2022 Fantasy Upside
It appears more progress has been made between the 49ers and Deebo Samuel on a new deal for the key offensive weapon. 49ers GM John Lynch said at his press conference as training camp opened that Samuel had reported. It doesn’t sound like an extension is imminent, but Lynch sounded optimistic that something will get done. And that's a key here. Remember, Samuel officially requested a trade in April after coming off the best year of his career. He is due a $3.986 million base salary this season, the final year of his rookie contract. Easily lost in all the drama, Samuel was named first-team All-Pro after totaling 1,405 receiving yards, 365 rushing yards, and 14 total touchdowns from scrimmage. As 4for4's John Paulsen noted, Samuel started to see a bigger rushing role in Week 10. From Week 1 to Week 9, he averaged 6.1 catches for 110 yards and 0.50 touchdowns (for 17.6 half-PPR PPG) on 10.0 targets per game. Starting in Week 10, he averaged 3.5 catches for 65 yards and 0.25 touchdowns on 5.0 targets per game. However, he averaged 19.9 half-PPR PPG behind 43 yards rushing and 0.88 rushing touchdowns per game. He averaged 6.6 rushes per game in that span compared to just 0.8 rushes per game from Week 1 to Week 9. He finished as the overall WR3.
2022 Fantasy Downside
The versatility that made him one of the most dangerous offensive players in the NFL apparently is also a major issue for Samuel.
2022 Bottom Line
The fact that his receiving numbers diminished as he become more of a threat on the ground isn't surprising. It's also promising. Although he takes a bit of a hit, the receiving totals over the first nine games were plenty solid. That said, the uncertainty about that rushing equity is the only thing keeping Samuel out of our top five at the position.