Today we bring you our first in a series of upcoming articles focusing on the dynasty value of the most intriguing players on fantasy football. Should you buy, sell, or hold? What type of value could you get for them? Are they overrated or underrated across the dynasty landscape? These are some of the questions we embark on today.
We wanted to kick this series off with Elijah Mitchell for several reasons, none more than he is a fascinating case in dynasty circles.
Elijah Mitchell was once an afterthought in dynasty drafts. NFL teams bypassed Elijah Mitchell. The 49ers finally selected Mitchell in the 6th round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Elijah Mitchell wasn’t even the first rookie running back selected on the 49ers. The 49ers selected Ohio State Buckeye hero Trey Sermon three rounds earlier. Fantasy managers drafted Trey Sermon was in the 1st rounds of rookie drafts this off-season. Mitchell slid considerably.
Further complicating matters, not only did Elijah Mitchell suffer from a poor draft capital pedigree, but he was also an older prospect at 23 years of age.
Elijah Mitchell was buried on the 49ers running back depth chart. Mitchell was behind Trey Sermon, but he was behind returning veterans Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr.
The 49ers’ backfield depth chart began thinning out as Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert sustained injuries.
Then a funny thing happened. We started to hear reports out of San Francisco that Trey Sermon wasn’t looking so hot in the 49ers’ offense. We would hear the terms sluggish, slow-footed, and lackadaisical in describing Trey Sermon leading up to the season.
Slowly the buzz began for Elijah Mitchell to the point that he would be given the starter’s workload for the 49ers, not his much more ballyhooed teammate Trey Sermon.
Elijah Mitchell put up almost 4,000 total yards and 46 touchdowns at Louisiana. Mitchell has a rare 4.32 speed that allows him to get to the outside on the Kyle Shanahan zone blocking scheme, an attribute that Shanahan views as essential to success in his running game. Mitchell began to have success at the NFL level was a surprise to many, but it should not have been.
Fantasy football is about talent–no question about it. Fantasy football is also about opportunity. When you mix Elijah Mitchell’s skill set in the Kyle Shanahan system, now we have a fantasy producer.
Elijah Mitchell boasts a 4.6 yards per carry average on 165 rushes. Mitchell has eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark four times in his nine games played, and with a strong finish, Elijah Mitchell has a shot at 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign.
The inconvenient truth is that Elijah Mitchell is about to miss his fourth game this season due to injury. It is fair to question Mitchell’s durability and if he can sustain an NFL-caliber workload.
How Elijah Mitchell finishes out the season and how he fits in the 49ers’ offense moving forward are critical questions to answer to forge his dynasty value.
The Trey Sermon elephant in the room is a non-factor for me. I believe the 49ers’ coaching staff has spoken volumes about their displeasure for Sermon and his fit in the offense and have only provided praise for Elijah Mitchell.
Elijah Mitchell is the 49ers starting running back moving forward. Should you buy, sell, or hold?
It appears that the dynasty community is taking a cautious approach to Elijah Mitchell, which could provide you with an opportunity to pounce.
Would you rather have Elijah Mitchell or Ezekiel Elliott, who appears to be on his last legs? Would you rather have Elijah Mitchell or James Robinson, who could have to deal with Travis Etienne returning next season? These are the types of questions that dynasty managers should ask themselves now, heading into the off-season, to gauge players’ proper values. I would argue in both cases that I would rather have Elijah Mitchell.
I don’t view Elijah Mitchell as a dynasty RB1, but he’s not as far off as many seem to indicate. I would have Mitchell in the RB15-17 conversation. I suggest making trade inquiries for him with this evaluation.
If your fellow dynasty managers don’t see him in the same light, you might be able to acquire him on the cheap for a 2022 2nd round rookie pick.