In The Blitz, RotoViz writers react to the latest news and help you place it within the context of our 2020 research and recommendations.
The Super Bow runner-ups from last year got their season off to a tough start by dropping a divisional matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Like many losses, there were some distinct positives to pull from this game. Fantasy managers who invested in Raheem Mostert have to be happy with what they saw from their draft pick. Looking ahead, Mostert has an opportunity to pay off even more.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert was the team’s top offensive weapon in Week 1. He rushed the ball 15 times for 56 yards and caught four of his five targets for 95 yards and a touchdown. This week, the 49ers face a New York Jets team that allowed over 400 yards of offense to the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. Expect the 49ers to heavily feature Mostert in Week 2. He should see around 20 touches and rack up over 100 total yards with one or more touchdowns in the game. He has unquestionable RB1 upside in Week 2.
Running Back Friendly Offense
It’s no secret that Kyle Shanahan is one of the more creative minds in football. Watch any 49ers games from last season, and you’ll see guys in motion, simple redirection, and a powerful running game. During his time in San Francisco, Shanahan has afforded ample opportunity to his running backs. Almost 500 rushing plays showed this last season.
In 2019, both Tevin Coleman and Mostert received 137 rushing attempts. Matt Brieda, now with the Miami Dolphins, saw 123 carries. The Breida carries opened up, and the only other addition to the running back room is Jerick McKinnon, who has finally returned to the field after a lengthy absence. The question for fantasy owners was always going to revolve around which running back would be the primary focus each week.
This offseason, Mostert reportedly got his body in better shape to handle a larger workload. After a brief scare, the 49ers agreed to restructure Mostert’s contract, putting him more in line with his requests as a player. The team experienced great success when Mostert ran well late last season, and it has carried over into this season.
No Longer A Committee?
In Week 1, there wasn’t much of a committee approach to the backfield touches.
To be fair, Coleman has underlying health concerns that were brought up before the game, exacerbated by poor air quality conditions. Even so, it was encouraging to see Mostert receive five targets and 20 opportunities on the day. As noted above, his last six games dating back to the end of the 2019 regular season demonstrate the strong production Mostert has had. If you take a look at his playoff production, it adds even more firepower to his strengthening case. The raw production is encouraging, but it helps when it’s matched with substantial efficiency numbers as well, as this is often a signal of increased future opportunity.
Over the summer, I even wrote about how I would be willing to take Mostert at a higher price than Coleman. Mostert appears ready and capable of being used in all facets of the game. A string of injuries to the wide receiver room in San Francisco may force Shanahan to be even more creative than usual, which could bode well for Mostert and his fantasy owners in 2020.