How 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk Projects In A Stacked Dynasty Rookie Class
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Aiyuk
Brandon Aiyuk Dynasty Rookie Analysis
- Position: WR | School: Arizona State
- Height: 6′ | Weight: 205 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds
- 2020 Age: 22 | Class: Senior
- Recruitment Stars: 3
- Draft Position: 1.25 (49ers)
Brandon Aiyuk’s Fantasy Fit with 49ers
I love Aiyuk with the 49ers.
He might not be a strong producer right away, but the 49ers needed a wide receiver after Emmanuel Sanders left in free agency, and like Sanders — and Deebo Samuel, for that matter — Aiyuk is a versatile player who can line up all across the formation and even take handoffs out of the backfield and on jet sweeps.
Aiyuk will probably play behind Samuel in 2020, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he eventually overtook him, and he should still see significant volume right away as a Week 1 starter.
Brandon Aiyuk: Dynasty Analysis
Don’t sleep on Aiyuk. He should be a locked-in no-doubt first-rounder in 2020 rookie dynasty drafts.
He gets knocked as being something of a one-year wonder because he didn’t have a breakout campaign at the FBS level until his 2019 senior season, but that perspective overlooks what he accomplished at Sierra College, where he dominated the junior college ranks.
After a respectable freshman season (29-573-5 receiving), Aiyuk tore up the CCCAA in 10 games as a sophomore in 2017.
- Receiving: 60 receptions, 960 yards, 14 touchdowns
- Rushing: 13 carries, 59 yards, one touchdown
- Kick Returning: 11 returns, 418 yards, two touchdowns
- Punt Returning: 14 returns, 313 yards, one touchdown
That’s 1,019 scrimmage yards and 18 all-purpose touchdowns at 19 years old. That’s pretty good.
In fact, it was good enough to get Aiyuk scholarship offers to 10 different FBS schools — including Alabama — but he chose Arizona State because he was promised the opportunity to compete for a starting receiver spot right away. And he did earn a starting spot with the Wildcats in 2018, playing in three-wide sets behind 2019 first-round wide receiver N’Keal Harry and racking up a modest 33-474-3 stat line on 47 targets.
And then in 2019, with Harry gone, Aiyuk stepped up as the No. 1 wide receiver on the team, flashing once again with 1,198 yards and eight touchdowns from scrimmage plus a return score in 12 games.
Clearly Aiyuk is more than a one-year wonder.
He isn’t a physical receiver or polished route runner. He’s hardly a contested-catch artist. But Aiyuk is a playmaker and versatile enough to line up all across the formation. He can make plays downfield, as evidenced by his 90.4 deep receiving grade (per Pro Football Focus), and he’s one of the best after-the-catch receivers in the class, which isn’t a surprise, given how good he is in the return game.
If you look at the wide receiver leaderboard in the 2020 Sports Info Solutions Football Rookie Handbook, you’ll see that Aiyuk is a top-five receiver — up there with guys like Jerry Jeudy (Alabama) and CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma) — in a number of key statistics.
- Yards per target: 11.5 (4th-t)
- Yards after catch: 10.9 (2nd)
- Yards per route: 3.2 (2nd-t)
Although he’ll probably be more of an upside No. 2 wide receiver or an ensemble contributor than a true No. 1 option — think of Michael Gallup — Aiyuk has plenty of NFL potential thanks to his all-purpose versatility. He looks like a guy with a reasonable chance of having a couple 1,000-yard seasons.
He reportedly had a minor core muscle surgery in early April and is expected to be fully ready for the 2020 season.
NFL Prospect Comp: Robert Woods but older and more athletic
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Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, part of The Action Network.