Carlos Hyde's 2017 Fantasy Outlook -
One of the hottest topics of discussion heading into the 2017 fantasy season is San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde. Since the beginning of 2015 season, Hyde has started just 20 of 32 games. Hyde ranked 24th in fantasy points per game in 2015, and 11th in 2016. Not too bad for a guy with an ADP of RB17.
Hyde isn't a great receiver, catching just a little over 2 passes per game in 2016. The good news for Hyde is that he has an offensive mastermind as his head coach (Kyle Shanahan.) Shanahan figures to change the culture in San Francisco after transforming the Atlanta Falcons into an elite offense in 2016. Offseason reports, however, are not in Hyde's favor. There are reports that there will be an RBBC, that new rookie Joe Williams is Shanahan's guy, and that Hyde is slowly being phased out by Shanahan. The weird thing is that none of these reports have come from anyone of any significance inside the SF front office.
These are merely beat writers that are saying this about Hyde. Let's take a look at what Kyle Shanahan said regarding Hyde in late March: "Right now, I see Carlos being our back. We've studied a lot of the guys on tape. He's the guy that's got the most. Carlos is a guy who I was a fan of coming out of college. He had a real good career there. I looked at him hard when, I think I was in Cleveland at the time and had a good feeling he was going to be a great back yet." He also later added that Hyde still has room to grow. He added that "I look forward to having him and getting to work with him." That sounds promising, right? After all, Shanahan is the guy who will decide what Hyde's role is, not newspaper writers.
Coincidentally, there were similar reports about Tevin Coleman, a similar runner to Joe Williams, being Atlanta's guy over Devonta Freeman. While Coleman did get looks, Shanahan still managed to produce a top-6 fantasy back in Devonta Freeman. It was also evident that Carlos Hyde did not fit in Chip Kelly's system. Kelly likes to play FAST, out of the shotgun, and no huddle. Hyde is a bruising back, as he's broken the 6th most tackles in the NFL since 2014. That's why I think the addition of Kyle Juszczyk will benefit Hyde. The addition of a true fullback will persuade the 49ers to run between the tackles, where Hyde specializes. Hyde has certainly shown the potential to be a workhorse, as his carries per game would've put him at 7th in the league, had he played a full season.
While some people are worried about injuries, I am not, because injuries are near impossible to predict. In OTA's, Hyde was dominating first-team reps the entire time. As Kyle Shanahan stated, we have not seen Carlos Hyde reach his full potential. He still has room to grow, whether that's in durability, receiving, or agility. As I noted earlier, Carlos Hyde isn't a superb receiver. But, Devonta Freeman also improved as a receiver when under Kyle Shanahan. Overall, I'm buying Carlos Hyde in 2017. He has a surprisingly low ADP for a guy in a new system with plenty of talent. Some people are worried about Joe Williams stealing looks, but like I said, Tevin Coleman stole looks in Atlanta. I trust Kyle Shanahan to produce at least a top-20 season from Carlos Hyde. As for Hyde's 2017 fantasy outlook, he is a slight risk, but he has a relatively high floor and a ceiling of a top-10 back.