Trey Lance, come on down.
The San Francisco 49ers ruled out Jimmy Garoppolo for Sunday's crucial NFC West showdown with the undefeated Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium, meaning Lance will make his first NFL start.
San Francisco 49ers @49ers
Kyle Shanahan on preparing <a href="https://twitter.com/treylance09?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@treylance09</a> for his first start.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SFvsAZ?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SFvsAZ</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTTB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTTB</a> <a href="https://t.co/VmUHNUqlNv">pic.twitter.com/VmUHNUqlNv</a>
For fantasy football managers, that immediately calls into question how the upside of players like Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk will be affected.
First things first—with George Kittle doubtful for the game Sunday, there should be extra targets for the wideouts.
It's also a pretty good matchup, given that the Cardinals are giving up 35.6 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per week, per Yahoo Sports, the eighth-worst mark in the NFL. Seven wideouts have posted double-digit points against this defense.
Samuel is going to remain locked in as a WR2 with explosive upside. He caught two touchdown passes from Lance in the second half of the team's Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and nabbed four passes for 112 yards and those two scores in total from the rookie.
Deebo Samuel is IN! <a href="https://twitter.com/49ers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@49ers</a> cut the lead to 7 with 1:20 left.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SEAvsSF?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SEAvsSF</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/bLkN83rglr">pic.twitter.com/bLkN83rglr</a>
Not too shabby. Sure, it was against Seattle's awful pass defense, but the Niners have prioritized getting Samuel involved in the passing game this year. He's the team's most dangerous offensive weapon. That won't change under Lance.
Aiyuk, on the other hand, has not shown himself to be as vital to San Francisco's offense as fantasy players would want, making him more of a WR4 at the moment. It's hard to imagine a rookie in Lance, facing a tough pass rush, is going to bolster a receiver's fantasy outlook. More likely, he'll keep the status quo or even make it worse.
Also, the Niners are going to try to establish the running game against the Cardinals. That makes it less likely that multiple wideouts are going to have big performances.
And if you have to bet on one wideout having a solid game, you should bet on Samuel, not Aiyuk or Mohamed Sanu.
So, again, Samuel remains a WR2 with the upside to win you the week, given how explosive he is. San Francisco will scheme ways to keep him involved. But no other Niners wideouts need to be in starting lineups this week.