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The San Francisco 49ers Running Back Room

This past Wednesday, running back Raheem Mostert sent shockwaves through the NFL by requesting a trade. Well, shockwaves isn’t totally accurate but work with me. It’s July and there’s not much happening in the NFL. What is important is Mostert was the back most thought was the one to own from the 49ers. That’s especially important when the 49ers were the second-best rushing team in the league last year with 144 yards per contest. The San Francisco 49ers running back room could look quite different by the start of the year.

For our purposes, let’s pretend Mostert gets dealt or is at least in coach Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse. After all, Shanahan has proved he can make it work with many different backs. I’m not sure Mostert really sees this demand work out for him. This is mostly relevant for dynasty leagues, but the question is – what now? Who do we think the 49ers turn to if Mostert isn’t in the picture? There’s actually some pretty intriguing options for San Francisco and it could be rewarding to stash some players right now.

The Chalk

Tevin Coleman – This is the most obvious name that’s going to see traction right away. According to the NFFC ADP, Mostert is hovering around 48th overall while Coleman is at 111th overall. That gap is likely going to close in a big way if you happen to draft soon. If we include the playoffs, Mostert accounted for over 1,000 yards, 12 touchdowns and 207 touches. It’s naive and foolish to think Coleman would walk into all that work. Could he take 50 percent of it? Even just 500 yards and 5 touchdowns would be a significant bump to Coleman, who was at 194 touches himself.

Looking through the dynasty lens, this is a perfect time to sell high. It’s important to remember that Mostert hasn’t actually been traded yet. While the 49ers running game is super fantasy friendly, Shanahan spreads the wealth among his backs. Just last year saw three backs have at least 120 rushing attempts and 14 receptions. There’s no real reason to think that changes this year, even with the departure of Matt Breida to Miami.

A target that I may try to acquire is Kareem Hunt. Not only is he going to be a flex option in the new-look Cleveland Browns offense, he’s a league winner if Nick Chubb were to get hurt. Additionally, he’s a 26 year old free agent at the end of this season. The worst the other owner can do is say no.

The Rookies

Slavon Ahmed and JaMycal Hasty

Both of these players went undrafted but that doesn’t always mean there’s no path to relevance even in a rookie season. Now, I’m quickly coming around to being underweight on rookie players in redraft leagues this upcoming season. To partially quote the movie Moneyball – “It’s incredibly difficult,” to go from college to the NFL. This year is going to have added layers of complication from the effects of COVID-19.

Reading up on draft profiles points you to Ahmed having some knocks on him for his vision. Interestingly enough, the 49ers clocked in as the fifth-best run blocking offensive line according to PFF.com. Ahmed was also rumors to be drafted in the mid-rounds so it’s a bit of a surprise he went undrafted. Perhaps his 4.6 40 time was a knock but the 49ers quickly snapped him up. He’s certainly worth a taxi squad spot in deeper leagues to see how this plays out.

Likewise, I personally have Hasty stashed on multiple rosters. One aspect that really helps him make an impression is he played special teams while at Baylor. That’s a massive help to get an undrafted player on an NFL roster. Hasty never had a large role as far as a workhorse (check to Ahmed, who carried the ball 188 times last season). Hasty did average over 5.2 yards per carry the past two years and caught at least 25 passes in the past three seasons. Either one of these players could emerge as a serious player in the San Francisco 49ers running back room.

The Deep Sleeper

If Jerick McKinnon comes back from the NFL/fantasy graveyard and is relevant this season, does an analyst get credit for loving him two years ago? I’m just asking for a friend. In seriousness, McKinnon is a forgotten name at this point. He hasn’t touched the football in an NFL game since the 2017 season. Tearing his ACL in 2018 cost him that season and 2019 was lost to a lengthy recovery.

The 49ers kept him by signing him to a new contract that only carries a cap hit of $2.9 million. It’s hard to know if he has anything left at this point, but in 2017 there was plenty of buzz for McKinnon. He totaled 94 receptions in the previous two seasons in a part time role with Minnesota. I can’t say that I’m stashing him at this point, but it would be smart to have ears to the ground on this one.

I would also be pretty surprised if the San Francisco 49ers running back room brought in any free agents at this point. Some logic would say that Devonta Freeman would be a fit, given the history with Shanahan in Atlanta for the Falcons. Considering Freeman wanted a decent-sized contract at last report, that seems like a pass from the 49ers.

Thank you for reading as always. Feel free to tweet me @bucn4life with any and all questions, check out the NFL page on WinDailySports.com and let’s chat in the WinDaily Discord as well!

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