After being at times criminally underused with the Minnesota Vikings, Jerick McKinnon got a nice contract and the prospect of a big role with the San Francisco 49ers in free agency. Fantasy owners who bought into his breakout potential this year willing parted with a third-round pick in drafts, but now that’s looking like a sunk cost.
McKinnon was limited by a calf issue during the preseason, but things got worse on Saturday. He reportedly suffered a non-contact knee injury, and the team fears he suffered a torn ACL. The injury has now been confirmed.
#49ers big free agent pickup and starting RB Jerick McKinnon suffered a torn ACL today, source said. His season is over.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 1, 2018
The 49ers signed Alfred Morris to help cover for McKinnon’s absence, surely due in part to his past working with Kyle Shanahan in Washington, and he had 84 yards on 17 carries as he started the third preseason game. Now with McKinnon out, Morris is expected to become San Francisco’s lead back.
After a nice finish to his rookie season last year (146 yards on 23 carries over the last two games), Matt Breida was on the radar in fantasy leagues as a late-round, zero-running back strategy pick or the handcuff to McKinnon. Morris is not a proficient pass catcher, with a career high of 17 receptions, so Breida (21 catches last year) has a likely place as the passing down back for the 49ers.
Morris and Breida should both be owned now, and late drafters should have both on the radar.
But if you’re strictly turning to the waiver wire as a McKinnon owner, here are some options to replace him, starting with Morris and Breida. (Ownership rates as of roughly 7 p.m. ET on 9/1/18).
Morris-ESPN Ownership: 3.4%, Yahoo! Ownership: 24%
Breida-ESPN Ownership: 17.5%, Yahoo! Ownership: 26%
Corey Clement, Eagles-ESPN Ownership: 27.1%, Yahoo! Ownership: 24%
James White, Patriots-ESPN Ownership: 70.1%, Yahoo! Ownership: 46%
Frank Gore, Dolphins-ESPN Ownership: 12.9%, Yahoo Ownership: 10%
LeGarrette Blount, Lions-ESPN Ownership: 31.8%, Yahoo! Ownership: 41%
Giovani Bernard, Bengals-ESPN Ownership: 57.2%, Yahoo! Ownership: 33%
Bilal Powell, Jets-ESPN Ownership: 41.5%, Yahoo! Ownership: 55%
Ty Montgomery, Packers-ESPN Ownership: 70.3%, Yahoo! Ownership: 36%
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