Fantasy players who were searching for updates about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance's development during the offseason have almost certainly heard Brandon Aiyuk's name mentioned in the same sentence.
Niners general manager John Lynch is adding to the hype around Aiyuk with his comments on KNBR's Tolbert & Copes show about the third-year wide receiver.
"I don't know if anyone's worked harder this offseason," Lynch said. "You talk about a kid who has made a giant leap and some guys you hope that this is his year. I know it's going to be Brandon's year because of the work he's put in and because, you know, when a guy is just doing it every day, that translates to the field, and it translates to game time."
Lance and Aiyuk spent the offseason working out together. The results have been apparent throughout training camp and the preseason
Rohan Chakravarthi @RohanChakrav
Trey Lance had the throw of the day: A 40-yard bomb to Brandon Aiyuk over Emmanuel Moseley.<br><br>Lance continues to look good. Two strong practices in a row.<br><br>He continues to make plays with his feet, evading pressure, and making throws while on the run.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49wz?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49wz</a>
Rob Lowder @Rob_Lowder
Brandon Aiyuk just dominated every rep of 1-on-1s. Charvarius Ward, Jimmie Ward, didn’t matter. On one rep, he had a chasing Jimmie Ward laughing out loud at how bad Aiyuk had beaten him off the line. It’s a drill that inherently favors the receivers, but that was dirty. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a>
The vibes around Aiyuk heading into this season couldn't be more different than they were in 2021. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters before Week 2 last season that Trent Sherfield passed him on the depth chart by virtue of playing better in the preseason.
Aiyuk only played 64 offensive snaps in San Francisco's first two games last year. He had one catch for six yards during that span. The 24-year-old racked up 13 receptions, 141 yards and one touchdown through Week 8.
Over the final 10 games of the regular season, Aiyuk put up 685 yards and four touchdowns on 43 receptions. That works out to 73 catches, 1,164 yards and seven scores in a full 17-game season.
Per FantasyPros, Aiyuk is currently coming off draft boards as the No. 37 receiver and No. 95 overall player. He has WR1 upside if the 49ers offense shines.
Lance does throw a wrench into any projections with San Francisco's offense because we don't know what he can do. Expectations are certainly high with him taking over for Jimmy Garoppolo after being drafted No. 3 overall in 2021.
There has been a lot of hype around Lance coming out of training camp. The 22-year-old is in a great situation to succeed with playmakers like Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle to ease the pressure on him.
If Lance turns into the player the 49ers believe he can be, Aiyuk could end up being his favorite target this season.