Richie James will compete for a role as a reserve receiver with San Francisco this season, but he has minimal Fantasy value in most leagues. The 49ers have a crowded receiving corps with Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Jordan Matthews, Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor, along with George Kittle at tight end. James will likely have a hard time jumping over most of those guys on the depth chart, but keep an eye on his role in training camp. He's not worth drafting in most formats.
James was outplayed by Trent Taylor during the offseason program, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. With the 49ers using draft picks on Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, it's hard to see how they'd make space for both James and Taylor on the 53-man roster. There's even a chance both undersized wide receivers might be cut, as the team also boasts two veteran wide receivers -- Kendrick Bourne and Jordan Matthews -- with experience playing from the slot. It sounds like James will need a big summer to stick around on the Week 1 roster, though he might be able to earn a spot strictly on the basis of his work as a return specialist.
James had three catches (five targets) for 32 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 48-32 loss to the Rams. James was granted the first start of his career on the last game of the season with Marquise Goodwin (calf) missing the contest and both Pierre Garcon (knee) and Dante Pettis (knee) on injured reserve. The seventh-round pick made the most of his opportunity, playing on every offensive snap (58) and catching his first touchdown pass. James spent most of the year limited to return duties, so it shouldn't be surprising that he finished the season with just nine catches for 130 yards. The biggest takeaway from the rookie's campaign was that he clearly usurped Trent Taylor on the depth chart down the stretch, putting him in a favorable spot to make the team next year in a similar return/reserve wideout role.
James caught his lone target for four yards in Sunday's 14-9 loss to Chicago. James recorded his first catch in four weeks, due in large part to Dante Pettis (knee) going down in the first half. The rookie still saw little usage on offense, but he could vault up to third on the depth chart against the Rams on Sunday if Marquise Goodwin (Achilles) joins Pettis on the sideline. If that happens, the 49ers will likely add a receiver or two from off the current 53-man roster, but James figures to start ahead of whoever joins the squad.
James was not targeted in Sunday's win over Denver, and he muffed a punt return for the second consecutive week. James' inability to secure the ball on punt returns over the past two weeks caused him to be removed from the role mid-game in favor of Trent Taylor. The latter also occupied the rookie's role as fourth wideout on offense, eliminating whatever marginal fantasy value he had developed while filling in for injured starters. With the 49ers' receiving corps getting healthier with each passing week, James can be safely be left out of the fantasy conversation.
James was unable to haul in either of his two targets in Sunday's 43-16 loss to Seattle. James finished third among San Francisco wideouts with two targets for the second consecutive week, but he was unable to connect with Nick Mullens in this one after tallying 27 yards last week. The speedy wideout was able to rip off 109 yards on four kick returns, but he also lost a fumble in that role. The 49ers are struggling mightily, so James won't create much fantasy buzz even if Marquise Goodwin (personal) and Pierre Garcon (knee) remain sidelined for Week 14's matchup with the Broncos.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/08||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||25.00|
|6||10/13||@Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|
|12||11/24||Green Bay Packers||26||24.75|
|14||12/08||@New Orleans Saints||31||26.67|
|16||12/22||Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||14||9||130||1||4||14.44||17|