Fantasy Reaction: Deebo Samuel Requests Trade (Fantasy Football)
News broke on Wednesday afternoon when ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported that Deebo Samuel has requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers. Samuel was recently in the news as one of the big name WRs from the 2019 class that did not show up to the start of his team’s voluntary off-season workouts. Samuel, who’s 26 years old, is in the final year of his rookie deal. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also took to social media stating “Money is not at the root of the issues for Deebo Samuel, otherwise that could be fixed with a big offer. But there are also issues with how he’s used.”
Based on Rapoport’s comments, Samuel’s trade request seems to be related to his usage and role in the San Francisco 49ers‘ offense. In what has been one of the wildest off-seasons in recent memory, Samuel will look to eventually be the next star WR to cash in with a team who is willing to use him in more of a traditional WR role. Last year, Samuel proved to be a league winner, finishing as the overall fantasy WR2 on the year, but it was how he scored his fantasy points that made him so unique. From Weeks 1-8, Deebo led the NFL in scrimmage yards per game, averaging 10.1 targets and 6.3 receptions per game in that sample. However, from Weeks 9-18, he averaged just 5.4 targets and 3.7 receptions per game but did total 53 rushing attempts, proving that he was used in a completely different role as a hybrid WR/RB.
Based on how Samuel was used and thrived with the Niners a year ago, it’s difficult to envision many teams that would be beneficial for Samuel’s fantasy value. Last year under Kyle Shanahan, Samuel ranked second in the NFL in yards per route run, third in yards per touch and third in total scrimmage yards, winning on efficiency in a fantasy friendly role. Teams linked to the star WR thus far per Rapoport include the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Detroit Lions. Clearly, a move to either Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes or Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers would be exciting for Samuel’s outlook. Per Spotrac, the Chiefs and Packers rank 14th and 15th in 2023 available cap space when Samuel would be seeking a new contract. These two teams each also have two 2022 1st round picks in next week’s NFL Draft and both rank top 2 in vacated targets and air yards from a year ago. Should Deebo get traded to either of these two franchises, he would have ample opportunity to see plenty of targets with a clear upgrade at the quarterback position.