49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has had high expectations for Dante Pettis from the beginning -- even before he was drafted by the team in 2018. And it appears a fantasy expert has the same amount of faith in Pettis.
ESPN fantasy expert Matt Bowen projects the wide receiver to have a breakout season entering his second year in the NFL.
"It's a small sample size from Pettis' rookie season, but based on his 17.3 yards per catch (fourth overall in the NFL) and the five-week run at the end of the 2018 season in a heavy, play-pass system under Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers wide receiver could have the highest ceiling of this group," Bowen wrote.
Bowens also credited Pettis' work with then-quarterback Nick Mullens during Weeks 12-16 last season when the 23-year-old caught 20-of-31 targets for 359 yards, four touchdowns and had an average of 7.49 yards after the catch
"And in Weeks 12-14, Pettis was WR6 in fantasy, outscoring both Julio Jones and Antonio Brown. Again, this is a small sample size we are talking about, but of the wide receivers with at least 40 targets in 2018, Pettis was the only player who averaged 10 air yards per target and seven yards after the catch. Which brings us back to Shanny's system."
Last year, the quarterback situation became tricky when Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs. But this time around, if all works out as planned, San Francisco will have a full season of Jimmy G which means just as much success for Pettis.
"With a healthy Garoppolo entering the season, and the route-running of Pettis to create separation on crossers/over routes, plus the deep out in the 49ers' three-level flood concepts, the windows will be there," Bowen writes. "And that also leads to numbers after the catch when the 49ers match up to zone-heavy defenses in both single-high and split-safety looks."
"I think Pettis could have a breakout season, pushing his way into lineups in all scoring formats as a WR2."
The pass catcher also heads into the season with a more clear mindset. He admitted to being "so lost last year" barely remembering the beginning of the season with all of the quarterbacks he was working with. But from what he's seen of Jimmy G so far, he's confident the two will make some plays and do some damage.