With injuries aplenty for the San Francisco 49ers, Jordan Mason suddenly comes into focus on the Week 3 waiver wire for fantasy football managers. The 49ers are now without two of the four running backs they opened the season with on their roster. While it is somewhat odd to discuss a player yet to take a snap on offense in the NFL, Mason could suddenly be thrust into the limelight in San Francisco.
Should fantasy managers add Jordan Mason on the Week 3 waiver wire?
Mason’s elevation to fantasy relevance has come much quicker than anyone could have projected. Elijah Mitchell was placed on the injured reserve after Week 1, and now Tyrion Davis-Price is set to miss around four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain. That leaves the 49ers with Jeff Wilson and Mason on the active roster, as well as Marlon Mack on the practice squad. They also have fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who they can utilize both carrying the ball and in the passing game.
There is certainly intrigue for whoever secures the backup RB role behind Wilson. In Sunday’s Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks, Davis-Price had 14 attempts. That usage was particularly high as the 49ers ran the ball 45 times, which is not something we should expect to see often. However, it appears as though the 49ers do not want Wilson handling the full workload by himself, so there is an opportunity for a second back to have around 10 touches.
Is Mason in line to take those touches going forward?
It is really tough to project what this backfield will look like in Week 3 and beyond. While Mason would appear to be next in line to take the touches, he does not even have an offensive snap in the first two weeks. Will the 49ers be comfortable handing him the ball on a regular basis, or could they look to elevate and ride the veteran option in Mack?
Mason does not have particularly high usage in college for us to look back on. He had just 449 career rushing attempts in four years at Georgia Tech. In his senior season, he carried the ball just 87 times and added 10 receptions. It was somewhat of a surprise when he beat out Trey Sermon for the final RB spot with the 49ers this offseason.
What should you do with Mason on the Week 3 waiver wire?
Mason’s path to relevance will make him a name targeted in deeper leagues. His rostership percentage saw a little bump when Mitchell was ruled out, with The Athletic reporting he would compete with Davis-Price for touches. That should jump a little more this week, especially after the role Davis-Price played in what is a weak waiver wire group at RB.
The problem is that we have little context of what might happen unless we get some kind of indication ahead of waivers running on Wednesday morning. Could the 49ers look to add a veteran back they can ride, or even promote Mack from the practice squad? Either of those things would threaten Mason’s opportunities.
It is really tough to recommend spending any more than 3-5% of your FAAB budget on a player that has not even taken an offensive snap. Additionally, if you are looking for a plug-and-play option this week, Mason would be incredibly risky. There is no guarantee he will take an offensive snap, let alone see a carry or a target. However, if you are looking for a backend of the bench stash, then Mason has an intriguing upside as a low-price gamble in 12-team leagues.
As you drop into the 14-team leagues and deeper, that price does go up. Any back who has a chance to touch the ball five or more times carries value in those leagues. If you are just looking for a player with consistent opportunities, Eno Benjamin should be the priority. Additionally, if you are looking for a player with upside in the event of an injury, then Darrel Williams jumps to the top. That is where Mason sits in my priority list. Assuming Raheem Mostert and J.D. McKissic are not available, Mason sits third behind Williams and Benjamin.