49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk was held without a single target in the team’s season opener versus the Lions in Detroit. Aiyuk was the team’s first-round selection in the 2020 NFL draft led the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards in his rookie season amid a slew of injuries to the offense, including to QB Jimmy Garoppolo, TE George Kittle and fellow wideout Deebo Samuel.
Samuel led the team with 12 targets on the day, reeling in 9 of those for 189 receiving yards and a touchdown. NFL Network’s Michael Florio notes the concerning discrepancy regarding snap counts for Aiyuk, playing just 47% of offensive snaps to Samuel’s 84%.
The bigger question will surround Trent Sherfield. He was targeted three times and finished with two receptions for 23 yards and a touchdown. Following the game, Shanahan was quick to note his strong camp helped him move up the depth chart in Week 1.
As for #49ers wide receiver shuffle, Trent Sherfield’s excellent camp was bigger factor in him taking Brandon Aiyuk’s snaps than Aiyuk hamstring tightness 2 weeks ago— Cam Inman (@CamInman) September 12, 2021
Despite this, it may still be too early to throw in the towel. The 49ers did manage plenty of big plays, managing 12 more offensive yards than the Lions despite 29 fewer offensive plays. Aiyuk ranked second among 2020 rookie WRs in receiving grade on the season by PFF.