The San Francisco 49ers get a weapon back for their offense in Week 5 as running back Elijah Mitchell returns from a shoulder injury suffered in Week 2. Mitchell missed the past two games but was cleared off the final injury report on Friday ahead of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.
Prior to the injury, Mitchell replaced Raheem Mostert in the starting lineup after the latter got hurt in Week 1. Mitchell rushed 19 times for 104 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Lions and then rushed 17 times for 42 yards with two receptions for 11 yards in Week 2 against the Eagles.
Fantasy Football analysis: 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell
This is the first time the 49ers will have a relatively healthy backfield, minus Mostert. Mitchell and Trey Sermon should both be active, which means we’ll start to get a better handle on what that means for usage. Sermon was inactive in Week 1 and then played one snap, rushing for eight yards before taking a blow to the head that sidelined him the rest of the game.
Sermon made some big plays last week against Seattle, rushing 19 times for 89 yards, but has he done enough to move past Mitchell on the depth chart? That’s the $10,000 question and given how Kyle Shanahan and Bobby Turner rotate running backs, it’s impossible to tell right now. Mitchell had the edge, but if Sermon has taken steps forward in practice, he might have gained the advantage for this Sunday.
Arizona ranks 16th against the run, so there is some value to be had. And of course, Trey Lance starting over an injured Jimmy Garoppolo changes what we should expect from this offense. The ground game could be even more critical.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Mitchell and Sermon are both flex starts at best. You could flip a coin at the moment, but both should see a decent amount of work if you’re short-handed.