Now that we are into July, we are getting that much closer to the start of the NFL and fantasy football. That means fantasy football rankings are slowly being released. Pro Football Focus is the latest with a look at the top 101 fantasy football players for the 2016 season. The list included two members of the San Francisco 49ers, with Carlos Hyde listed at No. 31, and Torrey Smith listed at No. 90.
PFF had 11 writers provide rankings. Hyde ranked as high as 21 and as low as 46. He ranked 13 among running backs. They picked a different notable stat for each player in the rankings, and for Hyde it was that he forced missed tackles 27.8 percent of the time, which was the most often in 2015 among still active running backs. Additionally, since 2014, only Marshawn Lynch has a better elusive rating than Hyde.
PFF has been bullish on Hyde’s fantasy prospects all offseason. They see the broken tackles and elusive rating, and suggest a guy who is an early-to-mid round option this year. They see a guy who will be playing in an offense that suits him, but also suggest he might be the most elusive running back Chip Kelly has coached at the NFL level.
Smith ranked as high as high as 61, and was left unranked by some. Among wide receivers he was ranked 42. The 49ers added him to bring the most serious deep threat the team had in some time, but the offense as a whole was a mess. Smith ranked fifth among wide receivers in average yards after the catch, at 6.8, but there were just not enough opportunities to make big plays. Smith was targeted 61 times last season, which was easily a career low. His previous low was 93 in his final season with the Ravens.
Late last month, we took a look at some random fantasy football-related stats from ESPN’s Matt Berry:
Over the course of Chip Kelly’s three seasons in Philadelphia, the Eagles had a different leading receiver in each season, and each receiver set numerous career highs in their given year. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jordan Matthews, respectively, set career highs in targets, receptions, and yards, and matched a career high in touchdowns. If Smith were to match those performances, he would potentially finish with at least 66 receptions for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns.
It is entirely possible another receiver steps up and benefits in the Chip Kelly offense. But, if Smith remains healthy, there seems to be almost no chance he is anywhere near his 2016 career low in targets.