San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell had 14 touches in Week 3 against the New York Giants, the most he’s had since Week 10 of last season. Is it worth it for fantasy football managers to take a flier on the 49ers No. 2 running back?
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Should Elijah Mitchell Be a Fantasy Waiver Wire Add in Week 4?
Mitchell entered the season as one of the top fantasy handcuffs behind Christian McCaffrey. But if Week 3 proved anything, Mitchell still has somewhat of a role on the Niners’ offense, as Kyle Shanahan and Co. are trying to prevent McCaffrey from getting too many touches.
Mitchell carried the football 11 times in Thursday’s blowout win over the Giants, many of those coming with San Francisco in control of the game.
He finished with 42 yards on the ground and also added three receptions. Fantasy-wise, Mitchell finished with 7.4 PPR points, a more-than-decent output for a backup running back.
The fact is that Mitchell’s fantasy ceiling will be capped as long as McCaffrey is healthy. McCaffrey is the best running back in the NFL, both in real life and fantasy, and he needs to touch the football as much as his body allows him to.
McCaffrey has dealt with injury issues in the past, which is why San Francisco is so determined to prevent overworking its star running back early on in the season.
Mitchell would be an instant fantasy play if McCaffrey were to miss time. In that scenario, all fantasy owners should start him with confidence.
Mitchell’s rookie season in 2021 was the last time he had true RB1 duties, and he turned in five 100-yard games, tied for the second-most in the NFL, despite only playing in 11 contests.
Health has been the biggest roadblock for Mitchell thus far in his career. The third-year back has proven in the past that he’s capable of handling the RB1 workload, yet he’s been unable to remain healthy for an entire season.
One of the main reasons the Niners ultimately traded for McCaffrey was that Mitchell couldn’t stay on the field.
For fantasy players who own McCaffrey, stashing Mitchell on your bench is an absolute must. He’s arguably the best handcuff in fantasy football and an immediate starter if McCaffrey were to miss any time.
For fantasy players who don’t hold any CMC shares, picking up Mitchell won’t provide you with any immediate help. Sure, he could end up being an excellent pickup if McCaffrey were to miss time, but that’s far from a guarantee.
Unless you have room on your bench or are playing in a super deep league, Mitchell hasn’t provided enough standalone value to be rostered at this point.
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