Niners (for now) RB/WR Deebo Samuel took the sports world by storm last season, racking up 1,405 yards receiving and 365 yards on the ground. His elite combination of speed, size, route-running, and ball carrier vision earned him 262 fantasy points (#16 overall) and first team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections.
There’s no other wide receiver in the league who contributes to the ground game the way Deebo does, and while he’s deservedly been dubbed a unicorn for that, his receiving talents are often overlooked as a result. His 18.2 yards per reception topped the league, while his 768 yards after catch ranked #2 behind Cooper Kupp.
Let’s circle back to his production in the ground game. Deebo became the starting RB for the Niners in Week 10 after injuries decimated their backfield. Samuel ran the ball eight times for 79 yards, averaging 9.88 yards per carry while picking up a touchdown. In the remaining regular season and playoff games, he averaged 7.2 carries for 44 rushing yards. He also posted another eight touchdowns on the ground.
This offseason, opposing teams have tried to bolster their roster with a Deebo-like player that can be used as a receiver and halfback, but as of now there is only one. Other teams do have a chance to pick up via trade, but that would mean Samuel would no longer have the coach who made him such a dynamic threat. Can another coach get the most out of Deebo? Time will tell.
Health Analysis – Samuel’s play style comes with an incredible amount of injury risk. Deebo has battled muscular strain after muscular strain, and there was a Jone fracture thrown in there. His upside is equally incredible, and he missed only one game last season, but his increasing age makes things trickier. Deebo also earned most of his own yards in 2021 (see YAC), which will take a toll on any receiver’s body. He isn’t the top receiver this year, but he is a Top 10 choice for sure.