2014 Outlook: Taken in total, Bush's first year in Detroit was a success. For the first time in his career, he eclipsed both 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season. But it was a bit of a wild ride. Bush missed two games with knee and calf injuries and also battled fumble issues. Most disconcerting was the emergence of Joique Bell, in whom the Lions made a significant investment this winter. While Bush is still a devastating receiver and lightning-quick in space, Bell is a better pure ball carrier. Bush deserves to be a fantasy starter in all leagues, but this is shaping up as a committee.
2014 Outlook: Big Vern was the No. 2 TE in fantasy last year, quite a rebound from his No. 15 ranking in 2012. It turns out all those theories suggesting Davis and Colin Kaepernick couldn't coexist were as ridiculous as they sounded. The duo seemed to like each other just fine inside the red zone, where Davis scored 9 of his 13 TDs. In a run-heavy offense with Michael Crabtree healthy and Stevie Johnson aboard, we'd argue that Davis won't be a top source of yardage or receptions. But the possibility of double-digit TDs keeps him elite.
2014 Outlook: Last season Smith averaged 17.4 yards per catch, behind only Josh Gordon (18.9) and Calvin Johnson (17.8) among players who caught 50-plus balls. Not bad company. The only thing that kept Smith from WR1 status? He faced so much double coverage that Joe Flacco targeted him only 130 times, tied for 20th. The addition of Steve Smith and the renewed health of Dennis Pitta should make the double-teams a little less frequent.
2014 Outlook: Boldin had a late-career revival last season, putting up his highest number of targets (128) and yards (1,179) since 2006. And he did it with a nice variety, scoring 86 fantasy points on short passes (seventh in the NFL) and compiling 593 yards on vertical throws (21st). So why do we have him ranked so low? For starters, the 49ers aren't going to throw the ball a lot; they ranked last in the NFL last season with 417 pass attempts. And Boldin's opportunities will only shrink with Michael Crabtree back to 100 percent, the addition of Stevie Johnson and the presence of Vernon Davis, coming off a 13-TD season.
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: Simpson showed off his big-play ability early last season, posting 22 of his 32 fantasy points on vertical throws. Things went south after that, as he compiled only 22 such points over the season's final 12 games. Cordarrelle Patterson is partly to blame for the decline; his emergence as a rookie moved Simpson into a backup role, which he still occupies. New O-coordinator Norv Turner is a master at using vertical pass catchers, but keep in mind that Simpson could be facing a suspension after his Nov. 9 arrest on a drunken driving charge.
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.