Few teams create waves in the fantasy community when they introduce a new running back like the San Francisco 49ers do. Both 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, churned out productive rushers throughout their careers. Kyle has been especially willing to play unheralded, undrafted talent over backs with more draft capital invested into them.
His latest undrafted gem is Jordan Mason. The rookie from Georgia Tech is coming off a career-best performance in Week 13. Let’s dive into whether you should add Mason off the waiver wire and start him in fantasy football against the Buccaneers in Week 14.
Should You Add Jordan Mason From the Waiver Wire?
Even as Christian McCaffrey dominated the Miami Dolphins last week, the 49ers still found 13 carries for other players. Eight of those went to Mason and four to Deebo Samuel. Mason not only set a career high with touches but also reached 51 yards.
As the 49ers continue to move forward with Brock Purdy as their starting quarterback after Jimmy Garoppolo broke his ankle, they’ll have to rely on their backfield to be effective. McCaffrey is a tremendous talent but also unable to take a large brunt of hits. Mason has to play in order to keep him fresh.
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It’s dicey to add Mason as a starter to your fantasy roster since he’s a backup with a limited résumé. He has 18 carries as a rookie for 97 yards, but 17 of those have come over the last three weeks. While it’s clear he has a role with the 49ers’ offense, Mason hasn’t played more than 18% of the offensive snaps in any one game.
Nevertheless, Mason could present a unique opportunity to be a high-end back if McCaffrey gets dinged up. If you have an open roster space, it would be logical to roster Mason in the event McCaffrey becomes less of a focus for the offense or misses any time. Short of those outcomes, though, I’d be stretching to sell you on Mason for Week 14.
The Buccaneers are the third-best defense against running backs, proving to be especially stingy against pass-catching threats. They allow 95.4 rushing yards but only 17.6 receiving yards and 0.53 total touchdowns per game. San Francisco will likely need to rely on McCaffrey once again as they face a high-end defense.
It would make more sense to roster Mason for Week 15 against the woeful Seattle Seahawks defense. But with Washington’s elite defense in Week 16, it’s possible Mason sits more than he could start for you. I don’t see a big upside in adding him right now.
The Buccaneers have had some issues against rushing offenses despite their overall effectiveness on the year. Cleveland, Baltimore, Carolina, Atlanta, and Kansas City destroyed their run fits, but each possesses an elite run-blocking offensive line. Only the Chiefs’ success was truly surprising, but the Buccaneers dared them to win on the ground.
I’d expect the 49ers to rely slightly more on the ground game with Purdy in than if Garoppolo were in but not significantly more. This won’t suddenly become an imbalanced offense. Shanahan just needs Purdy to fill his role and the offense will produce, just as they did against Miami.
Unless you’re completely lacking an RB to play in the last week of byes this season, then fade Mason and opt for someone like Zonovan Knight of the Jets instead. Mason simply doesn’t have the upside needed to use a roster spot.