Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.
For a player to be listed, he must be rostered in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).
With that said, here are some running back waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 2 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):
[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]
1. Eli Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers (8%)
When the 49ers traded up in the third round to draft Ohio State's Trey Sermon, many jumped to the conclusion that Sermon would earn a substantial Day 1 workload. With Sermon a (surprise) healthy scratch, it was another rookie that had a massive workload and productive day.
#49ers Kyle Shanahan says Trey Sermon simply was not among top 3 RBs out of camp, glad Mitchell ran well without hesitation today— Cam Inman (@CamInman) September 12, 2021
It's unclear how much work the team would have allocated to Mitchell, the 194th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, if Raheem Mostert (knee) didn't exit the game early. With Mostert leaving after two carries, however, Mitchell carried the ball 19 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. While JaMycal Hasty also had a three-yard touchdown, it was his only carry.
Mostert will miss the rest of the season and Mitchell should be in line for the largest share of the workload (at least, in the short term) even assuming that Sermon would be active.
The 49ers will head to Philadelphia for a Week 2 matchup against the Eagles.
In two seasons with the Saints, Latavius Murray averaged 11.26 touches per game and he finished as fantasy's RB33 (2020) and RB29 (2019), respectively, in half-PPR scoring. In the first game with Murray no longer on the roster, Jones assumed the complementary role to Alvin Kamara and handled 12 touches.
Jones racked up 53 scoreless scrimmage yards (50 rushing and three receiving), but that level of workload would likely yield flex-level production for those that roster Jones this season. And if Kamara were to miss any time, there is enormous weekly upside for Jones. In the two games that Kamara missed and Murray was active, Murray had a total of 62 touches, 307 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns.
In the opener, White had six catches for 49 yards on seven targets and four carries for 12 yards. With Mac Jones taking the reigns from Cam Newton, there will undoubtedly be more running back targets in 2021 than in 2020.
Before hauling in 49 receptions for 375 yards on 62 targets last season, White had a minimum of 95 targets, 72 receptions and 645 receiving yards in each of the previous two seasons with Tom Brady under center. Perhaps a return to that level of receiving production is unlikely, but he's a viable RB3/flex, especially in full PPR formats.
Unanimously ranked 32nd in our consensus NFL Power Rankings, the Texans may not jump out to such a commanding lead again like they did in this one -- 27-7 lead at halftime -- for the rest of the season. That said, Ingram had 26 of the running back's 41 touches (63.4%) Sunday for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Perhaps he never sees north of 25 touches again, but it's difficult to ignore that kind of workload. Heading into Monday Night Football, only Cincinnati's Joe Mixon (33) and Christian McCaffrey (30) had more touches on the week. Minnesota's Dalvin Cook also had 26 touches.
Game script for next week's matchup against the Cleveland Browns could force the Texans into catchup mode early, but if Ingram continues to handle Houston's largest share of the workload, he may enter the flex range in more competitive matchups.
Philadelphia's 30 running back touches were allocated, as follows: Miles Sanders (19), Gainwell (11) and Boston Scott (zero). Based on Week 1 usage, Gainwell appears to be well ahead of Scott on the depth chart. The rookie from Memphis surprised many when he slipped to the fifth round, but it may not surprise many that he's carved out a signifcant role as a change-of-pace option to Sanders. In his NFL debut, Gainwell had nine carries for 37 yards and a score plus two receptions for six yards on three targets.
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