San Francisco 49ers (1-0, 0-1 ATS) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0, 1-0), 1 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: 49ers 26.75, Eagles 23.25
Spread/Total Movements: 48.5 to 50
Weather: 80 degrees, no rain, 5 mph
49ers Injuries to Watch: RB Raheem Mostert (knee, IR), CB Jason Verrett (ACL, IR), LB Dre Greenlaw (groin, out), CB Emmanuel Moseley (knee, doubtful), DL Arik Armstead (adductor, questionable)
Eagles Injuries to Watch: TE Zach Ertz (hamstring. probable), S Marcus Epps (concussion, questionable), WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (ankle, probable), S Rodney McLeod (ACL recovery, out)
Brolley’s 49ers Stats and Trends
The 49ers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games.
San Fran is 5-0-1 toward overs in its last six games as a road favorite.
Elijah Mitchell came out of relative obscurity in the season opener to become the waiver wire pickup of Week 2. Raheem Mostert is done for the year with a knee injury and the 49ers made third-round pick Trey Sermon a stunning surprise healthy scratch. That left sixth-round pick Mitchell as the team’s top option for the final three quarters against the Lions. He broke off a 38-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter on his way to finishing with 19/104/1 rushing on 64% of the snaps. JaMycal Hasty scored on his only carry near the goal line and he added a 15-yard catch while playing 29% of the snaps as the team’s passing back. We can’t take anything for granted with the moves Kyle Shanahan pulled in the opener, but Mitchell should be the top runner this week with Sermon given new life as his backup and Hasty being relied on in pass situations. The Eagles limited Falcons RBs to 3.7 YPC last week.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 314 yards and a touchdown on just 25 passes (12.6 YPA) but he saw Trey Lance come in and steal a touchdown pass near the goal line. The Eagles’ new zone defense limited Matt Ryan to just 164 yards on 35 attempts (4.7 YPA) without a touchdown.
Brandon Aiyuk can’t go near a fantasy lineup until he gets a full-time role back after he split snaps with Trent Sherfield after being slowed by a hamstring injury during training camp. He ran a route on 15 of Jimmy G’s dropbacks compared to Sherfield’s 14 route but he didn’t see a single target.
Deebo Samuel took the lead in the passing game and he ran with it by hanging 9/189/1 receiving on 12 targets (48% share), which included a highlight reel 79-yard, catch-and-run score. He also had an aDOT of 8.3 yards after having an aDOT of just 2.2 yards last season. Calvin Ridley posted 5/51 receiving on eight targets in this matchup last week.
George Kittle was his usual self with the ball in his hands, averaging 14.3 YAC per reception against the Lions. He finished with 4/78 receiving on five targets (20% share) but he ran just 16 routes with the 49ers racing out to a big lead. The Eagles limited Kyle Pitts to 4/31 receiving on eight targets last week.
Brolley’s Eagles Stats and Trends
The Eagles are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games, and they’ve covered five straight games as a home underdog.
Philly is 8-3 toward unders in its last 11 games.
Jalen Hurts showed some of his ceiling potential just like he did in his three full starts at the end of last season. He had lowest rushing output in those four starts with a still excellent 57 yards, but he completed by far a career-high 77.1% of his passes on his way to 264/3 passing (7.5 YPA). The 49ers allowed the second-most rushing yards per game (27.9) to QBs last season.
DeVonta Smith is the clear #1 WR after running 10 more routes than the next Eagle. He turned his 37 routes into 6/71 receiving on seven targets (20% share) against the Falcons, and he’ll face another vulnerable secondary that just lost Jason Verrett (ACL).
Jalen Reagor caught all six of his targets (17% share) for 49 yards, including a late 23-yard touchdown to ice away their victory. Reagor posted just one touchdown and he caught just 57.4% of his passes during his rookie season. The 49ers allowed just 118 receiving yards to Lions’ WRs last week but they weren’t exactly tested by one of the weakest receiving corps.
Dallas Goedert shared the TE work with Zach Ertz in the season opener. Goedert recorded 4/42/1 receiving on five targets (14% share) and 27 routes while Ertz managed 2/34 receiving on two targets (6%) and 23 routes. The 49ers got torched by T.J. Hockenson for 9/99/1 receiving after finishing as the top defense against TEs last season (8.2 FPG allowed).
It’s a small-sample size, but Miles Sanders is producing like a top-12 RB with Jalen Hurts at quarterback. He’s averaging 15.3/77.5/.8 rushing per game and 3.3/28.3 receiving per game in his four career games with Hurts. Sanders (66%) and rookie Kenneth Gainwell (36%) split the work in the backfield, and they’ll face a 49ers defense that allowed 93/1 rushing and 16/121/1 receiving to D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams last week.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 24.4 (22nd)
Week 1 – Plays per game: 58 (26th)
Week 1 – Pass: 50% (29th) | Run: 50% (4th)
Week 1 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 22.2 (9th)
Week 1 – Plays per game: 68 (18th)
Week 1 – Pass: 54.4% (24th) | Run: 45.6% (9th)
The Eagles had a perfect plan for Week 1 in Atlanta and Jalen Hurts got out of the blocks hot with a QB5 scoring week (28.8 FP). Anyone who waited on Hurts is going to be handsomely rewarded, because this offense is being built around his strengths – which is evidenced by the number of designed, quick throws early in drives. Last week, the Eagles went a whopping 75% pass-heavy on their first down plays in the first half before they built a massive lead. And those first-down passes gained them 8.1 yards on average. So, while their final pass / run numbers look like they favored the run – it was really Hurts’ ability to move the ball on early downs early in the game through the air that built them their lead. Their pass-heavy ways on early downs combined with a fast-paced offense that ripped off a new play every 22.2 seconds of game-clock gives this Eagles a ton of upside in Week 2 and moving forward. San Francisco is obviously a much more formidable opponent, but I’m really excited to see how Hurts & Co. respond here. The 49ers didn’t have to throw much in Week 1 because they built a 31-10 halftime lead and then ran the ball in the second half to salt the game away. Against a much better Eagles team, this game has the makings of a very competitive and potentially high-scoring affair if Philadelphia finds similar success through the air.
(Note: We’re dealing with very small sample sizes early in the season – so I’m saving the deep dive into play-calling tendencies until Week 4.)
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
In spite of having new OC Mike McDaniel, 49er HC Kyle Shanahan was not standing for reduced usage of his beloved heavy sets. They actually increased slightly. And the ground game strategy was untouched in Week 1. That might be expected — McDaniel was the 49ers’ run game coordinator before being promoted to offensive coordinator. It’s still the NFL’s best zone run game.
While Philly’s defensive line absolutely dominated the Falcons last week, keep in mind that the 49ers’ offensive line is in a lot better shape than Atlanta’s is. Getting to the second level against the Eagles’ mediocre linebackers is key — that’s where the hay can be made on the ground. And Shanahan’s offense puts a ton of stress on second-level defenders.
As for the Eagles, you have to like the matchup for QB Jalen Hurts given the 49ers’ injury woes look to have continued. It appears CB Emmanuel Moseley is on the wrong side of questionable. Losing Moseley would be devastating to the 49ers this week. They just placed Jason Verrett on season-ending IR this week with an ACL tear. Verrett joins Davontae Harris (IR) and Tarvarius Moore (PUP) as unavailable options in the secondary. Without Moseley, they’d need to rely on a group consisting of Deommodore Lenoir, Dontae Johnson, Josh Norman (signed just last week), and Dre Kirkpatrick (signed off the street this week).
The Niners also don’t jam receivers at the line, which is good news for Philly’s DeVonta Smith. And the Eagles didn’t travel CB Darius Slay in Week 1, which is good news for Deebo Samuel.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Look, it’s clear that Kyle Shanahan was challenging his players in Week 1 with his Shanahanigans, notably RB Trey Sermon (a healthy scratch) and WR Brandon Aiyuk (running behind the legendary Trent Sherfield).
Obviously, Sermon is going to be active at some point following the injury to Raheem Mostert (knee). But Elijah Mitchell aced Shanahan’s test after being thrust into a big role. He ran for over 100 yards and a TD, and outsnapped JaMycal Hasty over 2 to 1 — 35 to 16. The Eagle run defense was fantastic last week, but let’s see if it can hold down against a much better line, in a scheme that fits Mitchell perfectly. I am not at all confident in saying that Mitchell is going to run away with this gig, but I do think he’ll get the first crack. He’s an RB2.
I got a few questions requesting @gregcosell's evaluation on #49ers new RB Elijah Mitchell.— Joe Dolan (@FG_Dolan) September 13, 2021
"The more I watched Mitchell, the more I liked him..."
"Mitchell would project best in a foundational zone scheme..." pic.twitter.com/TZtfcHShxv
At WR, Deebo Samuel must be in your lineups after blowing up last week. He led the Niners with 25 routes run in Week 1… but Aiyuk was actually second at 15. That doesn’t mean I’m playing Aiyuk until I see him actually get targeted and play more than half the snaps, but it also means I’m not dropping him. You know what to do with TE George Kittle — Eagles S Rodney McLeod (ACL recovery) isn’t read yet.
49er QB Jimmy Garoppolo is not an option this week given the existence of the Trey Lance package and how many other viable options there are for fantasy at that position this week.
I’m super into Philly’s offense after Week 1. It was arguably one of the best-designed gameplans of Week 1, and Jalen Hurts was fantastic. But let’s also consider that Atlanta could very much be terrible. While San Francisco has some injuries in the secondary, the defensive line will give Philly’s excellent OL a few more problems than Atlanta’s did. I’m still firing up Hurts as a QB1 (low-end… there are a ton of great options this week), and WR DeVonta Smith as a WR3.
I think this matchup sets up well for TE Dallas Goedert as well. The 49ers got scrambled by TJ Hockenson for 23.7 FP last week. Goedert is on the TE radar, with Zach Ertz potentially limited by a hamstring injury.
Keep an eye on Philly’s secondary receiving options this week. None are yet playable in all but the deepest of leagues, but could be interesting down the line. Speedy Quez Watkins caught 3 passes on Philly’s first three plays last week, and then didn’t see another target. Meanwhile, Jalen Reagor caught all 6 of his targets for 49 yards and a score.
That leaves us with Philly’s backfield against a Niner defense that surrendered massive numbers to Lions RBs last week — 93/1 rushing and 16/121/1 receiving. Tom brought up Miles Sanders’ production with Hurts, and Sanders was the clear lead back with a 66% snap share a week ago, and coach Nick Sirianni did a phenomenal job getting him in space.
However, while rookie RB Kenny Gainwell isn’t yet a season-long option, he was the only RB outside of Sanders to get snaps last week, and was the Eagles’ exclusive hurry-up back in their two-minute drill, doing plenty of work as a receiver and an excellent job in pass protection. Gainwell should be rostered in most leagues.