Elijah Mitchell has missed several games this year, including the past two, and his status is up in the air for the 49ers’ Week 16 matchup against Tennessee. He will likely be “questionable,” at best, for the Thursday Night Football showdown, and his availability will have a big effect on fantasy RB rankings and start ’em, sit ’em decisions. Knowing the latest injury updates — and Mitchell’s handcuff(s) — will be key ahead of your first lineup call of the week.
We’ll continue to update this article with news on Mitchell up until the official active/inactive report comes out on Thursday around 6:50 p.m. ET. For all the latest fantasy updates, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
Is Elijah Mitchell playing on Thursday night?
Mitchell has cleared concussion protocols, but he’s still dealing with a knee injury. San Francisco GM John Lynch has already said Mitchell will be a game-time decision on Thursday night, but after being listed as a “DNP” both Monday and Tuesday, it’s safe to assume he’s more “doubtful” than truly “questionable.”
If Mitchell plays, he has a tough path to great fantasy success. Tennessee has had a notoriously bad defense over the past two seasons, but this year, the Titans have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Its weakness is entirely in the secondary, but the front seven of the defense is one of the league’s best units. Additionally, although Mitchell has made noise in the passing game lately, he’s not a sure thing for a ton of targets now that George Kittle is fully back, so his PPR floor isn’t safe either. It’s gonna be tough to bench the 49ers’ starting RB regardless, but it’s a feasible option depending on the other guys in your start-sit conversions.
If he doesn’t play, Jeff Wilson Jr. will be the primary back once again, but obviously, the same sentiments apply here. Tennessee held Najee Harris to just 26 yards on 14 touches, so they’re a legitimately tough matchup. Even Jonathan Taylor had two quiet performances against this unit. Wilson brings next to nothing in the receiving game, too, so he’s even less likely to have a great day on Thursday if he starts.
Ultimately, this sets up to be a pass-happy game script for the 49ers, as weird as that sounds. Of course, Mitchell or Wilson could benefit from easy goal-line carries and a touchdown, but we’re not convinced the volume and yardage totals will be there. With Mitchell currently out of the rankings, we have Wilson Jr. as the RB29 in standard and RB34 PPR leagues. Mitchell would be ranked just a few spots higher, but he’d be a low-end RB2, at best. Obviously, you’re starting George Kittle and Deebo Samuel here, and Brandon Aiyuk and Jimmy Garoppolo make a lot of sense, but be cautious with the Niners’ RBs.
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