Fantasy Football RB waiver wire pickups, Week 6
Elijah Mitchell/Jordan Mason, San Francisco 49ers (28 and 7 percent rostered):
As of this writing, the status of 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey is still unknown ahead of a Week 7 matchup with the Vikings on Monday Night Football after he suffered an oblique injury that forced him to sit out during the end of the 49ers’ loss to the Browns in Week 6.
With the 49ers not playing until Monday night, it gives McCaffrey and the 49ers additional time to make decisions. With that said, it is better to be proactive than reactive in situations like this, and with most waiver wires being processed on Wednesday mornings, it is in fantasy managers’ best interests to operate as if McCaffrey won’t suit up.
Of the two 49ers running backs who would be asked to step up in place of McCaffrey, Mitchell should be the priority. Mitchell had over 1,000 scrimmage yards during his rookie season in 2021 when he was allowed to lead the 49ers backfield. We have seen that he is capable of handling a large workload and even though Mason out-snapped and outplayed Mitchell following McCaffrey’s departure from the game versus the Browns, it was Mitchell’s first game back from a knee injury.
Mason played well once McCaffrey was forced to exit the game, turning five carries into 27 yards and a touchdown. While Mason doesn’t have the sample size that Mitchell does, he’s proven to be someone 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan trusts and speaks very highly of any time his name is mentioned.
If/when McCaffrey is ruled out, both players should see enough touches in a game where the 49ers are favored to win by a touchdown against the Vikings. It is important to note that ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that McCaffrey’s injury isn’t considered to be long-term.
Craig Reynolds, Detroit Lions (2 percent rostered):
The Lions’ running back room is down bad right now. Rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs has missed each of the last two weeks with a hamstring injury and they just lost bell-cow running back David Montgomery to a rib injury.
However, it has been reported that Gibbs is nearing a return as soon as Week 7. Naturally, it only makes sense that the running back who the Lions spent the No. 12 overall pick on in this year’s NFL Draft will step in to fill the void of their workhorse running back, right? Wrong. The Lions have been reluctant to give Gibbs a full workload, paving the way for Craig Reynolds to be a fantasy-relevant running back.
Reynolds had a season-high 12 touches in Week 6 due to Montgomery’s departure and figures to be heavily involved in the Lions’ plans to run the ball moving forward even though didn’t necessarily do much with the additional opportunity. We have seen that operating as the Lions' No. 1 running back has translated to fantasy value under head coach Dan Campbell. Jamaal Williams led the league in touchdowns last season (17) as the Lions’ lead back and already amassed over 400 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in less than five games.
The Lions offense has been amongst the best in the NFL through six weeks, ranking third in yards per game (383.7) and fourth in points per game (28.0). With that said Reynolds should see ample scoring opportunities behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines in one of the NFL’s most productive offenses.
It has already been reported that Montgomery is expected to miss “some time” due to the injury. Even if Gibbs can return in Week 7, it is hard to envision the coaching staff putting more on his plate as he is returning from injury when they weren’t even willing to do so when he was fully healthy.