The San Francisco 49ers brought in running back Tevin Coleman for what seemed to be a predominant role in their backfield this season.
Unfortunately for both parties, the marriage hardly got off the ground before it came to a screeching halt. Coleman made it eight touches into his first game as a ‘9er before injuring his ankle. The running back has not suited up since, missing the past three games.
However, that seems destined to change on Monday Night. All signs out of San Francisco seem to point towards Coleman returning to the team’s lineup vs. the Cleveland Browns. Can you trust him in your fantasy lineups this week, or has he fallen too far behind the eight ball in a backfield with numerous talented options? Let’s discuss.
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Tevin Coleman Fantasy Outlook vs. Cleveland Browns
Head coach Kyle Shanahan came out on Saturday evening and gave a much-welcomed soundbite to Tevin Coleman fantasy owners across the globe.
If Coleman is indeed a go on Monday, he becomes an extremely enticing play.
Tevin Coleman does two things extremely well. He catches the ball and he finds the endzone. Coleman has averaged 30 receptions while scoring 28 touchdowns over the past three seasons. His 17 touchdowns since 2017 are tied for the 10th most by a running back over that period. All of which was done in a complementary role.
That last part is extremely important. Just because Coleman will be lining up in the 49ers backfield in Week 5, doesn’t mean he’ll be the lone occupant. The 49ers have a plethora of options at running back. Matt Breida has averaged 5.5 yards per carry on the season. Not to be outdone, fellow running mate Raheem Mostert averages 5.9 ypc. Lastly, former practice squad player Jeff Wilson Jr. has scored multiple touchdowns in each of the team’s past two games.
The thing that has made all three of these runners viable fantasy options at points this season is what also makes Coleman’s possible fantasy value sky-high. Kyle Shannahan’s offense may be the most run-friendly scheme in all of football. While the three names listed above are no scrubs by any means, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that would claim that they are more talented than Coleman.
The other notable thing about the other three running backs in the San Francisco backfield is their lack of involvement in the passing game. Breida, Mostert, and Wilson Jr. have combined for a grand total of six receptions over the team’s first three games this season. Even if Coleman is eased into rushing duties, he immediately becomes the most reliable and lethal receiving threat out of the backfield. This is something that could be extremely important against the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. At a glance, Cleveland has been very solid at containing running backs in the passing game. However, if you dig deeper, you realize that the likes of Derrick Henry and Gus Edwards are not viable opponents to gauge such a viewpoint on. In Cleveland’s lone matchup vs a pass-catching back this season, the New York Jets, they surrendered a grand total of 13 receptions for 76 receiving yards.
Should You Start or Sit Tevin Coleman in Week 5?
It’s certainly a risky play, and unless more news comes out prior to the Sunday’s game kicking off, I’d likely sit Coleman.
However, if you have Breida or Mostert as a handcuff to Coleman in case he’s a late scratch, I say roll the dice on Coleman in Week 5. He’s too talented and is too familiar with Shanahan’s system to not be involved. Coleman is a fringe RB2, high end RB3 if he’s ready to go on Monday night.