The San Francisco 49ers enter this season with a couple of new faces in the backfield in rookie running backs Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell. Sermon and Mitchell join a San Fran running back room with veterans Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson.
Mostert is still the team’s lead back despite a down 2020 season (521 rushing yards, 2 TDs) due to injuries. However, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Sermon challenge him for the RB1 spot throughout this season.
Latest camp news
Week 2 preseason recap: It was Wayne Gallman and JaMycal Hasty who took all the carries in San Francisco’s 15-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Mostert and Sermon did not play in this one, with the latter sidelined due to an ankle injury.
Week 1 preseason recap: Sermon failed to live up to the hype in the preseason opener that his coaches had been raving about in practices. He got nine rushes, the second most on the roster, and tallied just 26 yards on the ground. His longest rush of the game was just five yards. He did show promise through the air though, catching both targets thrown his way for 14 total yards. Mostert didn’t log any action in the first game.
Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com reported late last month that Mostert is wearing a knee brace in practice, but won’t wear it in games. As for Sermon, Niners RB coach Bobby Turner said that he looks comfortable, a sharp young man, and is what the team thought, per Niners Nation.
8/12/21: To hear the running back coach speak highly of Sermon can only bode well for his future. However, the task for Sermon is to continue to do what he’s done at practice and apply it to the preseason opener. The Niners use a lot of running back by committee so it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Mostert and Sermon lead the team in carries this season.
Next preseason game: vs. Las Vegas Raiders
It’s unlikely the 49ers throw Mostert into major action given his injury history, but head coach Kyle Shanahan did say some of the starters who haven’t played yet will get snaps against Las Vegas. Sermon is coming back from ankle trouble and might be out as well. That means Gallman, Hasty and a spattering of other runners will take the field against the Raiders. The 49ers know who their top two running backs are and don’t want to risk them in the final preseason contest.
Fantasy football verdict
Week 2 preseason: Mostert is the veteran running back and will get most of the carries in this backfield. However, Sermon will be involved as will other running backs. Shanahan likes to mix up his runners, and that means a committee of sorts here for fantasy purposes. Mostert is the back to have from this group barring injuries. Sermon is worth a bench spot, especially in keeper and dynasty formats.