18 September, 2023
Puka Nacua started his college career at Washington then transferred to BYU. He is 6′ 1″ and 210 pounds. For Washington he had just 16 catches before transferring to BYU where he nabbed an amazing 91 catches and 11 TD’s. He ran a 4.57 forty yard dash. He was drafted with the 177th overall pick by the LA Rams.
After a strong first half (423 combined yards and 34 points), the 49ers turned up the blitz, making the second half more of a defensive struggle. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk were the targets for Brock Purdy’s three egregious downfield misses in what was likely the worst game of his brief NFL career (and the first in which he failed to throw two touchdown passes). On the final play of the first half, Purdy raced in a score; who is this new Kyle Shanahan, who last week also uncharacteristically went for it on an early fourth down? Let’s hope it keeps going.
In Week 1, Purdy faced the greatest pressure rate in the league, but on Sunday, the 49ers prevented Aaron Donald from recording any stats. Purdy’s fantasy day would have looked much better had they not deemed this TD to Samuel a “run,” but even so, not bad for a “down” game.
Puka Nacua overcame rib and oblique pain to carry on with his historic start, recording the most catches (15) by a rookie in a game (and through two games) ever. He is the only player on the team to have 10+ receptions and 100+ yards in each of their first two games. As long as Cooper Kupp is out, Nacua, who received a whopping 20 targets (and two carries), could be considered a top-12 fantasy wide receiver. Should Kupp return healthy (doubtful), Nacua would regress to a WR3 at worst since he is more of a “hold” than a player to trade highly in fantasy football. The impressive start is supported by Nacua’s college performance, and Matthew Stafford keeps shining.