RB Jerick McKinnon | San Francisco 49ers | 5th Year
2017 Stats: 150 carries, 570 yds, 3 TD; 51 rec., 421 yds, 2 TD
In free agency this offseason, Jerick McKinnon goes toward the top of any list of players whose fantasy stock rose the most. After four seasons primarily as a backup with the Minnesota Vikings, to Adrian Peterson and Dalvin Cook early last year, the San Francisco 49ers signed the former option quarterback at Georgia Southern to a four-year, $30 million deal.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has coached a top-15 fantasy running back in five of the last six seasons. He has consistently praised McKinnon, as expected, and NBC Sports Bay Area has pointed to McKinnon taking the Devonta Freeman role in Shanahan’s offense. Over Shanahan’s two seasons as Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator (2015 and 2016), Freeman had 22 rushing touchdowns (27 total touchdowns), with 127 receptions (162 targets) on his way to finishes of RB1 (2015) and RB6 (2016).
2017 undrafted rookie Matt Breida had 23 carries for 146 yards over the last two games last year, and he’s likely to be a factor in a complementary role this year. He’s not built that differently than McKinnon, so how goal line carries are divided might be interesting.
McKinnon has averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry in each of the last two seasons, which has not coincidentally came in the only two seasons he has had at least 150 carries. But he also had 94 receptions over that span, with more than 50 total yards in 10 of the 12 games Cook missed last year and at least 7.5 fantasy points (ESPN PPR scoring) eight times in that span.
On Fantasy Football Calculator, McKinnon is RB14 in 12-team PPR mock drafts and RB18 in 12-team standard league mocks. That puts him as a late-second round pick (pick 2.11) in PPR leagues right now, which feels a little rich and ripe for a slight correction over the course of the summer.