Would You Rather: Start Tevin Coleman or Matt Breida in Week 1 Fantasy Football

Jason Schandl
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers backfield situation may have cleared up some when Jerick McKinnon was placed on the injured reserve, but there's still a lot of uncertainty as to how the workload will be split between incumbent starter Matt Breida and high-profile acquisition Tevin Coleman.

This conversation becomes an especially important one heading into Week 1, as the 49ers draw a terrific matchup against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that is coming off a 2018 campaign in which they allowed both the second-most yards per play and second-most points per game in the NFL.

Tevin Coleman Week 1 Fantasy Football Outlook

Fantasy football players have shown a clear preference for Coleman in terms of the season-long outlook for the two. His average draft position (ADP) of RB26 on FantasyPros.com means he was going off the board as a fifth round pick.

Last year was his first season in a featured role with the Falcons, but he still got plenty of work with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan serving as Atlanta's OC in 2016, when Coleman scored a career high 11 touchdowns.

Shanahan seemed to have an affinity for Coleman's receiving skills, as his 31 receptions that year were only one shy of his career high, accounting for 21 percent of his touches (compared to 15 percent in 2017 and 16 percent in 2018).

This game projects to be a potential shootout, with a 50.5-point over/under on FanDuel Sportsbook, and that could force the 49ers to go with a pass-heavy gameplan — something that could lead to Coleman dominating the snaps this week.

Matt Breida Week 1 Fantasy Football Outlook

A shootout would be a lot less exciting for Breida, whose career 6.6 receiving yards per target fall well behind Coleman's 7.5.

Despite the 49ers playing from behind often as they struggled to a 4-12 record in 2018, Breida only caught more than three passes in one game. The bulk of his volume came on the ground, as he racked up 153 carries in 14 games.

Factoring in the hefty contract the 49ers gave Coleman this offseason (the 15th-highest average salary among RBs), San Francisco could give him the first shot at being the team's lead back.

This week's matchup helps his cause as well, and he is likely the better start of the two. That doesn't take Breida out of play though. He has a real shot to lead the 49ers in carries, and against the Bucs defense both backs could be fantasy viable.

Our Week 1 fantasy football rankings have Coleman ranked 21st and Breida ranked 32nd among running backs this week.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.