Once a former waiver-wire hero in 2021, we now have news on San Francisco’s backup running back Elijah Mitchell and how his recent injury could pave the way for a new, unknown running back. Back in the 2021 season, Raheem Mostert was the 49ers starting running back, but an injury in the first game of the season forced him to miss the entire year.
Mitchell averaged 15 fantasy football points per game during that season in 2021 but also dealt with injuries and was forced to miss five games himself. As he recovers from this new injury, is he worth targeting in fantasy drafts?
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What Happened to Elijah Mitchell?
Mitchell is currently recovering from an adductor strain suffered in practice. Head coach Kyle Shanahan initially told reporters that Mitchell would likely be out for a week, and the team is using that as the timetable for his recovery.
The rook Elijah Mitchell had 100+ total yards for the 4th time this season on Sunday 👀
168 total yards
1 touchdown pic.twitter.com/dQQZawBaTV
— NFL (@NFL) November 30, 2021
On a somewhat ominous note, the team did bring in some veteran running backs for a workout, including Duke Johnson, but the move appears to be simply out of caution, as the team did not sign any additional running backs.
Moreover, mild adductor strains can take 1-2 weeks for recovery, so based on that information, we now know that this specific strain is believed to be a mild one, and hopefully, it should not linger into the season.
What Are the 49ers’ Options if Mitchell Misses Time?
Here’s where it gets interesting: Christian McCaffrey has had injury concerns throughout most of his professional career, so his backup is a pivotal role.
If Mitchell’s adductor strain lingers or causes other issues, we would see two relatively unknown second-year running backs step up in Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price.
With or without Mitchell, McCaffrey will still shoulder the bulk of the rushing attack for San Francisco. Reports out of 49ers camp have given out praise to Ty Davis-Price, and it does appear that he is the No. 3 back behind Mitchell.
Of course, the fantasy community would love to see an increase in McCaffrey’s workload, but again, with his injury history, that may prove to be a poor decision.
But we cannot forget that the team can also use All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel at the running back position. In 2021 he averaged 6.2 yards per carry and scored eight rushing touchdowns.
What Does This Mean for Mitchell’s Fantasy Ranking?
Currently, Mitchell has an ADP at Underdog of 132, placing him near the Round 11-12 range of best ball drafts. If this injury lingers or brings unwanted news, we will see that ADP dip deeper while drafts finish up in August.
Mitchell doesn’t carry a heavy price tag at that ADP, but there are other running backs with fewer injury concerns that are more able to produce in the season further down the draft list.
Another draft position to monitor is the ADP of Davis-Price, who is currently going undrafted based on his ADP. Even if Mitchell’s injury does linger, it’s hard to imagine Davis-Price or Mason having an ADP higher than the 14th round.
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