Right off the bat, it warrants noting Brian Hoyer never really was a household fantasy football name, but he has shown enough promise at times in his career to justify a glance at his outlook.
The main reason why is Hoyer has been reunited with Kyle Shanahan, and not by happenstance. Shanahan coached Hoyer for one year during their 2014 season together in Cleveland, which isn’t exactly a barometer for what is to come.
It is, although, somewhere to start.
When Shanahan took the San Francisco 49ers’ head coaching job just after Atlanta’s demoralizing Super Bowl loss, a few things jumped off of the page. Primarily, San Fran had no talent. Well, almost none. Also, Shanny was in desperate need of a quarterback who fit his system. Read more here about the nuances of how Shanahan does things as a playcaller.
One major element to address is how long it typically takes a quarterback to master Shanahan’s playbook, something Matt Ryan couldn’t do in Year 1. Hoyer has 13 starts under his belt in this system and, while he wasn’t gangbusters that year, the veteran has improved a great deal in his 14 subsequent starts in Houston and Chicago. In fact, he has completed a healthy 62.9 percent of his throws (career best over any significant stretch of games).
Hoyer also threw 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions in that time. It’s not like he was dinking and dunking, either, having averaged 7.15 yards per attempt during this window.
Injuries have long been the issue with Hoyer, who turns 32 in October. He isn’t imposing at 6-2, 215 pounds, built on the rather frail side of those otherwise decent measurables. Should San Francisco be able to protect him, which can be coached through designed movement of the pocket if the patchwork offensive line isn’t up to the job on its own.
Personnel … lack thereof
A lack of weaponry will be another issue Hoyer needs to overcome. Look for plenty of three-wide sets, yet Pierre Garcon may be the only recognizable face for many gamers. Marquise Goodwin comes over from Buffalo and will serve as the deep threat. He does little else on offense. Bruce Ellington has a world of promise but struggles keeping himself off of the injury report. Overachieving rookie Trent Taylor is a name to watch, and veteran Jeremy Kerley will battle for time.
The offense should focus on consistent ground gains to free up the pass through play-action. Shanahan also enjoys setting up running backs to catch passes from the backfield. Carlos Hyde and Tim Hightower should be the frontrunners for touches, while rookie Joe Williams lurks, waiting for his shot. The system should involve tight end Vance McDonald more than the last regime.
As one can see, this will take some time. Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard (third round) wasn’t even addressed. It’s unlikely he will see the field ahead of Hoyer before a late-season look at the future.
All of that points to Hoyer having a few flash games against either weak pass defenses or in a desperate bid to catch up. San Fran’s journeyman starter shouldn’t be in fantasy consideration unless you play in two-QB setups or want a wild flier in daily fantasy contests. In the off-chance of a miracle, he could emerge as a deep sleeper owner can pluck off the waiver wire.