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What Week 1 tells us about 49ers running backs in fantasy football

The 49ers lost Raheem Mostert to injury, but even before that they had made a surprise deactivation of Trey Sermon. We break down what it looks like heading into Week 2.

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell (25) runs by Detroit Lions defensive back Tracy Walker III (21) Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 at Ford Field. Kirthmon F. Dozier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner have built a reputation for developing running back talent from the most obscure of options. Heading into Week 1 of the 2021 season, former UDFA Raheem Mostert was slated to start at running back, with third round pick Trey Sermon backing him up and potentially taking his job sooner than later.

A deactivation and an injury later, the 49ers head into Week 2 with Elijah Mitchell on track to be the starter and JaMycal Hasty potentially serving as the No. 2 back. Things changed just a little bit.

Fantasy football analysis: analysis: 49ers RBs Elijah Mitchell, Trey Sermon, JaMycal Hasty

Things got off to a wild start at 11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday when the 49ers announced Sermon would be inactive for the first game. Mostert started the game with Mitchell and Hasty in as his backups. Four snaps into the game, Mostert injured his knee and was sidelined the rest of the game.

Mitchell took over as the starter, rushing 19 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. Hasty appeared in 16 plays and had a three-yard rushing touchdown and a 15-yard reception.

On Monday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan announced that Mostert would go on IR and miss approximately eight weeks. Meanwhile, after the game, Shanahan told the media that Mitchell and Hasty simply beat out Sermon over the course of training camp and the preseason, per David Lombardi.

Week 2 recommendation

Elijah Mitchell was the clear starter once Mostert went down and will be the most popular player on waivers this week. Put in a claim, but if you don’t have the No. 1 priority, odds are slim you get him.

Sermon is an interesting one this week. Losing out over the course of camp would indicate he won’t be getting a real crack at the top spot anytime soon. However, with Mostert out, there is a good chance Sermon is active to give them a third running back that isn’t fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Don’t drop Sermon yet, but even if he is active this Sunday, you’ll want to hold off playing him. On the other hand, if someone in your league drops Sermon, pounce on him.