The San Francisco 49ers have been unable to dodge the injury bug through the start of the 2018 NFL season. While there’s been no bigger loss than quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, they are also without free-agent signing Jerick McKinnon and backup running back Matt Breida has battled injuries virtually every week. Entering Week 8, the 49ers are once again attempting to figure out the status of Breida, and it has a big impact on both the team and fantasy football players.
While Breida is unquestionably the best running back on the 49ers roster currently, it’s a common occurrence to see him limping off during games as of late. It’s been tough for the talented young back but has also opened the door for Raheem Mostert to receive some additional touches on offense.
Heading into the team’s matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, Breida is listed as questionable. He participated in limited fashion during Friday’s practice but sat out the two days prior. With Mostert waiting in the wings, let’s take a look at whether he may be worth a start in fantasy leagues.
Key Stats and Raheem Mostert’s Fantasy Outlook
I’ll break down the matchup along with a few numbers relating to Mostert and the 49ers this week. All information on fantasy points and statistics for defense vs. position are from ESPN.
- Arizona Cardinals vs. running backs in 2018: 210 attempts, 959 rushing yards, 35 receptions, 347 receiving yards, 12 total touchdowns (No. 1 most fantasy points per game)
- Breida left early in Week 7 due to injury, and Mostert out-snapped Alfred Morris 22-20, per Football Outsiders
- As Football Outsiders shows, Mostert received 23 offensive snaps to Breida’s 27 the week prior, with Morris receiving one.
- Mostert has 23 touches over the past two games for 165 yards
Along with the exceptional matchup, it’s interesting to see that two weeks ago, Mostert received 12 carries to Breida’s 14 against the Green Bay Packers. It’s tough to gauge whether this means Kyle Shanahan is going to continue to give Mostert extended work even if Breida plays, but it would make sense.
Should You Start or Sit Raheem Mostert?
I would much prefer to hear the news that Breida had been ruled out for the game before making this call. There is a world where Mostert is in play both if his backfield mate plays and if he sits out. The two situations impact things pretty drastically, though, so let’s look at how to approach Mostert’s fantasy appeal in both spots.
If Breida is out, then Mostert becomes a play in 12-team leagues and above. I think if you really need depth in a flex spot for 10-teamers, he’s worth considering there as well. But if Breida plays, then Mostert is likely best suited for 14-team leagues and larger, depending on the state of your roster. It’s an elite spot against the worst defense against opposing backs, and I want to take advantage of that.