Tevin Coleman returned to the playing field in Week 5 for the first time since sustaining an ankle injury in the opening game of the season. The San Francisco 49ers running back not only played against the Cleveland Browns, he performed, hitting the ground running.
Can Coleman sustain his recent fantasy output this week against the division rival Los Angeles Rams? Or is the 49ers backfield too crowded to put your faith in any one running back? Let’s discuss.
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Tevin Coleman’s Fantasy Outlook vs. Los Angeles Rams
While fellow running mate Matt Breida may have stolen the show in the ‘9ers dominating Monday night victory a week ago, it was Coleman who led the team in touches. Breida dazzled with an 83-yard touchdown scamper, yet was kept in check for the remainder of the game, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry on his other 10 carries. Coleman, on the other hand, touted the rock 16 times in the San Fran victory, averaging an impressive 6.1 yards per carry.
There is no doubting the efficiency that Breida has run with throughout his career. However, for whatever reason, the team has opted to limit his touches throughout his career. Breida has carried the ball more than 15 times just once in his two-plus season as a 49er, averaging just 9.12 attempts per game.
The most concerning part about Coleman’s fantasy value may not be Breida’s presence at all, but the absence of lead full back Kyle Juszczyk. Juszczyk is one of the most unheralded, yet dominant, players in football. Coach Kyle Shanahan delved into the devastating loss of his fullback this week.
“I mean, you don’t replaced Kyle. He’s kind of one of a kind at fullback. We still use a fullback, and you do that with tight ends also. I mean, you motion them in there and do stuff, but no one is going to fully replace him. We’ve just got to do some different things and adjust.”
While Coleman did play with a fullback in front of him at times in Atlanta, he has shown the ability to operate as the lone back in the backfield. Something he may need to demonstrate this coming week.
This week’s matchup for Coleman would have sounded daunting just one month ago. However, the Los Angeles Rams defense have been a shell of themselves this season. Los Angeles has allowed the 10th most fantasy points to running backs this season, with a generous 23.76 points per game. They’ve also allowed six total touchdowns to the position over the first five weeks of the season. Great news for Coleman, who has been a touchdown machine over his career, scoring 29 touchdowns over the past three-plus seasons. Breida, on the other hand, has scored just 10 touchdowns over the same time span.
Should You Start or Sit Tevin Coleman in Week 6?
While Breida will certainly have a role within the offense, it’s clear that Shanahan prefers Coleman as his lead back in San Francisco. He should once again lead the team in touches, this time against a struggling Rams defense. In return, he should be in your starting lineups for Week 6. The 49ers running back is a must-start flex with RB2 upside in PPR leagues.