Week 2 in the NFL saw nearly every team suffer an injury to an impact player. No team was impacted more than the San Francisco 49ers, and it is not even close. Reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas are out for the rest of the year. Jimmy Garoppolo, along with both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, will miss several weeks. One player who will now be asked to step up and carry the load is running back Jeff Wilson. Given his increased role, is Wilson someone who fantasy football managers can trust as an option for Week 3?
Jeff Wilson joins Jerick McKinnon as the lead running backs for the 49ers
It is well documented that Kyle Shanahan has built an offense that utilizes multiple players to move the ball rather than relying on a bellcow rusher. While this does limit upside, it allows for various players to see ample opportunities in each game.
Wilson and McKinnon both bring different skill sets into their Week 3 matchup against the New York Giants. McKinnon has explosive speed and is arguably the best pass-catching back on the team, even when they are at full strength.
On the season, McKinnon has six carries for 101 yards and a touchdown to go along with three receptions on six targets for 20 yards and a touchdown. Wilson, however, has seen hardly any work this year as the fourth option in the backfield. Only on the field for five offensive snaps in 2020 has led to a paltry two carries for three yards.
In Week 3, Wilson should see at least 50% of the offensive snaps. I expect the 49ers to rely on the rushing attack as they hope to get through these next few weeks with Nick Mullens as the starting quarterback. While this is hard to trust for fantasy, there is hope for Wilson due to his touchdown upside as the early-down back.
Wilson has gone under the radar on fantasy waiver wire additions
All eyes have been on McKinnon due to his explosiveness, and he was one of the hottest fantasy waiver-wire additions, but Wilson deserves consideration.
In his career, Wilson has carried the ball 95 times for 374 yards and four touchdowns. Though his 3.9 rushing average is not ideal, he was rarely given a chance to get any rhythm. Wilson has had just four games in his career with over ten carries. In those games, Wilson had 59 carries for 212 yards and two touchdowns.
Wilson, 6-foot and 213-pounds, has the frame to be the lead down back for the 49ers this week against an exploitable Giants defense that has allowed 138 rushing yards per game.
Though he does lack PPR upside, it is hard to find a player on waivers who could see as many attempts as Wilson on a team who wants to establish their offense on the ground. Wilson is going to have one of the best opportunities of his career in Week 3. Should you trust him in your fantasy lineup?
Should you consider him in your flex position?
I have a hard time pushing Wilson up my rankings to a point where he is a must-start. His value is going to come from volume in a game that San Francisco has to win. While a small sample size, once the 49ers had the lead in the fourth quarter against the Jets, Wilson saw every carry on first and second down. On third down, he split touches with McKinnon because he has the dual-threat skill set.
If you are in a deeper league, take a flier on Wilson in fantasy this week. He should see at least 15 touches and rush for 50 or more yards and could fall into the endzone.
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