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Saturday afternoon reports started to trickle out that Jerick McKinnon suffered a knee injury at 49ers practice. The initial news coming in sounds less than optimistic, and reports have confirmed that McKinnon suffered a season-ending ACL tear on the final play of practice. .
This is unfortunate timing for those of you who already drafted, and this is the busiest draft weekend of the year. We know you're looking for guidance as to how to proceed. McKinnon has obviously been taken off the board for all re-draft leagues, and given the lack of guaranteed money beyond this season on his contract, McKinnon may not have much value in Dynasty or keeper leagues either.
As for the rest of the backfield, it likely depends on the health of Matt Breida's shoulder. Breida has been back at practice and was j . He is my favorite option in this backfield. Shanahan liked him enough to give him 126 touches as a rookie behind Carlos Hyde. If he's sharing with Alfred Morris I would expect even more. With McKinnon out, I think I would rank Breida as a top-25 running back.
Morris is interesting, because he looked awesome in the team's third preseason game, he has a relationship with Shanahan, and he's the only starter-caliber back that is currently totally healthy on the roster. I don't like him as much as Breida in a feature role, but it is quite possible Breida isn't 100 percent for Week 1 and Morris is Fantasy relevant — and NBC Sports Bay Area speculates Morris could be the starter for Week 1.
If you're drafting on Saturday night, I'd target Breida in the sixth round, and start looking for Morris in the ninth.
Remember, these are instant reactions to things that have not been settled yet. If you strongly believe (or get a good indication) that Shanahan prefers Morris over Breida, then look for Morris in the seventh and Breida in the eighth. There won't be a true feature back in this offense as long as both are available, but I prefer Breida's talent.