News: 5 days agoMcKinnon has looked sharp running routes through the first few days of training camp, according to Cam Inman of The Mercury News.
Spin: After missing the past two seasons with knee injuries, McKinnon is already earning praise from starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who said the 28-year-old "runs [routes] differently than most running backs" and "has a feel that's like a receiver." Passing downs represent McKinnon's clearest path to a significant Week 1 role, considering Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman combined for only 41 catches last season. The 49ers have used Kyle Juszczyk as the lone back on third downs at times, and while his reliable hands and blocking make the fullback a reasonable choice for that role, he can't come close to matching McKinnon's speed and agility. The team also has Jeff Wilson, JaMycal Hasty and Salvon Ahmed hoping to earn depth roles, so McKinnon could be on the roster bubble if his strong start to camp doesn't hold up.
ESPN Fantasy Projection: McKinnon signed a pricy contract with San Francisco prior to the 2018 season but has yet to play a snap for the team due to injury. Following a contract restructure, McKinnon will attempt another comeback in 2020. Even prior to the injury struggles, the 5-foot-9, 212-pound McKinnon had never exceeded 159 carries in a season and averaged 3.59 YPC (worst among backs), including 1.50 after contact (second worst) on 309 carries during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. McKinnon's receiving volume has been terrific, but his efficiency has been weak (5.2 YPT). The 49ers' run-heavy offense is attractive, but McKinnon's lengthy absence and the presences of Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman make fantasy relevance a long shot.