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What to do with Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne in Week 4 fantasy football

The Niners’ receiver picture is a tough one to figure out this week. We tried anyway.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There’s some good news to be had this week for the injury-laden San Francisco 49ers. Tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel are both expected to return to action on Sunday. The Kittle news was expected, but Samuel is a bit of a surprise after reports he was going to be back in Week 5.

The 49ers will be without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this weekend, but Nick Mullens will have a solid group of pass catchers at his disposal. Kittle and Samuel join wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Kendrick Bourne, with the rookie Aiyuk coming off a breakout Week 3 performance. So, which is best for fantasy lineups this week?

Fantasy Football analysis: 49ers WRs Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne

By the end of last season, Samuel was emerging as the 49ers second biggest playmaker behind Kittle. However, an offseason broken foot and an August setback put Samuel on IR to open the season. He’s back now and a guy who the 49ers will look to get the ball in his hands both as a pass catcher and a runner.

Aiyuk had a great game last week against the Giants, in a role that was reminiscent of Samuel in 2019. Aiyuk caught five passes for 70 yards and added another 31 rushing yards and a touchdown to his totals for the day. Bourne had a role to play too, catching four passes for 63 yards in that one.

Kittle and Samuel returning will cut into Aiyuk and Bourne’s target shares. It’s worth noting however that Kyle Shanahan indicated on Friday that Samuel likely either won’t be starting or will see a somewhat limited snap count as he works his way back.

The 49ers were committed to getting Aiyuk touches last week, and while he likely will remain involved, but this is a tough matchup to sort out. It’s great for the 49ers, but tough for fantasy football managers. It’s probably wise to hold off playing Samuel until we see what his playing time looks like. Aiyuk is worth considering as a flex option in particularly deep leagues, but in more traditional 12- and 14-team leagues, you probably want to wait and see how Mullens spreads the ball around.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Sit Aiyuk outside of deeper leagues.
Sit Samuel and Bourne.