Once it became clear that Najee Harris was expecting to play in Week 2 against the Patriots, Jeff Wilson became the clear top waiver wire. Wilson is expected to take over for Elijah Mitchell against the Seattle Seahawks. But any time we're talking about a Kyle Shanahan offense and using the word "expected", we need to be careful.
Remember, last year, no one expected Mitchell to be the lead back when Raheem Mostert went down. In fact, Shanahan hasn't had the same leading rusher in back-to-back seasons for five years straight. Although, to be fair to Wilson, he was one of those backs, back in 2020. Shanahan himself has said he'll use a hot-hand approach with both Tyrion Davis-Price and Jordan Mason potentially getting a chance. And the team just added Jordan Mason off the waiver wire.
Shanahan isn't the only risk to Wilson. He could lead the running backs in carries and still fall short. In Week 1 Trey Lance combined for 21 carries for 106 yards and a score. Wilson and Mitchell had 15 carries for 63 yards in that game. The 49ers interior offensive line wasn't impressive either.
None of this is to say you can't start Wilson in Week 2. I'd just feel much more comfortable doing so with boom-or-bust flex expectations than as a No. 2 running back.
Now let's get to the rest of the Week 2 RB Preview:
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Week 2 RB Preview
The following players are not being projected to play Week 2 at this time. Here's what it means:
SF San Francisco • #25
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Jeff Wilson should lead the backfield, but Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price are deep stashes.
ATL Atlanta • #6
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Cordarrelle Patterson looks like the clear top back but Tyler Allgeier could get a chance this week in a reserve role.
LV Las Vegas • #34
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Ameer Abdullah should take over the pass catching role we thought he had in the first place.
Numbers to know
- 194 -- Saquon Barkley's 194 scrimmage yards vs. the Titans was the fourth-most of his career and the first time he's eclipsed 130 scrimmage yards since 2019.
- 120 -- Cordarrelle Patterson set a career-high with 120 rush yards in Week 1. His 22 carries may have had something to do with Damien Williams' early injury.
- 15 -- AJ Dillion out-touched Aaron Jones 15-8 in Week 1 and handled 10 carries to Jones' five. Jones did lead the team with a 67% route participation. Both backs are starts.
- 14 -- Rex Burkhead out-carried Dameon Pierce 14-11 in Week 1. Lovie Smith says he wants to get Pierce more involved in Week 2.
- 51% -- Both James Robinson and Travis Etienne played 51% of the snaps in Week 1.
- 7 -- Jamaal Williams had seven touches in the red zone and stole two goalline touchdowns from D'Andre Swift.
- 18% -- Cam Akers' snap share in Week 1. Sean McVay continues to be a one-back coach and Darrell Henderson is currently that back.
- 8% -- Steelers running backs were targeted on 8% of Mitch Trubisky's Week 1 pass attempts. At that rate, Najee Harris may be a bust even if he stays healthy.
- 19.4% -- Zach Moss saw nearly a 20% target share in Week 1. He's a worthy stash just in case he's also the goalline back.
Matchups that matter
Waiver Wire Targets
Rex Burkhead RB
HOU Houston • #28
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Burkhead is currently the lead back for the Houston Texans, and my highest projected available back in PPR leagues. The game script against the Broncos should be very pass-heavy and Burkhead has that role completely locked down. He saw eight targets in a game the Texans were competitive in Week 1, there's legitimate 10-target upside in Week 2 against the Broncos. Burkhead is not near as appealing in non-PPR.
Zack Moss RB
IND Indianapolis • #21
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Moss is the pass-catching back for the Bills and handled a larger percentage of the run-game work than we expected as well. He has weekly flex appeal as long as he stays in this role, but the Bills have never been married to one back, so there's weekly upside that he could get more carries than we expect as well. We do expect he'll be the first man up in goalline situations as well.
KC Kansas City • #1
Age: 30 • Experience: 9 yrs.
You could do much worse as a desperation flex than McKinnon. He was splitting snaps evenly with Clyde Edwards-Helaire before the game got out of hand in Week 1 and should handle a majority of the passing downs.
CHI Chicago • #24
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Herbert is still just a stash, but he's moving closer towards flex territory. He was more productive on the ground than David Montgomery and it wasn't really close. Those who speculated Herbert could take Montgomery's job don't sound quite as crazy as they did in the preseason.
PIT Pittsburgh • #30
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
Warren played 100% of the snaps after Harris went down in Week 1. If Harris misses an extended period of time, we'd expect Warren to be close to a workhorse back.
TB Tampa Bay • #29
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
White is the clear No. 2 to Leonard Fournette in Tampa Bay. He has league-winning upside if he finds himself in a starting role.
Mixon is a feature back as a big favorite against a Cowboys team starting Cooper Rush at quarterback. He has a 20-touch floor and 30 touches shouldn't surprise anyone. This Cowboys defense just gave up 127 yards on six yards per carry to Leonard Fournette, I don't see them stopping Mixon and the Bengals either.
Henderson was the surprise starter against the Bills in Week 1 and I expect he'll find a much easier task in Week 2 against the Falcons. To be fair to the Falcons, they were very good against Alvin Kamara, but I don't believe that was representative of what they'll be all year. This is actually my top projected value on the slate at FanDuel, so it's possible he won't be contrarian, but I don't get the feeling anyone actually believes in Henderson.