San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson may not be a household name for most fantasy football players. But that shouldn’t sway you from considering him as a potential option in your starting lineup this week, even if you’re currently in the fantasy playoffs. The rookie out of North Texas received his big opportunity to showcase his talent in Week 13 when starter Matt Breida suffered an ankle injury in pregame warmups.
Wilson didn’t just produce for the 49ers but looked like a player with some legitimate upside. While San Francisco can’t seem to avoid the injury bug, they’ve had to live by the “next man up” mantra. Fortunately, Wilson was prepared to do heavy lifting last weekend and will be asked to do so once again in Week 14 against the Denver Broncos.
The former North Texas running back totaled a modest 61 rushing yards on 15 attempts (4.1 yards per carry) against the Seattle Seahawks while pulling in eight passes for 73 yards. He faces a mid-range matchup with the Broncos on Sunday, so we’re going to break down whether Wilson is a start or sit.
Jeff Wilson’s Fantasy Matchup & Outlook
While the 49ers’ matchup with the Broncos isn’t overly-appealing from a fantasy standpoint for running backs, it’s also not terrible. On the year, Denver has allowed 1,318 rushing yards on 271 carries with seven touchdowns to the position. What stands out is the fact that they allow a fair amount of receptions out of the backfield, as runners have totaled 60 catches for 535 yards and two additional scores.
All of this bodes incredibly well for Wilson, who showed impressive talent as a pass-catcher last week. His workload also appears to be safe with Breida sidelined, as Football Outsiders shows that he played 71 percent of the offensive snaps last game. The 49ers will likely make Alfred Morris active for this game, but he should work behind Wilson for the most part.
Should You Start or Sit Jeff Wilson?
I really like Wilson’s upside, specifically in point-per-reception leagues. The best part about this spot for the rookie is that even if the Broncos grab an early lead and the 49ers are playing from behind, he’ll remain involved. His eight receptions on nine targets in Week 13 show that Wilson already has a solid rapport built with quarterback Nick Mullens as well, only adding to his value.
Assuming you’re in need of a running back (possibly to replace James Conner) or flex play as a fantasy starter, Wilson makes a lot of sense. He should provide a high floor due to his pass-catching ability and there’s little risk of him losing a lot of work in this game. After all, the 49ers are 2-10 on the year and really have nothing to lose by seeing how good he can be.
I’d start Wilson in 12-team leagues or larger as a RB2 where you need, and he’s a strong flex play across the board also.