California Dynasty Gold Rush
While the 49ers have established themselves in NFL circles as a roster comprised of elite talent on both sides of the ball, current ADP would suggest that San Francisco’s offensive skill position players are being undervalued relative to their long term outlooks. In particular, Colin Kapernick, Carlos Hyde, and Michael Crabtree are all worth inquiring on at their current prices.
Kaepernick is perhaps the greatest value of the bunch, coming as just the eleventh quarterback off the board in dynasty drafts. There are only a handful of signal callers who have as much physical ability as Kaepernick, but Jim Harbaugh has yet to really open up the full playbook for him, at least during the regular season. The Niners have been a predominately run heavy team in recent years.
That is set to change this year, with the 49ers coaching staff already publicly stating that the offense will be more open in Kaepernick’s second full year as a starter. Like Cam Newton, his production on the ground (fourth among quarterbacks with 524 yards rushing in 2013) gives him a significant inherent advantage in fantasy production over other signal callers. Last year, he had the 5th highest quarterback fantasy points per opportunity (attempts plus rushes) in the league, meaning he is a good bet to capitalize on the extra chances as Harbaugh dusts off unseen parts of his aerial attack. The team added Stevie Johnson, and Michael Crabtree is reportedly healthy. If Kaepernick hones his raw ability as a passer, he has as much upside as any signal caller in the league, making him well worth a low end QB1 price given his youth and improved weaponry.
While Marcus Lattimore seizing the reigns of an NFL backfield after his two devastating injuries in college would make for a good story, the shoe does not seem to fit this Cinderella following concerns from Lattimore himself that he’s “not all the way back, physically or mentally.” Less than a week after those comments, San Francisco made Carlos Hyde their second round pick. Many analysts and scouts had Hyde as their top ranked back pre-draft, and he was pretty much the only player at his position to be consistently mocked in the first round.
The Ohio State alumni is being selected almost 20 picks after top ranked rookie Bishop Sankey in dynasty start ups as the 21st running back off the board. That gap is much too large given their talents and shows that the dynasty community is falling victim to shortsightedness with the near term opportunity that Sankey has. While the 49ers backfield may seem crowded, it really isn’t long term. With Gore’s age/usage and Lattimore’s physical limitations, Hyde is the guy to own, and his ADP does not currently reflect that. Recent reports on Hyde may soon have this ADP on the rise, but I think he is still worth investing in as a mid to high end dynasty RB2.
The time to buy Crabtree at a basement bargain price has passed, but he is still lasting too long in dynasty drafts as the 21st receiver drafted. Lest we forget that before his devastating offseason Achilles injury last year he was coming off a top five fantasy receiver season in 2012, where he took off after Kaepernick was inserted as the starter. In five games coming off of that major injury, Crabtree hauled in 19 grabs for 284 yards, good for an impressive 14.95 yards per catch. With a return to full health, Crabtree stands to gain the most from Harbaugh letting Kaepernick loose. At just 26 years of age (27 in September) and tied to a young quarterback, Crabtree makes for a strong dynasty WR2, but he’s being priced cheaper than that. Take advantage.
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All ADP Data courtesy of DynastyLeagueFootball.com