The names of Jordan Mason, Tevin Coleman, and potentially Tyrion Davis-Price are all intriguing options on the waiver wire in Week 13. With Elijah Mitchell heading to the IR and Christian McCaffrey dealing with an injury, there is scope here for one of the San Francisco 49ers‘ backs to potentially produce big results for fantasy football managers in the coming weeks.
Let’s look at the waiver wire credentials of Mason, Coleman, and Davis-Price this week and whether any of them should be a priority option.
Jodan Mason, Tevin Coleman, or Tyrion Davis-Price: Who Should You Add From the Waiver Wire?
There is a lot of consideration in this 49ers backfield when it comes to the likes of Mason, Coleman, and Davis-Price this week. Coming into Week 12, Mitchell had touched the ball 28 times across the previous two games. Arguably the only reason it was not more was that the game against the Arizona Cardinals was such a blowout that the 49ers gave the ball to Mason for the final two drives as they ran the time off the clock.
Prior to his injury in Week 12, Mitchell had seven rushing attempts and two receptions. He also had a touchdown run taken off the board due to a holding penalty. Additionally, over the past few weeks, he has been mixing in with McCaffrey inside the red zone, even if McCaffrey has still led the opportunities inside the 5-yard line.
This is where things get a little cloudy in this backfield going forward. McCaffrey is being managed day-to-day with a knee injury, but there is no indication right now he will miss any game time. Therefore, right now, we are projecting whoever takes over Mitchell’s role to average around 10-to-12 carries and 1-to-3 targets per game on average.
While that role certainly has fantasy value, it comes with a capped ceiling and limited scope as a 12-team starting option for the time being. In those size leagues, you would be adding someone in the hope they could be the primary handcuff to McCaffrey and take 2-plus touches down the stretch in the event of the lead back missing time.
The question then becomes who the 49ers may turn to. As of Tuesday, Mason and Davis-Price are on the 53-man roster, with Coleman on the practice squad. With Mitchell set to go on the IR, Coleman could be added to the active roster as the corresponding move, but we will need to see whether that is the case. Additionally, he could be a game-day practice squad elevation for Week 13.
In Week 2, after Mitchell had first got hurt, it was Davis-Price who got the first shot at the RB2 role — behind Jeff Wilson. Then when Davis-Price got hurt, Mason was somewhat the defacto RB2 in Week 3 but saw limited usage. Then Coleman arrived and took o that RB2 role in Weeks 5 and 6, which brought us to the arrival of McCaffrey.
The 49ers clearly like Mason in a special team role. He has been active for all 10 games, playing on 50% or more of the special team snaps in the last eight. However, he has just 10 rushing attempts all season, and eight of them came as the 49ers salted away victories, limiting the hits on McCaffrey. His touches were seemingly more a convenience situation than a real plan to get him more involved in the offense.
Meanwhile, when the team needed a reliable number two for Wilson in the middle of the season, it was Coleman they turned to. He and Kyle Shanahan have a history together back in Atlanta, and he provides that stable, reliable veteran option for them. He did not look great in his two games seeing work, with 26 rushing yards on 12 attempts, but he did find the end zone, as well as adding 44 yards and a touchdown on three receptions.
Davis-Price has been inactive since Week 8, when McCaffrey really took on a bigger role in the offense. He has just 37 rushing yards on 16 attempts. He may still be in front of Mason in terms of who would be the RB2, but the 49ers clearly feel Mason is the better special team option. Therefore, Davis-Price has been a healthy scratch in the last three games.
How Should Fantasy Managers Prioritize Mason, Coleman, and Davis Price on the Waiver Wire?
This is a really messy situation, and it becomes a little bit of a pick your poison. Mason’s touches in recent weeks have seemingly been more of a convenience situation than a real plan. Meanwhile, Davis-Price got the first shot at being a backup RB option after Mitchell was first hurt. Then again, the 49ers went out and brought Coleman into the team earlier in the season to be that veteran RB2 option.
My personal instinct is that we see Coleman step into a bigger role once again. His veteran presence and knowledge make him a safer option in terms of pass blocking and ball security. Mason and Davis-Price are arguably more dynamic options for the offense, but they come with more risk.
If McCaffrey is really hurt, then one of them could be in line for a bigger role; that sure-handed, spelling McCaffrey RB2 role better suits Coleman at this stage of their respective careers.
However, the ceiling for any of these three is extremely capped. They are really looking at 10-to-15 touches per game as a ceiling and would likely need to score to provide 12-team fantasy value. In 14-team leagues and deeper, they could be Flex options, but with uncertainty over the roles they will play, it will be hard to trust any of them.
While the RB waiver wire situation is full of question marks this week, this group sits toward the bottom. The likes of Gus Edwards, Kyren Williams, and Zonovan Knight all have clearer paths to consistent fantasy-relevant output than this 49ers backfield.
Of course, if we hear that McCaffrey’s injury is more serious than we first thought, that changes things. However, even then, knowing who will lead this backfield into the fantasy playoffs will be hard to predict until we see it play out.
If you are drafting in Underdog Fantasy Best Ball leagues for this week or for the rest of the season, this backfield is one you could throw some late draft picks at. There is a path to fantasy relevance for one of these down the stretch, but it is tough to project who.
However, that uncertainty can play into your hands if it means you could snap one or two of them up in the last couple of rounds of drafts.
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