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How to Treat 49ers RB Jeff Wilson as Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Target

How to Treat 49ers RB Jeff Wilson as Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Target article feature image
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Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Jeff Wilson.

Another year, another early-season issue in the 49ers backfield.

If we all weren’t already convinced that Kyle Shanahan’s starting backfield was cursed, Elijah Mitchell’s Week 1 knee injury might just be the proof.

Every year, there’s a clear RB1 in San Francisco. Every year, that player is either quickly benched or injured.

Mitchell had an excellent — and surprising — rookie season and took control of the 49ers’ backfield after Raheem Mostert was injured after just two carries last season. This year, Mitchell had six carries for 41 yards before his MCL was injured.

Now, Jeff Wilson is next in line for the 49ers in the backfield. He’s entering his fifth season, having never played more than 12 games in any of his first four campaigns. He only had nine carries for 22 yards against the Bears.

Our fantasy football experts lay out how they’re approaching Wilson on the waiver wire this week.

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Sean Koerner: Wilson is a medium priority addition, but if you are desperate at RB, you should upgrade him simply because it looks like Elijah Mitchell will be out for about weeks.

Wilson will inherit much of Mitchell’s role, which is why he opens Week 2 as my RB25. However, that’s mainly due to a plus matchup against the Seahawks. He will typically be in the RB25-30 range and his upside is limited because both Trey Lance/Deebo Samuel are used heavily in the run game.

Kyle Shanahan loves Wilson, so that could lower the chances we see any Shanahanigans that result in Jordan Mason or Tyrion Davis-Price leapfrogging Wilson. As always with the 49ers, anything can happen with this backfield.

Samantha Previte: Wilson was unremarkable in the 49ers’ loss to the Bears as he saw nine carries for 22 yards and caught both of his targets for eight yards. His RB52 finish won’t turn heads, but he may see a larger role with Elijah Mitchell expected to miss two months — especially with rookie Tyrion Davis-Price being a Week 1 healthy scratch.

Versatile receiver Deebo Samuel had eight carries for 52 yards and a touchdown in the effort and could be San Francisco’s best rusher until Mitchell returns. That said, Wilson is established enough to warrant a waiver claim in spite of not capitalizing in Week 1.

Chris Raybon: Medium priority add for a RB-needy team.

Based on what happened in Week 1, it is clear that Wilson entered the season well ahead of the RBs behind him on the depth chart. Rookie third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price was a healthy scratch, and rookie UDFA Jordan Mason was active but didn’t play a snap even after Mitchell went down.

Mitchell will be out for two months, but the reason I’m only calling Wilson a medium priority is because projecting a Shanahan backfield more than one week ahead is an exercise in futility. Wilson also has durability concerns of his own, as he’s never played more than 12 games in a season. And then there’s the fact that Deebo Samuel is essentially the co-starter at RB; he handled eight carries in Week 1.

Wilson’s most productive game may well come next week, when the 49ers are 9-point home favorites against the Seahawks on short rest.

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