Hyde & Seek: Should Owners Worry About Fantasy Production?
In the 2014 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected RB Carlos Hyde in the second round with the 57th overall pick. Hyde, a big and versatile runner out of Ohio State, was drafted to be the replacement to long-time San Francisco RB Frank Gore once he left town.
At 6’0” 230 pounds, Hyde drew comparisons to Ricky Williams during the draft process. With exceptional power, superb balance, and soft hands catching the football out of the backfield, Hyde had the looks of a three down RB in the NFL.
In a solid rookie year while splitting time with Gore, Hyde totaled four touchdowns and 333 yards on just 83 carries. He even showed off his receiving skills, notching 12 receptions on 16 targets.
Now, Frank Gore has signed with the Indianapolis Colts, and Carlos Hyde sits atop the 49ers’ RB depth chart. While Hyde is the anticipated bell cow, it was to be expected that San Francisco would draft or sign another RB to help carry the load. But when San Francisco signed free agent Reggie Bush, it left many owners wondering if Bush will take enough touches away from Hyde to drop Hyde from the RB1 tier.
The signing of Bush wasn’t the only notable roster move of the offseason. Multiple players retired or moved on in free agency, so the 2015 49ers will look vastly different than the 49ers of recent memory. With all of the changes in Carlos Hyde’s situation, what is his fantasy value for 2015?
Carlos Hyde’s 2015 ADP
As of June 10, 2015, My Fantasy League reports the following average draft position for Carlos Hyde:
- Redraft leagues: 4.01 RB12
- Dynasty leagues: 3.07 RB19
- MFL10 leagues: 3.07, RB13
Can Carlos Hyde be the 12th best fantasy RB this season?
Over the past two seasons, the RB12 in PPR leagues has averaged 217 PPR points. Last season, Hyde averaged 0.8 fantasy points per touch. So if we take that rate, Hyde would need approximately 271 touchesto reach 217 PPR points.
Can Hyde get 271 touches this season?
On a great team, it’s attainable. But.. San Francisco’s Vegas Win Total for 2015 is 7 games It’s safe to say it’s been a tumultuous off-season for the 49ers. Along with coaches in new positions in 2015, the 49ers lost four players to retirement (what!?) – Chris Borland, Patrick Willis, Anthony Davis, and Justin Smith.
With this turnover and roster development, The LV Superbook in Vegas opened San Francisco’s 2015 win total at seven games. With money pouring in on the “under,” it’s easy to project a losing season for the 49ers. I decided to take a look at the top 12 RBs from each season for the past two years – how many of them played on losing teams?
For the 2013 and 2014 seasons, 19 of the top 24 PPR RBs played on teams with a record of .500 or above.
Hyde is talented, but unless you’re Adrian Peterson or you catch 70 balls, it’s tough to overcome your team’s deficiencies and post an RB1 fantasy season.
The Reggie Bush Impact
As recently as June 11, Reggie Bush was working with the first team in OTAs. However, don’t get too worked up if you’re a Hyde owner. Hyde has been nursing a minor leg injury and missed part of the OTAs.
Head coach Jim Tomsula was advised by vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson, and by team doctors, that Hyde was healthy and should be allowed to practice. When the VP of football operations is dictating a player’s practice status to a head coach, you know he’s vital to the team.
Reggie Bush will very likely get most of the third down opportunities when he’s available. The problem is that he’s not usually available for 16 games.
Over his 9-year career, Bush has played 16 games just twice. On average, he plays 12.9 games per season.
It’s likely that we’ll see Carlos Hyde with 3-down duty in a couple of games this year, making him more likely to reach RB1 territory during those weeks.
New Offensive Coordinator Geep Chryst
When a new offensive coordinator steps in, there is always a question of how they will utilize their players. Fortunately for us, Chryst has been the 49ers’ quarterback coach for the past four years, so most of the player involvement and play calling should stay the same.
Also, Chryst was an offensive coordinator in the NFL before (albeit 15 years ago) for the San Diego Chargers.
I took a look back to see if Chryst utilized a receiving RB any more than usual. In 1999, Natrone Means was the lead back for the Chargers for the first seven games before going down with an injury. Over his career, Means averaged 17.1 touches per game.
In 1999 with Chryst as his OC, Means averaged 17.2 touches/game – right in line with his career average. To note, 17.2 touches/game equates to 275 touches for the season, just what we’d need for Hyde to reach RB1 territory.
These touches also came with two major obstacles for Means – a mediocre Chargers team that finished 8-8 and a receiving RB to take third down snaps in Terrell Fletcher, who caught 45 passes that year.
This situation is eerily similar to Hyde’s situation in 2015. Let’s just hope that the 2015 49ers finish closer to 8-8, rather than the 2000 Chryst-led Chargers who finished 1-15.
Would I Draft Carlos Hyde Today?
I’m a believer in Hyde’s talent and this article should not serve as a deterrent to Hyde’s dynasty owners. I think he’s fantastic value as RB19 in startup formats. But after reviewing the evidence, I’m passing on Hyde’s redraft ADP of 3.07 and RB12. While the Reggie Bush OTA hype is unwarranted, as he won’t be a huge hindrance to Carlos Hyde’s fantasy value, the state of the 49ers is a major concern. With Vegas and recent history aligning, it appears unlikely that Hyde can live up to his 2015 ADP.
Brian has been playing fantasy football for 16 years and commissioned his first fantasy league at age 12. When he’s not writing about sports, you can find him playing every daily fantasy sport and participating in high stakes fantasy football contests. Brian won more than 1,000 NFL contests on FanDuel last season and has won multiple league championships in the Footballguys Player Championship contest. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Brian usually spends his winters agonizing over Terrapins basketball. When the weather is warmer, Brian is known for his receiving prowess in flag football leagues on the National Mall in Washington, DC.