Shanahan denies Aiyuk is in 'doghouse,' blames 'fantasy football'


49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has once again addressed questions about the playing time of second-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

The 2020 first-round draft pick saw limited action in the Niners' win over the Lions in Week 1, prompting questions about his apparent slide down the depth chart.

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Earlier this week, Shanahan said Aiyuk, who missed time in camp with a strained hamstring, needed to be "a lot better than the guy behind him" in order to see more snaps. The seemingly tough response led some to wonder whether Aiyuk had fallen out of favor for some reason.

But on Friday, Shanahan seemed to take a different approach when he was asked whether Aiyuk was "in the doghouse."

"No, it's not a doghouse," Shanahan said during a radio appearance. The fifth-year coach explained that Aiyuk would have won his role "completely back" and is being rotated into the lineup after tweaking his hamstring during the preseason.

Shanahan said "it's not personal," and suggested it was blown out of proportion because of "fantasy football," where Aiyuk was a relatively pricey commodity in drafts.

Aiyuk flashed big-play potential as a rookie last year, hauling in 60 catches for 748 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also ran for 77 yards and two scores on six carries.

The former Arizona State star was expected to take the next step this season, but the injury bug bit again in camp. He was also limited to 12 games in his debut campaign.

The 49ers face the Eagles in Week 2, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Kickoff is 10 a.m. PT.