The San Francisco 49ers offense will need one of the quarterbacks to emerge, but running back Carlos Hyde will also be plenty important. And of the 49ers current roster of players, Hyde is the most likely to be a significant impact player in fantasy football. He will be the starting running back, and there are enough questions behind him that it is safe to say he will get plenty of touches.
The Pro Football Focus fantasy team put together five bold statements about running backs. Hyde was among the five included, with the header "Don't sleep on Hyde." I've posted the Hyde portion down below. They talked about his impressive elusive rating, which through two seasons has been among the league leaders. They view Hyde as a "solid early/mid-round target" in fantasy drafts this year.
If healthy, I completely concur that he could be a strong fantasy running back. He'll be drafted as a No. 2 running back, but if healthy, he has the ability to be a No. 1 fantasy back. Of course, that's the rub. Can he stay healthy. The foot injury derailed his 2015 season, but all indications are that he is fully recovered. And while he could very well stay healthy moving forward, his bulldozing running style will keep us at least moderately concerned about his health this year and beyond.
Here's what PFF had to say about Hyde's fantasy chances in 2016:
When healthy, Carlos Hyde has quietly emerged as one of the best individual running back in the NFL, independent of his blocking, game flow and supporting cast. He’s fully healthy now after battling a foot issue that derailed his 2015 season, and he’s reportedly dropped a significant amount of weight to prepare himself for Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. Will his real-life success finally lead to sustained fantasy success? Kelly’s track record with running backs would certainly say so.
As a rookie playing behind Frank Gore, Hyde racked up 25 forced missed tackles on just 82 carries and finished with a 2.82 Yco/Att average. Only two running backs who finished with more carries than Hyde also finished with a better elusive rating. In his second season, after taking over the lead back role, it was more of the same for Hyde before the injury. He forced 35 missed tackles on 126 total touches — this time getting more involved in the passing game — and compiled a 2.83 Yco/Att average. There wasn’t a single running back who finished with more carries and a higher elusive rating than Hyde, and of all the running backs with at least 50 carries, only Marshawn Lynch bested him.
Conclusion: Hyde is one of the most talented pure runners in the NFL, capable of creating on his own, and in Kelly’s RB-friendly scheme, he is a solid early/mid-round target.