49ers

Fantasy football waiver wire: Week 2 targets include 49ers' Raheem Mostert

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AP

Fantasy football waiver wire: Week 2 targets include 49ers' Raheem Mostert

Which side of the blowout were you on?

With some amazing individual performances in Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season, there were undoubtedly several high scores in your fantasy league. Here's hoping you had one of them.

Whether or not you did, it's time to shift the focus to Week 2, and you know what that means ...

Waiver wire mania.

Whether you lost a key player to injury, want to build up your depth or simply just keep a player off an opponent's roster, there are several attractive options available after the first week of play. Here are four non-quarterbacks to keep in mind for waiver claims Tuesday morning, all of whom offer plenty of upside and are owned in fewer than 15 percent of Yahoo and ESPN fantasy leagues.

Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams RB

8 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 7 percent owned in ESPN

Todd Gurley has been one of the top running backs in the league ever since he was drafted, but he wore down towards the end of last season, and there were significant concerns about the health of his knee this offseason. While Rams coach and offensive guru Sean McVay said Gurley would not be on a play count in Week 1 against the Panthers, it appears that was a bit deceiving.

While Gurley did play the majority of the snaps, the touch distribution was considerably more even. He ceded a fair portion of the workload to Brown, who -- in comparison -- was more productive with his touches.

Based on the number of touches Brown received, it didn't do anything to alleviate concerns about Gurley's knee. Brown seems likely to maintain a significant role in the Rams' high-powered offense, and could become a top-end starter if Gurley misses any extended time.

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans WR

2 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 5 percent owned in ESPN

Move over, Corey Davis. Marcus Mariota has a new No. 1 receiver, or at least so it appears.

Brown, the No. 51 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, had quite a debut Sunday, totaling the most receiving yards in a game that featured the likes of Davis, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. Brown caught three balls for 100 yards in Tennessee's 43-13 beatdown of the Browns, using his size to cause significant problems for Cleveland's defense.

With Davis -- he of zero receptions on three targets Sunday -- having underwhelmed ever since being the No. 5 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Titans have been waiting for someone to step in and be a consistent downfield threat. Brown certainly looks the part, and given the way Tennessee's offense performed Sunday, some more high-scoring games might be on the way.

Chris Conley, Jacksonville Jaguars WR

1 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 9 percent owned in ESPN

Welp, so much for the Nick Foles era.

Jacksonville's season took several early, ugly turns Sunday, with its best defensive player being ejected and its new starting quarterback suffering a fractured clavicle in a rough beating at the hands of the Chiefs. Foles is out indefinitely, meaning it's rookie Gardner Minshew's time behind center.

Minshew performed admirably Sunday after replacing Foles, all things considered. He was extremely accurate, completing 22 of 25 pass attempts for two touchdowns, while throwing one interception. Chris Conley led all Jaguars receivers in targets (seven) and receptions (six) on his way to 97 receiving yards and a touchdown against Kansas City.

He and Minshew appeared to have good chemistry, and with Foles out indefinitely, that's a connection we could see a lot more of.

Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers RB

<1 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, <1 percent owned in ESPN

Outside of the defensive line, running back is arguably the deepest position on San Francisco's roster. That depth will be put to the test after Tevin Coleman suffered an ankle injury in the first half of the 49ers' win over the Bucs, which will require an MRI. San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan admitted he was "concerned" about the severity of the injury.

Enter Raheem Mostert.

[RELATED: Why 49ers shouldn't pursue Gordon after Coleman injury]

Shanahan has insisted time and again that the backfield is going to be a timeshare. If Coleman isn't there to absorb a portion of that timeshare, someone else will have to, and Mostert is the logical choice. He led San Francisco with 40 yards on the ground Sunday despite getting six fewer carries than Matt Breida, and clearly has the trust of the coaching staff.

He's proven to be much more than just a special teams standout, and with Breida's injury history, Mostert could be just one play away from becoming the lead back in the offense, assuming Coleman misses some time.

Kyle Shanahan explains why Dante Pettis was not 49ers' punt returner

Kyle Shanahan explains why Dante Pettis was not 49ers' punt returner

INDIANAPOLIS -- No punt returner in the history of college football was as dynamic as Dante Pettis.

But in two seasons since the 49ers traded up to take him in the second round of the 2018 draft, Pettis has gotten only 11 opportunities to return punts.

All of Pettis’ chances came during his rookie season. While his play time at wide receiver dwindled to non-existent over the second half of the recently completed season, he was not even able to make a contribution special teams.

Why? Coach Kyle Shanahan said it was as simple as this: Richie James was better.

“We didn’t think he was our best guy,” Shanahan said of Pettis at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Pettis set the NCAA record with nine punt returns for touchdowns. After Pettis visited the 49ers, the club selected him with the No. 44 overall draft pick. As a rookie, he fumbled twice while averaging just 3.0 yards on nine returns. He also sustained a knee injury on an early season return against the Los Angeles Chargers.

In 2019, James was reliable. He was fifth in the NFL in return yards and did not have a fumble on 33 punt returns while averaging a respectable 8.0 yards per return.

Shanahan said he wants Pettis to put up a battle to compete with James for the job in 2020. He said he has expressed that expectation to Pettis, too.

“He knows that,” Shanahan said. “I think he’s got a chance to be (the punt returner). But we felt more comfortable with Richie. And I hope Dante tries to take that job from him.

“It’s his decision. He’s got to show it. I guess, it comes down to my decision, but he should make it for me.”

Pettis averaged 17.3 yards on 27 receptions and caught five touchdown passes as a rookie. But his production dropped off in his second season, as he caught just 11 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He will be fighting for a spot on the 2020 team.

Shanahan said he wants Pettis to be on a mission during his second offseason to come back as a stronger, better and more-focused player. He said Pettis took a “documented” step back in his second season.

[RELATED49ers' receivers could change in 2020]

Shanahan said second-year players who struggle after promising rookie seasons can go either way.

“They keep being like that, and they usually filter out,” Shanahan said, “or it’s a wakeup call for them and they come back and you see It in April. They treated January to April so much different than the year before, and then it usually changes their career.”

Tyrann Mathieu explains how Chiefs stopped 49ers at end of Super Bowl

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AP

Tyrann Mathieu explains how Chiefs stopped 49ers at end of Super Bowl

The 49ers entered the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV with a 10-point lead over the Kansas City Chiefs, before eventually falling, 31-20. Even as they began squandering their lead, San Francisco had its chances to become champions. 

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers found themselves in a 24-20 deficit with 2:44 remaining. The eight-play driving ended in four straight incomplete passes and Jimmy G being sacked on fourth down. 

After the Chiefs scored on a two-play drive to increase their lead to 11 points, Kansas City cornerback Kendall Fuller intercepted a Garoppolo pass intended for rookie Deebo Samuel down the field with only 57 seconds remaining. The rest is history. 

"We knew that obviously they were gonna try to get the ball to [George] Kittle," Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu said Thursday on Fs1's "First Things First." "But most importantly I felt that Deebo Samuel was their guy." 

[RELATED: Five defensive backs 49ers should watch during combine]

Mathieu said he and Fuller actually went over the route where Garoppolo was picked off ... one series prior to their prediction coming true. 

"On the interception that Kendall Fuller caught, we had actually communicated the series before about that same route concept," Mathieu explained. "We just thought that they were gonna put Kittle at No. 3 and try to force him the ball down the middle."

General manager John Lynch reiterated his confidence in Garoppolo on Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, and coach Kyle Shanahan certainly has gone over every situation from his latest Super Bowl loss this offseason. The two know they can't dwell on the past, though. 

It's time to look ahead and focus on making another run at the Lombardi Trophy.