2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: San Francisco 49ers

Jeff Mueller

In our annual 32-part Summer Sleeper series, DLF scribes identify a lightly-touted player on each NFL roster who may be worthy of your consideration. Our subjects all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but each merits a bit of in-depth discussion.

To help everybody along, we are going to be categorizing our sleepers under one of three headings:

Super Deep Sleepers – Players who aren’t roster-worthy in 12-team leagues, but are still worth keeping an eye on.

Deep Sleepers – An end-of-the-roster player who is more often than not on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues.

Sleeper – A likely rostered player who makes for a good trade target. Their startup ADP puts them out of the top 175 or so.

Because we aren’t going to give you the likes of mainstream sleepers, most of these players will undoubtedly fizzle. All we are asking is for you to keep an open mind and perhaps be willing to make room for one of these players on your bench. You never know when the next Adam Thielen or James Robinson is going to spring up. Feel free to add your own thoughts about our choice for the designated sleeper, or nominate one of your own in the comments below.

The San Francisco 49ers are known for offensive prowess, led by the mastermind offensive play-caller Kyle Shanahan. The downside to the 49ers is that they never focus solely on one specific player. They simply find a way to win their real-life NFL game, whether it means passing 40 times or running 40 times. It can make it frustrating for fantasy purposes, but let’s be real: Shanahanigans happen.

I personally am excited to see the changes the offense sees with Trey Lance at the helm. Many expect fewer passes and more run plays – Can the 49ers seriously pass less and run more than when Jimmy Garoppolo was at quarterback? I personally believe we see a more balanced, more consistent attack where Shanahan utilizes the strengths of Lance’s rocket arm. This also leads to who my deep sleeper is.

It will be difficult to expect much fantasy production outside of Lance, George Kittle, and the top two wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but there’s a little weekly hope for another name.

Danny Gray, WR

Category: Deep Sleeper


As highlighted in his post-draft profile, Gray is an explosive athlete who fits the mold of the 49ers’ love for yards after the catch. He is a speedster, quite possibly (if I attempt to enter the mind of -Kyle Shanahan) a replacement for Marquise Goodwin. Shanahan has always loved having a field stretcher, having to rely on Goodwin and then Travis Benjamin over the years. Now, he drafted his own cheap version in Gray.

The positives are that Gray is also excellent at routes across the field, such as slants, where he can utilize his speed to create separation and then yards after catch. This was how most of his production came about in college, a likely attribute that the 49ers desired when they drafted him.


Gray was drafted in the third round, providing himself a decent safety net on the roster for at least a few seasons (please don’t bring up Dante Pettis though). He signed a four-year, $5 million contract and is rostered through 2025 for cheap.

Depth Chart and Challenges

Gray should slide right into the WR4 spot behind Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Jauan Jennings. Jennings is only on a one-year contract, so if Gray performs well it should not be long before he takes over WR3 duties. As for fantasy, Gray would still be behind these wide receivers plus George Kittle in the pecking order, so he will likely not be a viable weekly fantasy option. He should be rostered in most deeper leagues, as his role would drastically increase if Samuel were to actually be traded (unlikely to happen) or an injury were to occur.


Gray is coming off the board in dynasty startups at around WR102, overall pick 230 in June DLF ADP. He should be rostered in deep leagues. For fantasy purposes, he is likely a better deep roster best-ball player than he will be for weekly dynasty or redraft leagues. He makes for a good stash in case something happens with Samuel or Aiyuk, and if the 49ers do wind up passing more on a weekly basis.

At cost, there aren’t many other good options to choose from that late in a startup draft. You might be better off selling your late rookie pick or late startup pick for a future rookie draft pick. If you were to select Gray, he certainly is a deep sleeper and may be better suited as a best-ball pick for 2022 with the potential for future value increase in the years to come.

jeff mueller
2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: San Francisco 49ers