What We Saw: Week 8
49ers vs. Cardinals
The 49ers may not win another game with C.J. Beathard at QB
QB C.J. Beathard has shown signs of competent, gutsy quarterback play; however, his propensity for turning the ball over has caused him to become overly gun shy to the point that he now holds the ball too long. Far too often, Beathard refused to pull the trigger and throw the ball to intended targets on various play designs that schemed at least one pass catcher open enough to gain yards. This led to an impotent offense, 4 sacks that cost the 49ers 30 yards of field position, and the ignominious fact that the 49ers had 36 penalty yards but only 24 passing yards by the middle of the 3rd quarter. When Beathard did throw the ball to wide-open receivers, it was often too high or too low and batted down at the line of scrimmage. Put simply, Beathard looked like exactly what he is – a backup QB. That being said, before he clammed up this week, Beathard was playing with reckless abandon (hence, the turnovers) that at least led to stuffing the stat sheet somewhat and gave the 49ers more of a chance to win. For now, he is not a recommended streaming play unless truly desperate.
Matt Breida is an iron man
RB Matt Breida overcame various injuries to lead the team in carries with 16 touches for 42 yards. The 49ers O-line couldn’t generate much push, and Breida wasn’t operating at full health. Surprisingly, backfield mate RB Raheem Mostert, who had been coming on strong in relief of Breida in recent weeks, only touched the ball twice for 18 yards. Only Mostert registered a target in the passing game (1), and neither back had a reception. Frustratingly from a fantasy perspective, RB Alfred Morris cut into the pie for some reason, chipping in 6 carries for 28 yards, which sounds like an efficient line until you realize 26 of those yards came on one carry (although the big play may have been what kept getting him the ball in this game). Moving forward, none of these backs will carry much value for fantasy owners. Breida might be the only one worth rostering in shallow leagues, as he seems to be the preferred option when healthy and has shown the talent and ability to post good numbers, his paltry output against Arizona notwithstanding. Morris and Mostert may be nothing more than handcuffs or lesser members of an RBBC that saps the fantasy value of all involved.
Marquise Goodwin breaks loose
WR Marquise Goodwin took a crossing route 55 yards to the house on his lone reception. He only received 3 other targets, as his speed was bizarrely underutilized. Some may criticize HC Kyle Shanahan for not scheming to get Goodwin the ball more often, but more likely it was Beathard who just wouldn’t feed him targets due to CB Patrick Peterson’s coverage. Goodwin remains a boom-or-bust WR3 who is verging on big-play dependence until Beathard can play more aggressively. Goodwin’s speed is an asset, and Shanahan is creative enough to use it, but he may need to be even more creative moving forward. With Peterson on Goodwin, WR Kendrick Bourne was the beneficiary, receiving 10 targets and caching 7 for 71 yards. A former teammate of Rams’ WR Cooper Kupp at Eastern Washington, Bourne played second fiddle there as well and joined the 49ers as a UDFA. There is very little fantasy upside here.
George Kittle remains consistent
TE George Kittle didn’t have the big game many anticipated, but he still pulled in 5 of his 8 targets for 57 yards. Despite Beathard’s struggles, Kittle has become incredibly reliable – garnering at least 6 targets in every game this season except one and securing no less than 5 catches in six of his 8 games played to go along with an average of 74 YDS/G. Consider Kittle a top-5 TE option until further notice.
The defense can’t finish the game again
Well, despite the weekly round of injuries incurred, the team did technically finish the game, but they failed to close it out just like they have on a few other occasions when the team let wins slip through their fingers. The defense did show up in the first half, limiting the AZ offense to mostly screens and only 3 points. The 49ers also secured their first takeaway since Week 4 against the Chargers. The biggest problem, and arguably the 49ers biggest need, remains a lack of pass rush. Entering this game, Cardinals’ QB Josh Rosen was under pressure on 45% of his dropbacks behind an atrocious O-line, yet the 49ers could only pressure him on 10 of his 45 dropbacks, according to PFF. The run defense continues to be a strength, as the 49ers held RB David Johnson to a meager 3.7 average on the ground, but they folded in the 4th quarter and allowed Arizona to score TDs on its final two drives to win the game. A defense that doesn’t take the ball away or get after the quarterback who failed to deliver in perhaps its softest matchup rest of season – it’s hard to justify streaming the 49ers D again this year.
Editors note: blurb coming soon