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Fantasy Football Free Agency: Tevin Coleman & San Francisco 49ers

Davis Mattek March 14, 2019 3:29PM EDT

Fantasy Football Free Agency: Tevin Coleman Signs With The San Francisco 49ers

If Tevin Coleman had a more inspiring 2018, it is almost a certainty that he would have received a better contract than what the San Francisco 49ers gave him. His time spent splitting carries with Ito Smith in his final Atlanta Falcons season left him with a 2-year, 10 million dollar contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Tevin Coleman had 19 touchdowns in 2016 and 2017 combined with 79 targets in those two seasons. Playing in a complementary role with Devonta Freeman in one of the best offenses in football, he looked like a near-superstar at the position if he was ever given full-time work.

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In 2018, however, Tevin Coleman had only 167 carries and 44 targets in 16 games. His yards per touch was the best all of the running backs that the Atlanta Falcons used in 2018 but it is overall concerning that he ceded work to Ito Smith who averaged 3.5 yards per carry. It always made sense for Coleman and Devonta Freeman to be splitting but to be outplayed by a 4th round rookie from Southern Miss was not a positive indicator for Coleman. I am willing to put some of the blame on Steve Sarkisian and the Falcons play calling. Coleman went from 13 and 11 yards per reception down to 8.6 yards per reception in 2018 and I think a large part of that has to be due to play calling and play design.

Tevin Coleman’s biggest asset is his ability as a pass-catcher. He is able to split out into the slot and work as an actual wide receiver in a way that many NFL running backs cannot.

Kyle Shanahan was Tevin Coleman’s offensive coordinator in 2015-16 when Coleman was drafted (and one can reason that Shanahan’s familiarity with Coleman is a big reason why he signed him). Despite the crowded backfield in San Francisco, I view this as a positive landing spot for Coleman. Shanahan has shown in his tenure in San Francisco that even if he previously liked a player and gave up assets to acquire them, that doesn’t mean he won’t move on. This brings us to the Jerick McKinnon question.

Fantasy Football Free Agency Tevin Coleman Outlook

The 49ers backfield as it stands, includes Jerick Mckinnon, Matt Brieda, Jeff Wilson, and Kyle Spellcheck. However, Jerick McKinnon has already been paid out all of his guaranteed money. The sense that I get from watching the 49ers and following Kyle Shanahan is that he does not view Matt Brieda as a lead running back. He signed Jerick McKinnon to a large contract, gave Alfred Morris work over Brieda and even increased the involvement of Kyle Juszczyk after McKinnon was hurt. We also know that Shanahan does clearly like Tevin Coleman as a player. The best projection would be something like a 60/40 split between Coleman and Brieda with Coleman being more involved as a pass-catcher. Brieda saw only 31 targets last season which as 7th on the entire team. Projecting Tevin Coleman for 180 carries and 50 targets is not a rash projection but a big portion of this comes down to what the team does with McKinnon. If McKinnon stays on the roster, we are looking at a real three-headed monster with three running backs projected for between 90 and 120 interactions. If McKinnon is out of town, I can comfortably project Tevin Coleman for a 45% total rush share and a 10-12% target share of what should be a productive San Francisco 49ers offense.

Fantasy Football Free Agency Signings:

Latavius Murray

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