Tevin Coleman & Matt Breida's Fantasy Values Solidify with Jerick McKinnon's Knee Flare Up - Roto Street Journal
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Tevin Coleman & Matt Breida’s Fantasy Values Solidify with Jerick McKinnon’s Knee Flare Up

After only two practices, Jerick McKinnon is sidelined yet again. Fresh off the PUP, McKinnon is now “dealing with soreness” in his surgically repaired knee, requiring a “platelet rich plasma injection” that will sideline him at least two weeks. Indeed, this is a bummer for a unique athlete who, just last year, seemed primed to explode.

Fantasy-wise, however, McKinnon’s removal could help bring some clarity to what was headed towards a three-headed nightmare.

Recently-acquired Tevin Coleman, who was already in-line for lead duties, now faces even less competition for top-back touches. Meanwhile, Matt Breida has a much better chance to build off his impressive 2018 as the 49ers clear No.2 RB.

Granted, McKinnon is “expected” to be back by Week 1, but clearly his health is far from a given. He will undoubtedly be eased in, all while Coleman and Breida have the chance to distance themselves. This is huge, considering the historic success of the “Shanahan Zone Blocking Scheme.”

The RB fantasy upside is alway palpable in a Kyle Shanahan offense — just last year, the 49ers ranked third in the league with 1,799 team  RB rushing yards, despite rotating through third and fourth stringers at times. No one coaches the “zone-blocking scheme” better, and runners with vision and strong one-cut-and-go acceleration consistently thrive.

Unfortunately, Shanahan’s either produced a Top-10 monster, or he’s ridden a confusing committee to fantasy hell. In 2019, the 49ers seemed destined for the latter, but McKinnon’s injury could open the door for at least one quality season.

Coleman is the easy early favorite. He was already destined for the majority of work, given his previous success under Shanahan in Atlanta. In fact, Coleman’s “lining up like a wide receiver more than he ever did as a Falcon, and has been putting a stranglehold on the  invaluable short-yardage and goalline role:

“The guy finishes in the end zone,” Juszczyk said of Coleman, who scored eight rushing touchdowns in 2016. “That’s the one thing I noticed when we were watching the Atlanta tape: the guy kept finishing in the end zone, and I feel like that’s something that we missed. I think having that is really going to add to our offense.”

Juszczyk is correct: the 49ers ranked dead last in rushing TDs (7) and Red Zone TD percentage (41.18% scoring rate). Coleman’s ability to knife through for the tough yards will go a long way.  With a chance to truly separate here, Coleman shoots up 21 spots to 66 overall.

Meanwhile, Breida gains significant Penny Stock appeal.  Breida was reported “getting used all over the place” even before MicKinnon’s removal, while also “breaking off long runs” regularly. He proved to be a fantastic fit in the zone-blocking scheme last year, leading the league in rushing over the first few weeks before injuries began catching up. In a lighter-used role, Breida could preserve his explosiveness over a full season, while bringing invaluable handcuff upside if Coleman goes down.

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