Dissecting the 49ers Potential Fantasy Running Back Headache - Roto Street Journal
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Dissecting the 49ers Potential Fantasy Running Back Headache

Throughout the offseason, many teams addressed their RB depth chart through additions in the draft and free agency. While some made major waves in the fantasy landscape declaring true RB1 starters, others left us asking for more or left confused with a potential committee. We took a look into some of the more crowded and troubling backfields to try and decipher what we can expect from these teams in 2019.

San Francisco 49ers

  • Returning backs: Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr
  • Key additions: Tevin Coleman
  • Departures: Alfred Morris

Last year we were all aboard the Jerick McKinnon hype train before an ACL injury knocked him out for the year. Journeyman Alfred Morris started the season as the team’s lead back before being completely useless and opening the door for the team’s younger and more talented players. Guys like Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert showed some great flashes before both were bitten by the injury bug — a seemingly common theme amongst Niners backs.

The offseason addition of former Falcon Tevin Coleman only makes the RB position uglier. Coleman figures to get the lead role in Kyle Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme. You don’t sign a guy like Coleman who previously played under Shanahan to play second-fiddle to McKinnon or Breida. He had a productive year with over a 1,000 yards and nine scores in Atlanta with Devonta Freeman shelved. Of course, we expected the same kind of work last year when McKinnon got a nice contract in free agency. But coming off the ACL tear, McKinnon will likely be eased back into work while letting Coleman handle lead-back duties.

Coleman is currently the only meaningful back who’s healthy in camp with McKinnon, Breida and Mostert all on the shelf recovering from injury. While he soaks up all the work now, he’s only strengthening his grip on the RB1 spot. When the rest of the group returns though, the 49ers will just have so many mouths to feed.

“It’s safe to say that this is the deepest backfield that I’ve ever been around,” offensive run game coordinator Mike McDaniel said. “You could go to war with anybody on our roster.”

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk has been delighted with Coleman’s presence so far in camp with the following positive quote:

“Tevin has been awesome,” Juszczyk said. “This has been a great time for him and I to work together and get a feel for each other. The guy works super hard and is super consistent. He runs the zone scheme phenomenally. I’ve just been seeing him make plays.”

It seems pretty clear right now that Coleman is the back you want to own out of San Francisco, but just because he’s the best guy there doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to be a fantasy stud. Coleman ranks as The Wolf’s RB33, with McKinnon close behind at RB39 and Breida landing at RB41. Ideally, Coleman would fit in perfectly under his old coach in the zone blocking scheme and run away with the team’s touch totals.

In a revamped offense getting its franchise QB back from injury, Coleman in a best case scenario could jump up into solid RB2 territory. However, I realistically can’t see him being too reliable with all the different pieces here and the ongoing theme in football of committee backfields. McKinnon’s contract is too fat to phase him out of the offense, and these guys will cannibalize each other into fantasy irrelevance. My best guess is Coleman stays around the RB3/flex range while acting as a bench stash if the injury bug resurfaces in the Bay Area.

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