Raheem Mostert suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 6. Unfortunately, this injury is notoriously difficult to overcome, and Mostert will likely require a trip to the injured reserve. Mostert already missed Weeks 3 and 4 with a knee injury, so this is his second significant injury of the 2020 season.
I’m not sure when Mostert will return, but it’s safe to say that he will miss extended time. Given that he’s already had one injury this season, I have significant concerns about whether Mostert will come back for any meaningful portion of the fantasy season. Mostert must miss Weeks 7-9 after going on injured reserve, and I can’t imagine the 49ers will push him back in Week 10 with a Week 11 bye.
For context, Christian McCaffrey has already missed four games with his high-ankle sprain, and he doesn’t appear likely to return in Week 7, either. Therefore, the earliest we will see Mostert is in Week 12. It’s a devastating injury, both for Mostert and for his fantasy owners.
In redraft leagues, it’s easy to handle Mostert. If you have an IR spot, slide him there. Otherwise, you have to drop Mostert. He’s not at the level of someone like McCaffrey that you can hold on your bench for multiple weeks. With bye weeks and COVID in play, you have to drop Mostert if, for some reason, your league has no IR spots.
The rest of the 49ers’ backfield is a total mess. Head coach Kyle Shanahan insists on employing a backfield committee, although it seemed Mostert was the one guy they truly trusted. With Mostert down, any of Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon, JaMycal Hasty, and Jeff Wilson Jr. could see work.
Both Coleman and Wilson Jr. missed Week 6 with their own injuries. Coleman is on injured reserve with a knee injury, and he won’t return for Week 7. I believe that the 49ers would give Coleman a role upon his return, but I’m not sure when that will be. Fantasy owners might want to stash Coleman in an open IR spot, although I wouldn’t pick him up otherwise.
Wilson Jr. played significant time in Week 3 without Mostert, but the 49ers immediately turned away from him in Week 4, giving him only 8% of snaps. Then, once Mostert returned in Week 5, the 49ers split the backup work between Wilson Jr. and McKinnon, although neither made any significant impact. I think it’s clear that the 49ers have no interest in using Wilson Jr. in any real role, and he’s not even a lock to come back for Week 7. Leave him on the waiver wire.
Both McKinnon and Hasty are currently fully healthy, so I will assume that the 49ers will mainly rely on those two running backs in Week 7. McKinnon led the backfield without Mostert, and he took a workhorse role in Week 4, playing 92% of snaps. I believe McKinnon is still useful as a pass-catcher, even if he isn’t great as a runner. The 49ers turned to Hasty, not McKinnon, to run down the clock in Week 6. McKinnon is a must-add, though.
Finally, I think Hasty should also be a waiver add this week. The 49ers handed him nine carries in Week 6 after Mostert went down, helping them close out their win over the Rams. If Wilson Jr. can’t return for Week 7, Hasty will have flex value, even in a terrible matchup versus the Patriots.
In dynasty leagues, I think Mostert’s injury seriously hurts his value. I always saw him as a one-year rental, and now he’s missed time with two injuries. I believe the 49ers want to improve their backfield with a real workhorse, or at least a lead back. Therefore, I don’t think Mostert will be the 49ers’ starter in 2021, and he’s blown any shot he had to secure that job.
Outside of Mostert, I don’t see much of a change to the value of McKinnon, Coleman, or Wilson Jr. We know what those guys bring to the table. McKinnon is 28 years old, and he’s continuously struggled with injuries. He’s a PPR flex play at best, and he doesn’t have any dynasty upside.
Coleman is very similar. He’s never been able to hold a lead job, dating back to his time in Atlanta behind Devonta Freeman. Coleman couldn’t consolidate the 49ers’ backfield in 2019, losing touches to Matt Breida and Mostert. I’m not excited about Coleman in dynasty leagues.
Wilson Jr. is only a practice squad player that gets elevated in times of injury. He’s been on the 49ers’ roster for a few years, but he’s never done much except when they’re decimated. I might roster Wilson Jr. right now if I were desperate for a running back. But, he has zero dynasty value.
However, Hasty is the most intriguing dynasty play from this group. The 49ers signed him as an undrafted free agent this year, and he saw his first significant action in Week 6. Perhaps, Hasty will emerge as an undrafted free agent in San Francisco, like Breida and Mostert before him. I expect that Hasty is on waiver wires in almost all dynasty leagues, and I would spend a fair chunk of FAAB to acquire him, around 50%.
Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.