Carlos Hyde Is Targeted Pick in 2016 Fantasy Football Drafts

How's that fantasy football research coming along?

If you're in the mood to draft players from your favorite squad (the Niners), look no further than scooping up Pierre Garçon and Torrey Smith in your upcoming fantasy football drafts. This was the sound advice of NFL.com fantasy football editor Michael Fabiano, a recent guest on the 49ers Radio podcast.

Hyde is the 31st ranked fantasy draft pick, according to Pro Football Focus. He's also LaDainian Tomlinson's third candidate to have a breakout season in 2016. Lastly, Hyde has been selected on average as the 30.9 overall pick according to [Yahoo! Fantasy Football](average of 30.9 on yahoo fantasy drafts http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1/draftanalysis).

(By the way, you can host your very own fantasy draft on Aug. 28 at Levi's® Stadium, and if you play your cards right, Joe Fann might want to be in your league…)

Back to Hyde…

Despite only posting 470 rushing yards, 53 receiving yards and three touchdowns in just seven games last season, Fabiano believes that the 6-foot runner can produce game-winning numbers for your fantasy team in 2016.

"Carlos, to me, is the centerpiece of that offense," the NFL Network analyst explained.

Fabiano emphasized how Chip Kelly's scheme has done wonders for running backs (and their owners) in the world of fantasy football.

"Chip had two very good seasons in terms of running backs' fantasy production," Fabiano said. "LeSean McCoy was second (in fantasy points) in 2013, and he was top 12 in 2014. Last year, DeMarco Murray, he was in the top 20 in fantasy points among running backs despite the fact that he averaged something like 13 carries per game. He had Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles in there, too."

Adding confidence to Fabiano's belief in Hyde was the third-year runner's 168-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 1 of the 2015 regular season against a stingy Minnesota Vikings rush defense.

"If you watched him in that first game last year, everyone was like, 'Whoa, this is going to be a breakout guy.' People were trying to trade for him," Fabiano said. "Well, he has to be more durable. I think that is going to be the main issue for the Ohio State product. If he can stay on the field for 14 games, I can't see him not rushing for 1,000 yards in that offense. I can't see him not producing somewhere in the neighborhood of 7, 8, 9 touchdowns in that offense."

Kelly's impact on the offensive side of the ball also makes Smith an intriguing candidate in fantasy drafts. Smith was ranked 90th overall in PFF's Fantasy Football rankings.

"Chip Kelly definitely helps the wide receiver position as well," Fabiano said. "We've seen wide receivers put up pretty big numbers under Chip Kelly.

"Torrey could see more targets than he's ever seen dating back to his time in Baltimore," the fantasy analyst added. "(He) could end up being a bargain."

As for other Niners to consider, Fabiano mentioned tight end Garrett Celek and the winner of the quarterback competition between Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick.

"There's going to be some players that the Niners have that are going to help your fantasy team," Fabiano said. "Hyde is No. 1. Smith is No. 2. Tight ends become pretty deep, but Vance McDonald has shown some signs. … There were some games last year where Blaine Gabbert was putting up 16-17 fantasy points. You always have to pay attention to everyone."

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