Fantasy football: Drafting 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell is a smart move

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell (25) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell (25) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Should you draft San Francisco 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell to your fantasy football team?

The 2022 NFL Season is upon us. With the new season beginning, so does the start of the fantasy football season, the stressful yet fun and potentially rewarding time of year for some NFL fans.

The opportunity to play general manager/head coach and talk trash to your friends begins with the fantasy football draft.

Each fantasy football expert has different takes on who should be drafted and avoided. One San Francisco 49ers player who will be a no-brainer for fantasy football drafts is Deebo Samuel, the dual-threat wide receiver coming off a breakout season.

The Yahoo Sports Fantasy Staff had Samuel ranked at number 29 in fantasy rankings. In fantasy leagues that have 12 to 14 participants, he would be a third-round pick.

Tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk are also in the mix of 49ers who could be valuable fantasy football assets. However, there is another 49er who could be a great asset but is not being mentioned as much as his teammates.

49ers RB Elijah Mitchell could be good fantasy football draft pick

That player is second-year running back Elijah Mitchell. The former sixth-round pick is coming off a great rookie season in which he became the lead back for the 49ers.

Though Mitchell was hampered by injuries in 2021, he still set a franchise-best rushing record even though he only appeared in 11 games.

Although a hamstring injury slowed Mitchell down and caused him to miss some time in the preseason, he should be ready to go in Week 1 and be the lead back in the 49ers’ offense.

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why drafting Mitchell is a smart move for your fantasy football team.


One thing you can praise Mitchell for is his efficiency. Although he only appeared in 11 games due to injury, he finished the 2021 season with 963 yards rushing. That gave him the eighth-best rushing yards total for the season.

Every other player above him on that list appeared in at least 13 games to get to their rushing totals.

Mitchell also averaged 87.5 rushing yards per game. That put him at fifth-best in the league in that category.

Another astounding stat of Mitchell’s rookie season is that he fumbled the ball absolutely zero times. In fantasy football terms, that means team managers can play Mitchell without the worry of tallying negative fantasy points.

Based on his numbers from last season, fantasy football GMs can expect around13 to 14 fantasy points per game from Mitchell in standard-scoring PPR leagues.


One reason why some experts might be advising folks to stay away from Mitchell in fantasy football is due to the running back by committee strategy that head coach Kyle Shanahan typically employs.

There has been a different leading rusher for the 49ers in each of Shanahan’s five seasons coaching the team.

However, Mitchell’s 207 rushing attempts in 2021 was more than any running back in Shanahan’s head coaching tenure since Carlos Hyde in 2017 at 240.

For context though, Hyde appeared in all 16 regular games that season as opposed to Mitchell’s 11 in 2021.

If extrapolated over a 17-game season Mitchell would’ve had just north of 300 carries and roughly 1,487 rushing yards.

If Mitchell can stay healthy in 2022 expect him to be more in the 1,100 to 1,200 rushing yards range. So expect a big fantasy finish for him in 2022.


Mitchell was one of only two rookies in the top 10 in rushing yards in 2021. Considering that, he is still getting better and will only improve season-over-season. Fans haven’t even seen him play a full season as yet.

In fantasy leagues that involve keepers, Mitchell will be a valuable asset for years to come for any fantasy GM, as we likely haven’t seen his best regular-season performance just yet.

Next. 49ers players who could stand out in contract year in 2022. dark

So if you see Mitchell available in your fantasy football draft in the fourth or fifth round, take a chance on him. Just make sure your other running backs don’t have a bye in Week 9.