It's a good thing that the San Francisco 49ers selected two running backs in this year's draft – Trey Sermon in the third round and Elijah Mitchell in Round 6 – because starting tailback and injury-prone Raheem Mostert will undergo season-ending surgery after getting injured in the Week 1 win over Detroit? The Niners are 3.5-point favorites this Sunday in Philadelphia.
Mostert had two carries for 20 yards against the Lions before leaving. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday that Mostert would miss around eight games with chipped knee cartilage, but on Tuesday Mostert said he would have surgery to end his season. The 30-year-old will become a free agent this winter. Good player when healthy as he showed in a breakout 2019 season but has not been able to stay on the field. He was limited to eight games in 2020.
Mitchell will likely be one of the top Fantasy pickups of the week because in a surprise he was the main beneficiary of Mostert going out Sunday. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Mitchell, who played collegiately at Louisiana, had 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Sermon, from Ohio State, was a shocking inactive after coaches largely raved about him in camp. He was the backup to Mostert most of it. Apparently, Sermon sat because he didn't bring as much special teams value as Mitchell and JaMycal Hasty.
"He really showed some stuff in the preseason and looked good, and then Elijah came in and looked a little bit ahead of him on the limited plays that he got and no one was passing up Raheem," Shanahan said. "So, you only can get three guys up. It's not an easy decision, but that's part of the NFL. It's a matter of time. We haven't gotten through a year here where we haven't started at least four backs, and now we're in Week 2 and he's up regardless."
Sermon surely will be active for Sunday's game now. Another potential tailback option, Jeff Wilson, is on injured reserve due to knee surgery and won't be ready for several weeks.
San Francisco also lost cornerback Jason Verrett to a season-ending torn ACL vs. Detroit. Could that lead the Niners to bring back free-agent Richard Sherman? Not yet as the team instead signed Dre Kirkpatrick. He started 11 games at corner for the Cardinals in 2020.
On Sunday, the Niners will look to end a six-game ATS losing streak as favorites.
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