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Deebo Samuel fantasy outlook: Start or sit 49ers WR in Wild Card Round?

We go over the fantasy football and DFS outlook of Deebo Samuel ahead of the 49ers’ Wild Card matchup against the Seahawks in the 2023 NFL Playoffs.

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 8: Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers runs after making a catch during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on January 8, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Cardinals 38-13. Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

An NFC West showdown kicks off the NFL’s Super Wild Card weekend as the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers got some much-welcomed reinforcements back last week as Deebo Samuel suited up for the regular season finale, marking his return from injury. How enticing should it be to plug Samuel into fantasy lineups for Saturday’s matchup?

Fantasy Football analysis: 49ers WR Deebo Samuel ($5,700)

Samuel is priced at $5,700 at DraftKings, making him the seventh-most expensive receiver on the Saturday slate while holding the second-highest price tag among 49ers wideouts, behind only Brandon Aiyuk. While that may seem surprising given Samuel’s all-purpose skillset that includes carrying the ball out of the backfield, it’s important to note that he only recently came back from an ankle and knee injury. In the regular season finale last week versus the Cardinals, Samuel returned to play 68% of the snaps with a 15.7% target share.

In his lone game versus Seattle this season, Samuel totaled five catches for 44 yards alongside four carries for 53 rushing yards. In his career, the 49ers receiver has 26 catches for 414 yards and has scored 3 touchdowns in four games versus his divisional rival.

Samuel should have ample opportunities to take advantage of a Seahawks defense that ranks 13th against the pass, so long as Kyle Shanahan schemes him open. It helps that the Seahawks give up more yards than they should after completions. They have surrendered the 11th-most missed tackles this season (77) and the fourth-most yards after the catch (2,101).

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Start. It’s hard not to imagine that Samuel is one of if not the focal point in Shanahan’s game plan come Saturday afternoon. If only $100 separates Samuel from Aiyuk, roll with the former as he’s best suited to make Seahawks defenders pay after the catch. Shanahan tends to spread carries around in this loaded offense, but there should be no hesitation in unleashing him in the playoffs after easing him back in last week.