How Should You Move Forward with Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde in Fantasy Football?

The 49er running backs have been poor producers thus far, but are things about to change?

Frank Gore has been the lead back for the San Francisco 49ers for what seems like an eternity. It’s his 10th season in the Bay Area, and he’s been as consistent as can be for the 49ers. But with over 10,000 yards and 60 touchdowns in his career, fans have to figure he won’t be playing on Sundays for a whole lot longer.

When the 49ers drafted Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde with the 57th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, he seemed to be the heir apparent to replace Gore once he retires. Let's dive into that backfield situation.

Production Thus Far

Through the first seven games of the year, the production from Gore and Hyde has been pretty atrocious. Among running backs with at least 20 carries, both San Francisco running backs rank in the bottom 20 in Net Expected Points. NEP is numberFire’s very own metric that measures how much a player puts his team in a better position to score each time they touch the ball. To learn more about NEP and numberFire’s metrics, head over to our glossary.

PlayerRushing NEPRushing NEP RankTotal NEPTotal NEP Rank
Frank Gore-11.0370th (of 77)-5.0064th (of 77)
Carlos Hyde-7.5862nd (of 77)-10.2974th (of 77)

These statistics show that, between the two running backs, they've accounted for a loss of over 18 expected points this season once they touch the ball. That’s not looking good for what people expected to be a nice complementary running back committee.

Although Gore’s NEP numbers don’t look great, he is still average 4.1 yards per carry with 423 yards on 102 attempts this season, which is good for 24th in the league among the 55 qualified running backs. Hyde, however, ranks 49th in the same category, only averaging 3.4 yards.

One outstanding positive about Hyde, though, deals with his yards after contact. He has five or more yards after contact on 20.8% of his carries, which leads the entire NFL. If the 49ers start feeding him the ball more, he may be able to take advantage of that and put up some bigger numbers.

Upcoming Schedule

If we take a look at the remaining games on the San Francisco schedule, it doesn’t bode too well for the running backs. Of the last nine games, six of the defenses ranking in the top half of the league in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP (adjusted for strength of schedule), and all but one of their opponents are ranked in the top 19.

OpponentAdjusted Defensive Rushing NEP Rank
St. Louis Rams11th
New Orleans Saints24th
New York Giants18th
Washington Redskins14th
Seattle Seahawks3rd
Oakland Raiders15th
Seattle Seahawks3rd
San Diego Chargers19th
Arizona Cardinals9th

What to Do in Fantasy Football

So far in standard scoring leagues, Gore has ranked 25th among running backs in scoring, making him a low-end RB2 or flex option. Hyde has ranked 56th, which puts him on the bench or on the waiver wire in most leagues.

If you take a look at numberFire’s remaining year running back projections, you will see Gore and Hyde projected to finish in about the same spot they are in now. Gore is ranked one spot higher at 24th (72.07 projected fantasy points), and Hyde is in the exact same position at 56th with 35.88 projected fantasy points.

If San Francisco stops relying on quarterback Colin Kaepernick and going away from the running game (1.20 pass-to-run ratio this year versus 0.90 last year), both Gore and Hyde may be able to improve their numbers. But as it stands, they both seem like their production will stay about what it has been thus far. Gore should continue to be the main guy and produce RB2 or flex numbers, while Hyde should continue to ride your bench or even cut in smaller leagues. His value seems limited and should only be a starter if Gore gets injured and is out for a significant amount of time.