2014 Outlook: Late in his career, Gore just keeps defying logic. In his age-30 season, he submitted his third straight year of 16 games played and 8 or more rushing TDs. The Niners have preserved Gore by essentially removing him from the game plan in passing situations. And now players like Carlos Hyde, Kendall Hunter and Marcus Lattimore threaten to assume more of the early-down workload too. The touchdowns still figure to be there for a bruiser on a good offense, but it wouldn't be a shock to see Gore's yardage slip.
2014 Outlook: Considered by many to be the top RB in the 2014 draft, Hyde landed in an awful spot for his short-term fantasy value. Frank Gore is still chugging along for the 49ers, Kendall Hunter remains by the Bay and Marcus Lattimore is trying to return from injury. A 230-pound thumper with one-cut ability, Hyde, who had 35 TDs in his final two seasons at Ohio State, evokes comparisons with Stephen Davis. Someday he might be a backfield bell cow -- and he should be a first-round rookie pick in dynasty leagues -- but this year he can't even lay claim to clear handcuff status.
2014 Outlook: After the 2010 college football season, Lattimore looked like a future top-10 pick, having run through SEC defenses with a rare size/speed/moves combo. Unfortunately, he tore up both knees before he could skip to the pros, and the second incident was a horrific shredding of his right ACL, MCL and PCL. After sitting out his rookie year with the Niners, Lattimore is reportedly running well in a straight line, though whether he'll ever recapture his elusiveness is a question. Frank Gore, 31, is still the bell cow by the Bay, and Kendall Hunter is in the backup mix. But the 49ers want to ease in Lattimore too. Fully healthy, he and rookie Carlos Hyde look like the RBs of the future.
2014 Outlook: After three seasons, it's probably time to admit that the Niners don't view Hunter as a future full-time back. That's a shame. Sure, he's on the smaller side (5-7, 199), but he doesn't run like a little guy. His 1.83 yards after contact over the past three years is a better mark than those of Arian Foster, Steven Jackson and, yes, Frank Gore. Nevertheless, the 49ers will ride Gore again in 2013, and if the 31-year-old falters, Hunter will have to fight rookie Carlos Hyde and rehabbing Marcus Lattimore for touches. That makes it tough to trust Hunter even as a handcuff.