Friday update: Kyle Shanahan told the 49ers media on Friday that Deebo Samuel will play on Sunday against the Eagles. There was thought it might be another week, but Samuel will be back in Week 4.
UPDATE: Samuel remains on the team’s injured reserve list, but with the practice window open. This means the team does not include him on their daily injury report, so we don’t know if he is limited or full in these practices.
The San Francisco 49ers kicked off their first practice of Week 4 on Wednesday, and they welcomed Deebo Samuel back to the field. Samuel had offseason foot surgery and had a setback in August. He was placed on injured reserve to open the season.
Samuel is eligible to return from IR in Week 4 when the 49ers face the Philadelphia Eagles, but by all accounts the team is not going to rush this. Over the weekend, Ian Rapoport reported that Samuel’s likely return date would be Week 5 when the 49ers host the Miami Dolphins.
Brandon Aiyuk impressed in Week 3 against the Giants, but getting Samuel back would be a huge boost for the 49ers offense. Like Aiyuk, the 49ers will move Samuel all around their formations to get the ball in his hands. In Super Bowl 54, Samuel caught five passes for 39 yards and added 53 yards on three rushes. Last week, we saw Aiyuk in a similar role. He caught five passes for 70 yards and added 31 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
Samuel is the 49ers No. 1 wide receiver, but if Aiyuk builds on his Week 3 performance, the 49ers will have a significant boost of depth among their pass catchers. Samuel remains the strong fantasy option, but the next couple weeks once Samuel and George Kittle return will give us a better handle on how the passes might be distributed.