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Lance will be focus as 49ers player to watch vs. Cardinals

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The 49ers player to watch this week is the most obvious player to watch since we’ve been watching 49ers players.

You know who that player is, and it’s not new kicker Joey Slye — although he will be worth watching, too, as he fills in for the injured Robbie Gould.

Let’s get going and start the countdown to you-know-who, as the 49ers face the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals in Week 5 ...

5. WR Deebo Samuel

The 49ers do not figure on having tight end George Kittle. And second-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has been an enigma.

Therefore, it is up to wide receiver Deebo Samuel to keep doing Deebo Samuel things for the 49ers in the passing game.

Samuel enters Week 5 as the NFL’s top receiver with 490 yards and three touchdowns.

The 49ers’ quarterback — who shall remain nameless until No. 1 is revealed — should look early and often to get the ball in the hands of the team’s top pass-catcher.

4. DE Nick Bosa

Going back to the 2019 NFL Draft, we knew this would make for great TV for a while when these two NFC West teams got together.

The Cardinals selected quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.

Then, the 49ers took defensive end Nick Bosa, the man they hope can help neutralize Murray.

Bosa has four sacks in four games. If Bosa is at the top of his game, he can help the 49ers’ defense keep Murray in check.


3. RB Elijah Mitchell

The 49ers will turn to three rookies to supply their running game against a Cardinals defense that has been susceptible to the ground game.

Mitchell returns to action after missing two games with a shoulder injury.

The 49ers figure to feature Mitchell and fellow rookie Trey Sermon, as well as another rookie — a certain dual-threat quarterback.

2. LB Fred Warner

The season has not started as linebacker Fred Warner had hoped. Through four games, he has not played to his All-Pro level.

Warner ranks shockingly low among NFL linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus.

Perhaps, he is simply trying to do too much after signing a big-money contract just prior to the opening of training camp.

Warner must return to form, whether he is filling in the right gaps in the run game or making plays on short and intermediate routes in the passing game.

1. QB Trey Lance

Surprise, surprise.

The 49ers will turn to rookie quarterback Trey Lance to keep the team afloat. The 49ers would fall three games behind in the division standings with a loss to the NFC West-leading Cardinals.

Lance must avoid giveaways — that’s the top priority.

RELATED: It's official! Lance named 49ers' starting QB vs. Cardinals

This is the reason the 49ers invested the No. 3 overall draft pick in him. In the past, the 49ers fell apart when Jimmy Garoppolo did not play. Garoppolo is out for Week 5 with a calf injury.

So, now, they turn to a true dual-threat quarterback who figures to be able to make an impact with his arm or his legs.

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