San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman left Sunday’s season opener early with an apparent leg injury. On Monday, the NFL’s Ian Rapoport reported the back would likely miss some time with an ankle sprain.
The injury didn’t seem to hinder the 49ers running game as back Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert handled the workload with the latter taking advantage of an extended opportunity.
With Coleman out, the dynamic of the 49ers offense does change a little. Coleman is one of the more involved receiving backs in the NFL, having done so with the Atlanta Falcons prior to arriving in San Francisco. Now, Jimmy Garoppolo will have to find other ways to generate offense on short passes without his top check-down.
Coleman is coming off a career year in Atlanta, rushing for 800 yards while hauling in 32 catches for 276 yards and five touchdowns. Prior to his injury, he had a pair of catches for 33 yards along with six carries for 23 yards. He was ruled out quickly after coming to the sidelines with an injury, signaling a more serious injury than anticipated.
Potential Fantasy Replacement
There’s a ton of available running backs within the NFC West to explore in lieu of Tevin Coleman.
For starters, the 49ers will get increased production out of Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert over the next couple of weeks. Mostert led the 49ers in rushing on Sunday with 40 yards on just nine carries.
Among other backs in the division, Malcom Brown had a strong game finishing with 53 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns and will likely be a hot commodity on the waiver wire.
Carlos Hyde from the Texans could be an available option, owned in just 22 percent of leagues. But his participation and involvement are yet to be seen as the Texans play Monday night.
Chris Thompson on the Redskins had a solid first game with Adrian Peterson a healthy inactive. Thompson only had 10 rushing yards but reeled in seven catches for 68 yards in the passing game.
Finally, Rex Burkhead on the Patriots may be an option worth looking into after a dazzling opening night. Burkhead was shifty in the running game with eight carries for 44 yards. He also had five catches for 41 yards. Given his involvement in the Patriots offense last year it wouldn’t be a bad investment.
Impact on the 49ers
Coleman’s absence won’t be all bad for the 49ers in the fantasy game. It will elevate the point values for guys like Mostert and Breida who have shown to be capable to carry the load. Without Jerick McKinnon, the injury is ill-timed but could allow the two backs to show their value and vie for increased playing time.
As for someone like Jimmy Garoppolo, the injury to Coleman impacts his short passing game. Without a top check-down option, Garoppolo may look to get guys like Mostert or tight end George Kittle even more involved.
Kittle’s fantasy value will benefit a good deal from Coleman’s absence as he’ll end up getting more touches and close-range catches.