June 12, 2024

Dynasty Dilemma: Brandon Aiyuk

4 min read

It’s that time of year again! Fantasy football season is almost upon us. However, those who play Dynasty know that being a good manager is an all-year type of gig. In the offseason this means finding value before your league mates do and sending out those trade offers. That’s what I’m here to help you with. Today we will be going down to the NFC West and looking at one of my favorite WRs for the 2023 season. Brandon Aiyuk. He’s been receiving a lot of buzz this offseason and rightfully so. 

 

 

REASON TO BUY

Brandon Aiyuk put up his best-ever season stat line in the 2022 season. He had a career high 8 TDs and 1015 yards off 78 receptions (115 targets). Aiyuk had received lots of trade interest from multiple teams earlier this offseason, but the 49ers quickly put a stop to all that by exercising his fifth-year option. This is a contract year for Brandon Aiyuk and he will look to build upon his 2022 breakout season so he can get PAID.

Aiyuk was drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft at Pick 25. He is one of the best route runners in the league with a PFF receiving grade of 80.9 last season. During the 2022 season, he scored 227.8 fantasy points in PPR scoring finishing at WR15. This was better than Tee Higgins, DK Metcalf, and Chris Godwin who are all being drafted at least a round or two before him in Dynasty startups. He led the 49ers in receptions last year while posting up a 1.82 YPRR with only a 2.6% drop rate. He’s also had 10+ Red Zone targets every year he’s been in the league. Can you believe he is being ranked at WR 28? His ADP screams buy if you see the other WR being drafted around him. FantasyPros has Christian Watson, Jordan Addison, Michael Pittman, and Treylon Burks in the same tier as Aiyuk. The eye test and fantasy numbers from last year tell you that he has a greater floor and higher ceiling than all of these players.

 

REASON TO SELL

Time to address the elephant in the room. How is Aiyuk going to perform with all the mouths to feed on that offense? It’s no secret that trading for Christian McCaffrey before Week 7 of last year hurt the fantasy prospects of the other 49ers skill players. We can’t forget about Deebo Samuel or George Kittle either, but I’m here to put your concerns to rest. The addition of CMC hurt Deebo a lot more than Aiyuk in terms of fantasy. The 49ers were using Deebo in a “wideback” role pre-CMC, but all of that changed after the trade. Deebo averaged 7 ppg (PPR) after the CMC trade while missing 4 games due to injury. Aiyuk, on the other hand, still averaged 13.8 ppg (PPR) even after the CMC trade. Deebo also only had 2 TDS (both were rushing) while Aiyuk had 5 receiving TDs after the addition of McCaffrey. Deebo has also come out and described his 2022 season as “awful.” He goes on to say that “[he’ll] never put nothing on tape like that again.” This could hurt Aiyuk’s overall output in terms of opportunity and targets. 

Another reason to sell is the major controversy at the QB position. Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers have been diligent in saying that Purdy is QB1 when back from injury, but his injury timeline is still a little foggy. The 49ers have 3 start-able quarterbacks for the 2023 season in Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold. Each of them has their own pros and cons leaving a lot to be unknown for fantasy football players around the country. Purdy shook the league after winning 8 straight games before injuring himself on the second play of the NFCCG in 2022. Over those 7 regular season games, Aiyuk was Purdy’s favorite target with CMC a close second. On the other hand, Shanahan’s offense ranked 27th in pass attempts per game at 29.5 in 2022. With a healthy Elijah Mitchell and a full training camp and preseason for CMC, we could see lower production for the 49ers WR core. We will have to see how Shanahan decides to shape this offense for the 2023 season. 

 

VERDICT

At his current ADP, Aiyuk is a strong buy. He was on track for 1,000 yards his rookie season before QB injuries derailed the 49ers season. He is coming off a career year last year even after the addition of CMC and is in a contract year. The last 49ers WR to be in a contract year was Deebo and he was ALL-Pro that season. There is a Brandon Aiyuk true breakout waiting to happen and you want to be on the right side of it when everything is said and done.

 

BUY