The San Francisco 49ers offense is a huge question mark, but one guy we know will get a lot of touches is running back Carlos Hyde. His durability is a concern, but we know he will enter training camp as the No. 1 running back.
Training camp gets going on July 31, with the 49ers first preseason game set for August 14. Fantasy drafts will be going on throughout August (and some will start even before then), but the bulk of fantasy drafts occur the weekends of August 26 and September 2. When late August gets here, we'll see how average draft position looks. In the meantime, I am curious how people will look at Hyde as they eventually prepare for their fantasy football drafts.
I took a quick look around, and Hyde is currently situated in the teens for the running back position. ESPN fantasy writer Eric Karabell ranks him No. 17. ESPN fantasy writer Matthew Berry ranks him No. 13. Rotoworld fantasy writer Evan Silva ranks him No. 17. Karabell put together his own Top 150, and ranked Hyde No. 39, while Silva ranked him No. 43. For traditional 12-team re-draft leagues, that's somewhere in the fourth round.
Hyde will get plenty of work, but the chances to the 49ers offense could open the door for more effective opportunities. Back in March, Pro Football Focus looked at how defensive packages impacted running back yards per carry in 2015. Carlos Hyde faced defenses featuring fewer than five defensive backs 86 percent of his snaps, which was the second highest to Antonio Andrews. This coming season, he gets a Chip Kelly offense where he is likely to see an extra defensive back instead of an extra linebacker a majority of the time. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry against nickel defenses, and he is going to see a sizable chunk in 2016.
Whether you care about fantasy football or not, it makes for an intriguing year for Hyde. If he can stay healthy, he could be in for a huge year. But it remains a big if for Hyde. That bruising style helps him gain some of those yards, but it also can potentially wear him down. From a fantasy perspective, it makes him quite the gamble.