Normally, a move from a team that went to the NFC championship game to a team that went 6-10 wouldn’t be considered a boon to a running back’s fantasy stock. But McKinnon figures to get more opportunities in Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco offense than he had as a platoon back in Minnesota last year, as indicated by the four-year, $30-million investment the 49ers made in him. Shanahan has gushed about McKinnon’s pass-catching abilities, and McKinnon’s elusiveness gives him upside in the running game, too. Shanahan has talked about using McKinnon in the same sort of role Devonta Freeman played when Shanahan was coordinating the Atlanta offense in 2015-16.
McKinnon’s single-season high in carries is 159, and it’s hard to see him stretching that number much higher, even in a somewhat expanded role. At 5-9 and 205 pounds, McKinnon isn’t built to be a between-the-tackles grinder and will probably split carries with other backs on early downs.
The move to San Francisco bodes well for McKinnon, who now gets to play what should be a bigger role for the innovative Shanahan in an up-and-coming offense.