Samuel caught 57 balls for 802 yards and three touchdowns last season as a rookie and also took almost one rushing attempt per game, racking up 159 yards on 14 rushes.
Samuel Breaks Foot in Practice
However, the second-year wide out broke his foot on Thursday in practice and underwent surgery, making starting in the season opener at risk. The anticipated recovery time for Samuel is 12-16 weeks, so by the time the Miami Dolphins travel out to San Francisco for their 4:05 p.m. eastern contest in week five, Samuel should be on the field.
Should he not be eligible for the game, it shouldn’t be a problem for San Francisco should they perform at the same level of intensity as they did last year. They have a number of other receivers and running backs to look towards as well as a top defense in the league. If the 49ers find Samuel unavailable or want more depth at the position, they still have plenty of time to trade for a WR or sign a free agent.
49ers WR Corp Weakened Heavily Without Samuel
Samuel No. 2 WR in 2019 Behind Just George Kittle
Samuel started 11 of his 15 games played a rookie and helped a run-heavy team make its Super Bowl appearance. He had the second most yards from scrimmage from any position player on the team behind only tight end George Kittle.
A battle of No. 1 WRs in this matchup would see Samuel opposite DeVante Parker.
Parker, Samuel Not On Same Playing Grounds
His stats clearly differ from Samuel’s, seeing that he had 15 more receptions, three more touchdowns and nearly 250 more yards. However, this comes due to the fact that the 49ers have a lot more weapons than the Dolphins do.
Parker was the only position player on Miami with more than 570 total yards from scrimmage last season, while the 49ers on the other hand had five players with more than 700 total yards from scrimmage. They would’ve likely had a sixth if Sanders had played an entire season for the team instead of half a season after being traded from the Denver Broncos.
49ers Have More to Offer on Offense Than Dolphins
San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw seven more touchdowns than Ryan Fitzpatrick last year and the 49ers were only seven yards shy of doubling the Dolphins’ rushing yards for the entire season. This simply shows San Francisco has more scoring opportunities and moves the ball more than Miami, working in Samuel’s favor, not Parker’s.
If Miami had a cohesive defense with parts that have played together for multiple seasons, it’d have a chance against this high-powered offense despite its small depth at WR. But their offense still doesn’t compare to the 49ers’ and they’d still have to go up against their nightmarish defense.
San Francisco Wins Even Without Samuel Contributions
Even if Samuel is absent from the game, the 49ers should win this game by at least two scores. If Samuel is active, his production will come down to whether San Francisco has to use an air or run attack based on what the Dolphins are stopping more of. Miami struggled in 2019 in rush defense significantly, so it’s very possible early in the season that it won’t have all those kinks figured out. Unless defensive back Richard Sherman (or a combination of defenders) completely shuts down Parker, then he will have a better game than Samuel.