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Jerick McKinnon: Fantasy Football Projection for 2018

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After injuring his knee in practice on Sunday, Aug. 12, fantasy owners were immediately concerned about Jerick McKinnon. The San Francisco 49ers were likely even more worried, as Matt Breida is already sidelined with a shoulder injury. Their healthy running backs were disappearing before they even had a chance to play a half in a preseason game. Thankfully, McKinnon’s MRI revealed nothing worse than a muscle strain. Odds are that he will not see any preseason action, but hopefully he will be back for Week 1.

2017 Season Recap

In 2017, McKinnon played all 16 games for the Minnesota Vikings. He ended the season with 570 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, 51 receptions, 421 receiving yards and two touchdowns. While those numbers aren’t terrible, especially in PPR formats, they aren’t great for someone that was supposed to be the No. 1 running back for the Vikings after Dalvin Cook tore his ACL in Week 4.

2018 Expectations

Now in San Francisco, McKinnon once again will be given the opportunity to be the primary running back, although a healthy Breida will take some reps as well. Both backs are smaller, and both backs play a similar role. The carries will likely be given to whoever has the hot hand, making this a fantasy nightmare backfield. McKinnon’s injury also is concerning. While he is expected to play in Week 1, players who get injured in the preseason often rush back before they are ready in order to play and suffer further injuries.

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Where to Draft

McKinnon is being drafted as the 15th running back off the board, typically at the end of the second round. However, this is based on data from before his injury. Odds are that the injury will cause him to drop in fantasy drafts. He’s likely a third-round pick. It’s hard to get too excited about a guy who was given the opportunity to succeed in Minnesota and wasn’t able to do so, but if he can stay healthy, will likely serve as a decent RB2.

-- Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Athlon Sports’ 2018 Fantasy Football magazine, available for purchase online and at newsstands everywhere.

Athlon Sports 2018 Fantasy Football Magazine

(Top photo courtesy of www.49ers.com)