Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tevin Coleman
- The San Francisco 49ers have an abundance of competent running backs in what figures to be a solid offense.
- Who is the best fantasy football option? Ian Hartitz on whether Tevin Coleman is the back to target.
We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2019 season; this is part of that series.
The San Francisco 49ers were a trendy pick to make some noise in the NFC West last season. Then Jimmy Garoppolo tragically tore his ACL in Week 3, and the 49ers limped to a 4-12 finish.
Now the 49ers boast a win total of eight after coming in at 8.5 last season. It’s an interesting downgrade in expectations considering they managed to make several solid additions on both sides of the ball.
Let’s take a look at what fantasy football investors should expect from this backfield in 2019 after the 49ers signed Tevin Coleman to a two-year deal worth $10 million.
Tevin Coleman Is an Incredibly Versatile Running Back
Coleman is no stranger to Kyle Shanahan’s offense, as the pair spent two seasons together with the Falcons in 2015 and 2016. While Coleman received only 89 total touches as a rookie in 2015, he managed to finish 2016 as the overall PPR RB19 thanks to his heightened workload and elite efficiency.
Coleman has demonstrated the ability to function as a potent No. 1 back for extended stretches while filling in for Devonta Freeman.
- With Freeman (39 games): 8.2 rush attempts, 34 rush yards, 0.31 rush TDs
- Without (17 games): 12.2 rush attempts, 59.8 rush yards, 0.35 TDs
Coleman has averaged 9.71 PPR points per game with Freeman in the lineup compared to 13.1 per game without.
The fifth-year back has managed to make the most of his touches thanks in large part to his big-play ability: Coleman has the fifth-highest rate of runs for 15-plus yards among 84 running backs with at least 150 carries since entering the league in 2015 (per Pro Football Focus).
Even more impressive has been his ability to function as a true wide receiver. This aspect of his game has been criminally underused throughout his career.
Coleman caught 31, 27 and 32 passes over the past three seasons, but he’s still one of only eight running backs with double-digit receiving scores since entering the league in 2015. Utilizing Coleman more in the slot and out-wide could help the 49ers get several of their talented backs on the field at the same time.
The 49ers’ Backfield Is Full of Competent Running Backs
Coleman — like every running back in the league — would hold significantly more fantasy football value if he was expected to inherit a three-down workload.