No. 9: 49ers Running Back Trey Sermon
Rookie running back Trey Sermon is in a similar situation as Brandon Aiyuk, albeit the context is notably different.
Fellow rookie Elijah Mitchell has generally outperformed Sermon despite the former being a sixth-round draft pick, whereas San Francisco invested a Round 3 pick on Sermon last spring. But Mitchell hasn’t been entirely healthy this season, thereby giving Sermon some limited chances to make the most of the situation.
In Week 4 against the Seattle Seahawks, this was on full display, as Sermon rushed for 89 yards on 19 carries, averaging 4.7 yards per attempt, which is the kind of production one would expect from a day-two draft pick at the position.
Yet that was Sermon’s lone breakout game, though, as he’s only tallied 10-plus touches in one other game, was a full inactive in Week 1 and had only a single touch in Weeks 2 and 5 despite being fully healthy for those bouts.
Exactly why is unclear, especially considering Kyle Shanahan has long since used a dual-threat system at running back the previous four years.
But the lack of other options still prompts us to list Sermon as a top-10 offensive performer this season thus far.