB JaMycal Hasty DL Maurice Hurst OL Colton McKivitz RB Elijah Mitchell Mitchell, San Francisco's leading rusher, sustained a finger fracture in the team's Week 10 win over the Los Angeles Rams and did not practice this past week. The Jaguars' leading rusher, James Robinson, is active. On Friday, he was listed as "questionable" due to heel and knee injuries. On Saturday, the 49ers



49ers' Nick Bosa, Kyle Juszczyk among top vote-getters for Pro Bowl

By David Bonilla
Nov 24

Voting for the upcoming Pro Bowl has been underway for a while now. The NFL released some stats on the leading vote-getters so far. Two San Francisco 49ers currently lead their respective positions. Kyle Juszczyk leads all fullbacks with 70,362 fan votes. Nick Bosa leads NFC defensive ends with 68,143 votes. Juszczyk, a nine-year veteran, has been named to the last five Pro Bowls, with the first coming in 2016. He is widely considered to be the best fullback in the NFL. Although, his 62.5 overall Pro Football Focus grade this season is his lowest mark since his rookie campaign. Bosa is proving to be even more dominant than he was in his 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign. He has already surpassed his rookie sack total of nine with a


Featured

Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone