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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Blitz: Analyzing the 49ers Quarterback Situation

Aug 1, 2023 at 6:45 AM--

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It's that time of year again. As NFL teams begin the crucial task of evaluating players and solidifying rosters for the upcoming season, fantasy owners are also getting back to work in hopes of winning a league championship and, more importantly, bragging rights in January.

Over the next few weeks, I will be evaluating and analyzing the fantasy-relevant skill positions for the San Francisco 49ers that should help in your quest to be a fantasy champion.

I will be using positional rankings, average draft position (ADP), and projections based on a standard 12-team NFL Fantasy League. Over time, I will be looking to expand into various formats.

What is ADP?
ADP represents the average draft position for players being drafted in fantasy football. It is a useful tool to use during draft preparation to determine how players are being valued as a whole across your league format.

Understanding where players are being drafted will help you anticipate when you should draft specific targets and avoid the mistakes of "reaching" for players or, even worse, seeing your favorite targets and sleepers being picked up by the pesky owner drafting directly before you. I will be using ADP (and other metrics) to show trends in current draft strategies and capture the value of certain players.

Today, we will be taking a look at the current quarterback situation for the San Francisco 49ers, which is an interesting situation, to say the least.

The 49ers opened training camp with three viable options on their roster. However, two of those options, Brock Purdy and Trey Lance, are young players who are coming back from season-ending injuries in 2022.

The third option, Sam Darnold, is a five year veteran who hasn't had much success or stability at the NFL level at this point in his career. There is even a fourth option in journeyman Brandon Allen, but if at any point during his season you are contemplating picking him up, then the 49ers' season has likely gone off course.

Despite serious concerns at quarterback, the 49ers are still projected to be one of the league's top offenses in 2023. With Kyle Shanahan's offensive schemes and a roster that includes Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle, it is logical to assume the 49ers quarterback will be setup for fantasy success.

Brock Purdy: ADP 146.62 (15th round)
Brock Purdy is currently being drafted as QB21, per Fantasy. Last season, Purdy surprised the league when he took over as starting quarterback for the 49ers in Week 13 after an injury to Jimmy Garoppolo and led the 49ers to six consecutive regular season victories and two playoff wins.

From weeks 13–18, Purdy threw for 1,308 yards, 13 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and averaged 18.1 fantasy points per game.

Purdy proved to be a solid fantasy starter late in 2022, and while he wasn't singlehandedly winning games for fantasy owners, he wasn't losing games for them either.

Purdy is currently being drafted after players such as rookie Anthony Richardson (119.36), Daniel Jones (122.19), Matthew Stafford (143.19), and rookie Bryce Young (146.16).

The main reason for Purdy's high ADP is due to the devestating injury he suffered in the NFC Championship Game to his UCL, which required offseason surgery.

However, there was positive news last week when 49ers GM John Lynch said Purdy was cleared to practice with no limitations, avoiding the dreaded PUP list.

Purdy has been getting snaps as QB1 in 49ers training camp and appears to be way ahead of schedule. At this point, it would be surprising if he wasn't the Week 1 starter.

Trey Lance, ADP 150.69 (16th round)
Trey Lance is currently being drafted as QB30, around such players as: Jimmy Garoppolo (150.22), Mac Jones (150.32), Baker Mayfield (150.71), and Desmond Ridder (150.73). This indicates that there are owners who believe Lance has a shot at winning the starting job.

Lance began the 2022 campaign as the 49ers' undisputed starting quarterback but suffered an unfortunate season-ending injury in Week 2.

In his only full start last season against Chicago, Lance threw for 164 yards, one interception, and 54 rushing yards for 11.0 total fantasy points.

It is difficult to gauge Lance after playing only one full game in 2022, but he appears to be back healthy and offers considerable rushing upside when he is playing. He definitely has the ability to rush for 400–600 yards in a season and provide a high fantasy ceiling.

Lance has also improved his throwing mechanics and looks to throw the ball with more confidence this training camp. It is exciting to think what Lance could accomplish with a player like Christian McCaffrey in the backfield and surrounded by playmaking receivers.

However, the main questions at this point is: will Lance even see the field in 2023?

Sam Darnold, ADP 150.97 (16th round)
Sam Darnold was signed to a contract this past offseason, a move that has received a lot of attention. There are people intrigued by the idea of the former first overall pick working in the very QB-friendly Kyle Shanahan system.

Darnold started six games for the Carolina Panthers last season, throwing for 1,143 yards, 7 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and 106 rushing yards for an average of 14.9 fantasy points per game during that span of Weeks 12–18.

Darnold definitely looks poised to start the season as a backup or third-string option for the 49ers, but it will be interesting to monitor his play during training camps. Can Darnold emerge as the starter at some point during the season? He is the veteran presence in the group and could benefit from playing in an efficient offense and being surrounded by lethal offensive weapons.

Fantasy Outlook
Overall, I can understand anyone being concerned about the 49ers' current situation and wanting to fade them all together.

However, Brock Purdy's current ADP is an absolute steal for a QB that has the potential to end the season as a Top 12 fantasy QB, especially if he can replicate and improve on the production he had last season. With what we have seen in training camp, I do beleive the starting job is his to lose.

If I were drafting today, I would have no hesitation in selecting Purdy as a late-round quarterback. Despite the lack of rushing upside, Purdy should still be effective enough to provide stable fantasy numbers all season long and allow you to draft other skill positions in the early to mid rounds.

With that being said, this is a situation that will continue to need monitoring over the next few weeks, especially once preseason games begin. With the instability the 49ers have had at quarterback the past few seasons due to injuries, it is not out of the realm of possibility for more than one of these guys, if not all three, to start at some point in 2023.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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