Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
Myrmidons! My brothers of the sword! I would rather fight beside you than any army of thousands! Let no man forget how menacing we are! We are lions! Do you know what's there, waiting beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It's yours!
– Achilles from the movie “Troy”
The 49ers do have a number-one receiver on their team. But even though he has lined up out wide before, he is not a wide out. George Kittle, a tight end, is the 49ers’ number-one receiver, and why not? When they need a first down, they have gone to him several times already this season.
And we have seen Kittle dragging defensive players as they are kicking and screaming across the first down marker. But what if the 49ers had a number one wide receiver they could go to as well?
What if someone other than Kittle stepped up and said, “I will be that guy”? Is that someone already on the team?
It’s hard for any rookie to make an impact his first year. There was hope that Deebo Samuel would step up and be that guy. And even though he has flashed at times there has been an inconsistency with him on the field. He has had a few drops that do not help his cause and now he is dealing with a groin injury.
Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd, if they are brought back after being on IR, won’t be back until late November or early December. And Jordan Matthews has yet to be active since rejoining the team.
Marquise Goodwin is a good receiver and can certainly stretch the field, but he is not your typical possession player that you would find in a team’s number one receiver. Out of 71 games, Goodwin has had double-digit targets only three times. Now, two of those games were with Jimmy Garoppolo. But again, that is not really his strength; over his career he is averaging fewer than four targets a game.
The one player that I was very bullish on coming into 2019 was Dante Pettis. I thought he was the clear number-one for San Francisco. I thought he was going to be a top 15 wide receiver in fantasy. And yet, six weeks into the season, he is neither of those. However, since the bye week his snap count has been going up. In the first three weeks he was never in on more than 49 percent of the snaps. In the last two games, he was in on 63 and 72 percent of the offensive snaps, respectively.
Pettis received the most targets of his season in the game against the Rams, six, catching three of them and he almost came down with what would have been a beautiful touchdown but only had one foot in at the back of the end zone.
If a receiver is going to break out for the 49ers during the rest of the season it’s going to be Dante Pettis. We have seen the talent on the field but he has to want to take it.
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