Elijah Mitchell Fantasy Outlook Week 7: Which Mitchell will we get?

Elijah Mitchell should be in your fantasy lineup this week, but with the way his season's gone, what should you expect in Week 7?

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell was not selected in most fantasy football drafts back in August. He was a late-round NFL pick that had a hard road to fantasy relevance. However, entering Week 1, the seas parted, and his path became clear.

Elijah Mitchell’s up and down rookie season

Mitchell wasn’t selected in most fantasy drafts, but by Week 1, he was a household name in fantasy circles. He’s only added to his reputation since, but not entirely for good reasons.

Early season debut

This season, the 49ers were expected to lean on veteran speedster RB Raheem Mostert and first-round rookie pick RB Trey Sermon. As it turns out, that has been far from the case. Sermon was a late scratch heading into Week 1, while Mostert suffered a season-ending injury after only 2 carries. Therefore, Mitchell was thrust into the starting role far earlier than many expected.

San Francisco’s run game has been a fantasy football goldmine for the last few years. Head coach Kyle Shanahan loves to run the ball, and fantasy managers love racking up those fantasy points. With Sermon benched and Mostert hurt, Mitchell ran 19 times for 104 yards and a touchdown in his debut. Posting 16.4 PPR points, fantasy managers took notice. Despite being a late-round pick, Mitchell proved he could handle the job.

As a result, heading into Week 2, Mitchell was a surefire fantasy football start, even with Sermon returning to the lineup. He saw the bulk of the carries, rushing 17 times for 42 yards. He also caught both of his targets for 11 yards, finishing with a meager 7.3 PPR points. Not exactly what fantasy managers wanted, but for a rookie, it’d do.

49ers miss that spark

Heading into Week 3, Mitchell popped up on the injury report with a shoulder injury. Eyes turned to San Francisco’s depth chart again, and Sermon really was the only option left. He saw 10 carries for 31 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Packers.

Clearly, something was missing. Mitchell provided a different speed on the offense that Sermon just didn’t have. The 49ers needed Mitchell back, and it showed after just one game.

Mitchell’s shoulder injury wasn’t healed enough in Week 4 when the 49ers faced the Seahawks. The team once again leaned on Sermon as their leading rusher. But they also saw an influx of speed from rookie quarterback Trey Lance, who saw meaningful action. The 49ers again lost in a close game, with Sermon finishing with 19 carries for 89 yards on the ground. Not bad, but again, not enough.

Elijah Mitchell returns to the lineup

Mitchell was healthy enough to play in Week 5 against the Cardinals. He finished with only 9 carries for 43 yards and 2 catches for 19 yards. His 8.2 PPR points were somewhat underwhelming, but at least he was back on the field.

The Cardinals won the low-scoring bruiser of a matchup. Lance ended up being San Francisco’s leading rusher with 89 yards in his first career start, but the team just wasn’t gelling the way it needed to. Mitchell did okay, but he wasn’t blowing up for fantasy managers.

The 49ers’ Week 6 bye couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only would it let the team get healthy, but it also allowed them to gameplan a little more and figure things out. Although Shanahan likes to spread the ball around, I expect San Francisco to acknowledge Mitchell’s talent and further build around him going forward.

Mitchell’s Week 7 outlook

With Lance injured, QB Jimmy Garoppolo expects to start for the 49ers in Week 7 against the Colts on Sunday Night Football. Meanwhile, Mitchell was a full go in practice all week and should see the lion’s share of the backfield opportunities.

With Garoppolo back under center, San Francisco’s offense will likely be a little more predictable. This should be good for both Mitchell and Sermon out of the backfield. Nevertheless, I fully expect Mitchell to be the RB1 with Sermon the change-of-pace option.

On the season, Mitchell has the fourth-highest Offensive Value Metric (OVM) score among running backs at 14.28. This metric uses Next Gen Stats to show how much of an impact a player has on his own production. This means that when Mitchell has been given the ball, he’s been responsible for a lot of the yards gained on the field.

Mitchell has the talent — and the opportunity — to do well against the Colts, even though Indianapolis boasts the NFL’s second-best run defense.

Mitchell is a solid RB2 option in most formats. He has a dependable floor with a very high ceiling. Because he plays on Sunday Night Football, make sure to put him in your flex spot in case there’s a late change to his status. Even if Sermon does steal some touches, Mitchell should be able to put up double-digit PPR points after having a week off.

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