The San Francisco 49ers have had one of the best run games in the NFL this season. However, because of the use of multiple running backs, it has been difficult to properly capitalize on this in fantasy football.
The San Francisco 49ers have had a phenomenal rushing offense this season, and are currently second in the NFL for rushing yards per game.
The 49ers running backs have also been highly effective in fantasy football as well.
However, due to the fact head coach Kyle Shanahan seems to prefer to use a running back by committee, rather than one workhorse back, it has been difficult to fully take advantage of the Niners’ run game for fantasy, as it is hard to know who will perform the best in a particular week.
For example, before Week 2, I wrote a piece about how Matt Breida was a must start for fantasy football owners in the upcoming game. While Breida wound up performing well, with 13.2 fantasy points, he was outscored that week by both Raheem Mostert with 21.1 fantasy points, and Jeff Wilson, who had just been promoted from the 49ers’ practice squad, with 15.4 fantasy points.
So naturally, many including me, started Mostert the next week, expecting him to lead the Niners backs in fantasy points again. But, Mostert had a turnover-filled performance, finishing with 5.9 fantasy points in the 49ers’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wilson actually led the Niners backs that game, with 13.8 fantasy points while scoring two touchdowns for the second week in a row.
All of this leads to the question: What to do with the 49ers running backs for Week 5 in fantasy football? Clearly, they have been performing so well that they can be a huge asset to have for fantasy.
But, it is hard to discern who will be the best performer any given week.
The Niners are playing the Cleveland Browns Week 5, who are ranked 21st in defense against the out of all NFL teams. The Niners RBs should be in for a big week. The trick is simply to figure out who will be the best fantasy play.
Just to make things a little more complicated, Tevin Coleman has a chance to return this week from his Week 1 ankle injury. And the 49ers-Browns game is on Monday Night Football, meaning you will have to be confident with whoever you do play out of their backfield, since you will not be able to substitute them with another player on game day, as most players will have already played.
With all of this uncertainty, Mostert and Wilson should not be played this week. Keep an eye on the injury news, and if it seems like Coleman will be out this week, Wilson could be startable as a high-floor play, as it seems he is the 49ers goal-line back when Coleman is out.
However, once Coleman returns, it is uncertain if Wilson will even stay on the roster, so he could likely be dropped. Mostert should be held on rosters for now, just to see what happens, and could be played as a high-risk, high-upside FLEX if Coleman is out.
However, due to the uncertainty of Coleman’s return, neither of these moves are recommended unless you have no other options. The only back who is truly a safe play is Breida. He is still the 49ers lead back, whether or not Coleman returns.
So, in conclusion, start Breida, sit Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert, and drop Wilson if Coleman returns.
Additionally, make sure to check if Coleman is available on your league’s waiver wire, and snatch him up if he is, regardless of if he plays this week. While it is shrouded in uncertainty, this 49ers’ run game is simply too good to miss out on in fantasy.