Brandon Aiyuk Fantasy Football Outlook Includes WR1 Potential in 2021

Brandon Aiyuk fantasy football outlook includes WR1 potential in 2021.
Brandon Aiyuk fantasy football outlook includes WR1 potential in 2021. / Norm Hall/Getty Images

Brandon Aiyuk excelled as a rookie for the San Francisco 49ers last season. Despite playing with a revolving door at quarterback, the Arizona State product flashed rare playmaking ability that had fantasy managers salivating about his future.

Now entering year two, Aiyuk looks like a legitimate fantasy breakout candidate in 2021.

Brandon Aiyuk Fantasy Outlook

Aiyuk finished the year as fantasy's WR35 in PPR leagues. But that doesn't paint the whole picture, as the rookie only appeared in 12 games. On a per-game basis, he was actually the WR18. The second-year wideout currently carries an average draft position (ADP) of WR25, per FantasyPros, so if he just maintains that production you're already looking at a steal.

And there are plenty of reasons to believe that he could improve upon what we saw last year. Second-year leaps are common for wide receivers. Plus, the combination of Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance should be much better than the QB play Aiyuk dealt with last year, as he was working with a hobbled Jimmy G, Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard.

He also really came on down the stretch, averaging 94.7 receiving yards on 7.5 receptions per game with 4 TDs in a six-game span from Week 7-14. On a per-game basis, he was the WR3 in PPR leagues in that time. Production like that is hard to ignore.

But there's some real downside here, too. George Kittle and Deebo Samuel missed a combined 17 games last year. Unsurprisingly, both Kittle and Samuel were sidelined for huge chunks of Aiyuk's impressive late-season run.

If both play a full season, Aiyuk could be looking at a significant dip from the 8.0 targets per game he averaged last year. On what looks to be a run-heavy offense (potentially led by a mobile rookie QB), being the second- or third-option in the passing game doesn't look like a path to sustainable volume.

Brandon Aiyuk ADP

While his week-to-week production could be pretty volatile, it's hard to ignore Aiyuk's upside. He has legit WR1 potential and is being drafted as a WR3. That's exactly the type of gamble fantasy managers want to be taking.

We have Aiyuk as the WR22 in our 2021 fantasy football rankings.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.