Elijah Mitchell popped up on the injury report today, with head coach Kyle Shanahan indicating that Mitchell has a broken finger and had a procedure done today. What are the fantasy football implications for San Francisco’s backfield heading into Week 11? We’ll try to clear it up.
Elijah Mitchell’s injury timeline
According to orthopedic physical therapist Matthew Betz, because Mitchell had a pin placed today to stabilize his fracture, he will likely be at less than 100% by Sunday. Mitchell does have a chance to play with a splint, but his performance and ball security will likely come down to pain tolerance and swelling.
Counting on Mitchell this week will be a risky proposition because none of this is confirmed yet. Shanahan even said that he hopes Mitchell will be able to practice on Wednesday, but we simply don’t know if he’ll be able to. Even if Mitchell can play this week, it seems reasonable to predict that he might not see a full workload.
Jeff Wilson Jr. and Trey Sermon should see more work
Whether Mitchell is in the fold or not for Week 11, Jeff Wilson Jr. should see more work. Week 10’s matchup with the Rams clearly showed that he’s the No. 2 running back on the 49ers’ roster, especially when they deploy such a run-dominant game plan.
Mitchell had a robust 27 carries, while Wilson had 10 in his first game back after being activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. However, Trey Sermon did not receive a carry.
Wilson looked every bit the part of a solid running back in relief of the injured Raheem Mostert in 2020. From Week 11 on last year, Wilson averaged 14.7 rushing attempts and 72.8 rushing yards over six games.
He also scored 5 total touchdowns in that timeframe. Wilson averaged 4.76 yards per carry in 2020, demonstrating the ability to break big plays.
San Francisco 49ers backfield fantasy outlook
If Mitchell is limited or will miss time, Wilson will be the chief benefactor. Sermon will likely operate in a relief role that won’t be reliable enough for fantasy purposes.
San Francisco’s ground game is paramount to their scheme and strategy. Mitchell has seen at least 18 carries in five of his seven games played this year. If he misses time, Shanahan will be intent on filling his role, likely with a heavy dose of the running back that he relied on last season.
Wilson is absolutely worth a waiver claim if he is currently still available in your league, and he could be in line for a huge day against Jacksonville in Week 11.