Jerick McKinnon’s preseason is over. The 49ers newest running back injured his leg during practice. He went down holding the back of his knee following a hit on Sunday. It looked like it could be a very serious injury, but instead scans showed it was “just a muscle strain.” Some reports indicate a knee injury while others say calf. In reality it could be both as the calf connects in the back of the joint.
The 49ers haven’t given any sort of a timeline on McKinnon’s recovery other than he won’t play again during the preseason. Inside Injuries is showing a four week Optimal Recovery Time, which indicates he shouldn’t play until a few weeks into the season. His Injury Risk has jumped to High (24%) but should improve quickly if he makes it through the next month without any setbacks. McKinnon has missed just one game in the last three seasons.
After signing a four-year, $30 million contract with San Francisco this offseason, the team had high hopes for their fifth year running back. McKinnon was viewed as a second or third round fantasy pick before his injury due to the fact that he could be used as the bell-cow running back. While he should clearly be their lead back when healthy, he has never been a guy who sees 20+ touches per game. Last year with the Vikings he never topped 16 carries but averaged just under 10 per game. McKinnon may not be the type of player who can handle that heavy workload, but he is often very involved in the passing game, giving him more value in PPR leagues.
Based on the injury, McKinnon should be targeted in the 4th or 5th round in standard leagues and 4th in PPR.
Matt Breida will also be sidelined until Week 1 due to a shoulder injury, leaving most of the carries for 2017 fourth-rounder Joe Williams. Raheem Mostert is next in line to see more touches while McKinnon and Breida are out.