Jerick McKinnon Injury Could Point to Elite Fantasy Football Upside for Tevin Coleman

Zach Brunner
Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Last offseason, the San Francisco 49ers signed running back Jerick McKinnon, who seemed to be a perfect fit for head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. Unfortunately, a torn ACL shut him down just before Week 1, causing him to miss the entire season.

Due to a setback in his recovery, we also may not get to see how he fits in the system in Week 1 of the 2019 season. That means the team's newest running back, Tevin Coleman, could offer elite fantasy football value.

After working with Coleman in Atlanta, Shanahan was quick to sign him in San Francisco this offseason. Accordingly, early expectations were already that Coleman would lead the backfield, with a healthy McKinnon playing a complementary role. But McKinnon's status is up in the air now, and that could help solidify Coleman's grasp on the top RB spot.

Matt Breida, who was the lead back for the majority of 2018 due to McKinnon's injury, gets an immediate boost as well, as he's now a safer bet for playing time. While that helps Breida's cause, it's still not a good sign for his outlook that the team brought in Coleman even after seeing what Breida could do with a full workload last year.

This increase in opportunity greatly increases Coleman's value, giving him the potential to be a true workhorse and a strong every-week fantasy starter.

According to FantasyPros' average draft position (ADP) rankings, Coleman is currently being drafted as RB27 (58th overall), while McKinnon (RB52, 145th overall) is tumbling down the ranks and Breida (RB46,123rd overall) still isn't getting much love. Even with the big gap in ADP, Coleman could prove to be the most valuable pick in the group.

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