Position Groups to Target - San Francisco Running Backs
At this point in early June, Dynasty Startup draft season is in full swing. Strategies are being tweaked and perfected, picks are being moved, and data is flying around like peas at a holiday food fight. I've personally joined 6 startups this off-season, and I've found there are certain situations where I'm targeting multiple players from the same position, on the same team. This series of articles will cover position groups around the NFL that present great potential return for the investment. In the first installment, I'll break down the San Francisco Running Back group. Enjoy!
Tevin Coleman was signed to be…...2016 Tevin Coleman. A multi-faceted weapon who can profile as the workhorse when needed, or a chess-piece otherwise.
Kyle Shanahan saw a player he’s had success with before, invested in him, and I think we're in for a real treat now that Coleman is out of Devonta Freeman’s shadow. Coleman’s current ADP is in the early sixth round, which may seem like a pricey endeavour. Although he has 2 talented backs in the same stable, he’ll be worth the investment. Looking at Coleman’s second season (Shanahan’s first in Atlanta), he finished as the RB17. Freeman finished as the RB6. Prime Devonta Freeman is not on this team, so who picks up that slack? Tevin Coleman, that’s who. Although I don’t see RB1 numbers as probable, he can be a strong RB2 for fantasy teams. This is especially true in PPR, as I can see him catching 50+ passes this season in addition to his work toting the rock. Coming off a career year in Atlanta, he should see an uptick in workload and is in the center of his prime at 26 years old. I’ll buy that all day.
Breida will have a different role, but he is a MAJOR value this season. Still only 24, his current ADP shows as an early to mid-tenth rounder. I’ve been getting him between the 11th and 14th rounds across startups.
In drafts, he’s like the pigeon in the road, just sitting there as you approach in your car. I, for one, will keep the pedal to the metal and smash him without even a glance at the rear-view. Breida seemed to play hurt more than he was healthy last season, yet still averaged 5.32 yards per tote on only 10.9 carries per game. Those YPC numbers were top 5 for players who ran the ball at least 100 times in 2018. He’s not a traditional "up the gut Banger" , but he’s shown Kyle Shanahan he can be a consistent runner in his zone scheme. This backfield has its fair share of injury concerns, also known as opportunities. Opportunities with which Breida could earn another shot at a hefty workload. From a dynasty perspective, I’m grabbing him because I think he either emerges in San Francisco or moves on after this year, with enough on tape to earn a shot at a meaningful role elsewhere.
When it comes to Jerick McKinnon, I think we might look back at him as a - “What could have been” - type of player. He’s showcased his skill set when given opportunities, no doubt. However, between the addition of Tevin Coleman, and a fat contract that he hasn’t had the chance to live up to, his days as a big contributor in San Fran were over before they started.
By all accounts he’s on the mend, but with an ADP in the late eighth, early ninth round, I’d rather draft Coleman and Breida. From a Dynasty lens, Mckinnon’s contract carries an $11.75M dead cap hit this season, so they’re stuck paying him top 10 coin for now. Unless he shows out in 2019, he could be a cut candidate when the 2020 league year begins, when his dead cap number drops to a more manageable $4M. I don’t like taking question marks like that when I’m trying to build my roster depth in those middle rounds. If he starts to fall in drafts, to the tenth or later, I might gain some steam on him, but I’d prefer to draft a Running Back with youth and upside, or one who only has one player blocking his path to added volume.
All three backs have versatile skill sets and present upside in Shanahan’s offense, this backfield is loaded with talent. I think it will ultimately become a 2 man show, with injury being the culprit.. For me, it’s Coleman and Breida who have the best chances to emerge, in which case, both should end the season as great draft values. I’m targeting this duo in hopes that they can become the Freeman/Coleman combo Shanahan had in Atlanta. Mckinnon has the tools but he may be the odd man out, and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll ever get the workload to carve out a place in our fantasy hearts. So while I may not be in on the entire position group, as Meatloaf once said: 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.