The San Francisco 49ers fear running back Jerick McKinnon has torn his ACL, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. McKinnon would likely be done for the season if this is indeed the injury, leaving fantasy owners to wonder who will become the Niners starting running back. It looks like Alfred Morris will get the first chance to take the starting job. Here’s how NBC Sports Bay Area broke down the updated 49ers depth chart if McKinnon’s injury is significant.
The 49ers kept three other running backs, along with fullback Kyle Juszczyk on their roster. Veteran Alfred Morris, who was signed two weeks ago, could be the starter when the 49ers open the season. Matt Breida is likely to be the backup, with special-teams ace Raheem Mostert available in emergency situations.
If you are looking to target the 49ers backfield, you would be wise to pick up both Morris and Breida to ensure you have the starting back on your roster. McKinnon sustained the injury during Saturday’s practice.
“We hope that we’re wrong,” Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports. “He just made a cut on air and no one was around him and just went down. It looked awkward. We’re concerned about it, but we don’t have an MRI done, so we don’t know for sure.”
Alfred Morris Is the San Francisco 49ers Running Back to Own in Fantasy Football
Both running backs were going undrafted in most leagues prior to McKinnon’s injury. According to Fantasy Pros, Breida has an ADP (average draft position) of 163.6, while Morris is going later at 241.3. These numbers will go up after the McKinnon injury. McKinnon was rising up draft boards as many anticipated him to get the majority of the workload in San Francisco. While the 49ers coaching staff is trying to put a positive spin on things, McKinnon should now be avoided in fantasy drafts with multiple reports suggesting he will be out for the season.
Rotoworld’s Evan Silva suggested that Morris could end up being a nice fantasy option.
“Im sure they’ll do their due diligence and quite possibly add someone but Alfred Morris was highly effective last season, knows Kyle Shan’s offense, and was #49ers best outside-zone runner even before Mckinnon’s injury,” Silva tweeted.
We are not too far removed from Morris being fantasy relevant in Dallas. Last season, Morris rushed for 547 yards for the Cowboys while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Morris had 91 rushing yards against the Eagles, and 127 yards along with a touchdown against the Niners. While you would be wise not to expect Morris to have the same production as McKinnon, he offers good value if you can draft him in the later rounds. You should also grab Breida just in case he ends up winning the job, but Morris is the first priority.
Breida could end up being the back on passing downs. Breida rushed for 465 yards and two touchdowns last season, while adding 21 receptions for 180 yards along with a touchdown. Breida had a strong end to his rookie season. During Week 16, Breida had 11 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown. The final week of the season, Breida had 12 carries for 72 yards. Here’s a look at the back out of Georgia Southern.