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Carlos Hyde Faceoff

Devin Knotts and Jason Wood offer differing views of Carlos Hyde

The staff members at Footballguys are full of opinions. In a Faceoff, we allow two members to voice their opinions on a specific player. One picked the high side, and the other took the low side.

High Side by Devin Knotts

Carlos Hyde set the football world on fire in week one of 2015 where he had 168 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota. He showed why he was a second-round draft pick in 2014, as he averaged 6.5 yards per carry and caused many fantasy players to trade for him after this performance. Unfortunately for Hyde and those that traded for him this was the only time he was able to exceed 100 yards on the season, as his season was hindered by injuries which shortened his first season as a starter. Hyde is currently being undervalued as he has the potential to be a number one running back on your fantasy team this season.

With new coach Chip Kelly coming to San Francisco who has a history of running the football, there is a lot to be excited about for Hyde heading into the 2016 season. Kelly’s teams have been top 10 in rushing touchdowns for each of his three years as a coach in the NFL. The first thing that Hyde has working for him is the volume of touches that he will be asked to handle. There really is no other running back in San Francisco that will challenge Hyde for touches as they have a very inexperienced group of backups with Mike Davis and Kelvin Taylor. Hyde will likely be asked to carry the ball around 18 times per game which would put him in the top five of rushing attempts and should receive most of the goal line work as he is the biggest running back on the team. Chip Kelly has also said that he believes Hyde can be a three-down back who catches the ball out of the backfield. While we don’t expect him to become a major part of the receiving game as this is not something he has shown the ability to do, if he is able to catch 30-40 passes this season it will greatly add to his fantasy value.

A good potential comparison for Carlos Hyde would be the 2015 Adrian Peterson with about 40 fewer carries. Peterson had 327 carries for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns. This would put Carlos Hyde at 287 carries for 1,303 yards and 11 touchdowns which would easily be a running back one for next season.

Low Side by Jason Wood

It’s easy to understand why someone might fall into the Carlos Hyde trap this season. He’s a young runner with plenty of talent, and now has a head coach in Chip Kelly that most view as an offensive genius. Yet, I would argue that Hyde is a high risk, low reward prospect at his current ADP. The main flaw in the Upside view of Hyde is a belief that Chip Kelly is going to field a competent offense in San Francisco. Kelly showed in Philadelphia that he’s a flawed coach prone to hubris in the form of forcing personnel into his system versus adapting his play-calling to suit the abilities of the roster. That fatal flaw can be overcome on a talent-laden roster, but the 49ers have one of the most suspect offensive rosters in the NFC. At quarterback, the team is seriously considering going with Blaine Gabbert. If Gabbert is on even footing with Colin Kaepernick entering training camp; that’s more of a condemnation of Kaepernick than an endorsement of Gabbert. The offensive line is a mess, at least until Anthony Davis “unretires” as has been rumored. But the biggest issue is the complete lack of talent in the receiving corps. Torrey Smith is the team’s best receiver, by a longshot. Simply put, the 49ers stand a great chance of being one of the NFC’s worst teams, and that’s not a recipe for success for Hyde (or the ground game overall).

Even if you think Hyde has the talent to transcend an awful supporting cast, his injury history gives pause. He was banged up periodically at Ohio State, and has missed 11 games in his first two NFL seasons; including nine games last year with a broken foot that required surgery.

The other issue is whether Hyde is truly a good fit for Chip Kelly’s scheme. The Eagles used major dollars on DeMarco Murray only to see the team split carries liberally between Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. In order for Hyde to be a true 3-down back, he’ll need to prove himself as a receiver in ways we’ve never seen on film. Hyde never caught more than 16 passes as a collegian and has just 23 catches in 21 games as a pro. Hyde is a talented young runner, but his running style, injury history, weak supporting cast and megalomaniacal coach all but guarantee he’ll disappoint anyone drafting him as a high upside RB2.