The Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, and Seattle Seahawks are all entrenched with elite starting quarterbacks heading into the 2021 season with Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford, and Russell Wilson. In early fantasy football drafts over the last month, all three signal-callers are highly sought after among high-stakes players going off the board among the top 10 at the position.
This leaves us with the San Francisco 49ers, who will face the dilemma of starting veteran Jimmy Garoppolo or their 2021 first-round draft pick Trey Lance. The oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook have posted that Garoppolo will be the starting quarterback in Week 1 at prohibitive odds of -350.
Jimmy Garoppolo (-350)
Jimmy Garoppolo is heavily favored as the Week 1 starting quarterback for the 49ers when they head on the road to face the Detroit Lions as 7.5-point favorites. Garoppolo has played seven seasons in the NFL, three with New England and four with San Francisco. Since being selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Garoppolo has thrown 51 touchdowns in 48 career games. Since 2019, the veteran has missed 23 games due to injury. When healthy, Garoppolo has been solid, posting a 24-8 record as a starter in the regular season in the NFL. He led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2019 but failed to earn a ring after missing some wide-open throws that led to two interceptions and missed opportunities in an eventual 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. My colleague Shawn Childs strongly believes, “San Francisco invested in their future quarterback with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, putting Garoppolo in the hot seat this season. I expect the 49ers to lean on experience while wins will determine who finishes with the most playing time.”
Trey Lance (+225)
Trey Lance, who the 49ers traded up nine spots to draft, will have a great opportunity to be the biggest face of the San Francisco franchise at the quarterback position since the days of Steve Young and Joe Montana. You can bet that Kyle Shanahan will have a short hook with Garoppolo if the 49ers’ offense struggles early in the 2021 season.
The former North Dakota State standout opened the eyes of NFL scouts despite only playing 19 career games at the collegiate level for the Bison. Lance’s best season came in 2019, throwing for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns in 16 games. In addition, Lance was outstanding on the ground amassing 1,325 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground in those 18 contests. He is a raw talent that will likely take time to develop at the NFL level.
Childs believes Lance will not spend the entire season holding a clipboard on the sidelines after being tabbed the 3rd overall pick in the NFL Draft: “San Francisco may not give Lance the keys to their offense early in the season, but his ability to run the ball will tempt the club to use him at the goal line and short-yardage situations.
Josh Rosen (+3300) & Nate Sudfeld (+5000)
Both Josh Rosen and Nate Sudfeld would need injuries to both Garoppolo and Lance to sniff the starting role. The massive odds of the NFL journeymen should not entice any bettors to invest in either player who will likely battle each other for the third-string role on the 49ers roster in 2021.
Recent reports out of the Bay area indicate that the only way Jimmy Garoppolo is not the 49ers Week 1 starter is if he sustains an injury. Fantasy owners believe Lance will take over during the season due to the veteran’s inability to remain healthy, thus flying up early summer draft boards.
As we always stress, laying prohibitive odds is not wise bankroll management. Although Lance could have a significant role in the Week 1 game plan versus the Lions, the rookie will not be the one under center starting in Week 1. Despite strong Vegas sportsbook indications that Garoppolo will be the Week 1 signal-caller, all SI Gambling bettors need to pass on this market due to the risk of injury in the pre-season. At odds of -350, this is a hard pass on a market that stood at odds of -270 back in early May.
SI Gambling 49ers Week 1 Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo -350
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