2013 Team Outlook: San Francisco 49ers
QB Colt McCoy, WAS - Low Potential
McCoy was thrown to the wolves his first two NFL seasons in Cleveland and his development as a pro QB may have suffered. Certainly his pride suffered after he was shuffled aside in 2012 to make way for Brandon Weeden. He'll have much better support in San Francisco and, though he's no longer considered starter material, will have the chance to progress under the tutelage of acclaimed quarterback guru Jim Harbaugh.
QB Colin Kaepernick, --- - Stud (low risk)
After an outstanding rookie campaign and Super Bowl run, Kaepernick's stock is through the roof. The loss of Michael Crabtree hurts somewhat, but is offset a bit by the offseason acquisition of Anquan Boldin. Boldin makes a fantastic target for a player like Kaepernick who may be on the move during his throwing motion. A big, reliable target to pair up with Vernon Davis will make things easier on Kaepernick to adjust to the loss of Michael Crabtree. Though his rushing ability makes him a fantasy darling, Kaepernick will need to find a consistent downfield target and Crabtree fill-in. His style of play is so dynamic that defenses will have to re-think how they game plan the entire 49ers offense. We feel the sky is the limit for Kaepernick this season. Draft him with confidence. Sit back and enjoy the show.
RB Frank Gore, IND - Solid/Safe Pick
Frank Gore has been remarkably consistent during his eight-year NFL career. Despite concerns about age, injuries and competition in the backfield, he continues to be among the most productive and reliable backs in the league. Gore has recorded 1,200 or more rushing yards in back-to-back seasons and even entering his age 30 season remains one of the safest fantasy RBs on summer draft boards. If he's there sitting for you in the 4th round, go ahead and take him, but don't overpay this season.
RB Kendall Hunter, --- - Gamble (high risk)
Updated (8-26): Three rushes for 13 yards doesn't sound like much; It isn't. But it's how Hunter, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last season, looked physically during his preseason debut that matters. Apparently he looked "sharp" enough to reclaim his backup duties behind Frank Gore. LaMichael James remains in the mix, but Hunter is the handcuff Gore owners should target.
Preview - Hunter is another Achilles tendon victim. He tore his in November and was finally cleared to participate in team drill August 10. If he's healthy by the start of season, he should supplant LaMichael James for second chair RB duties. With an injury so severe, it's a big if.
RB LaMichael James, --- - Bye Week Fill-in
James didn't see the field until Week 14 last season and was a strict change-of-pace back from then on. He'll slide in behind Frank Gore on the depth chart if Kendall Hunter's Achilles hasn't healed by opening day.
WR Michael Crabtree, BAL - Dynasty Only
A freshly minted superstar, Crabtree was pushing to be one of the first wide receivers off the board in fantasy drafts this summer, but will now miss most or all of 2013 after tearing his Achilles tendon during OTA's. Score one for the holdouts. Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles last season and was back on the field just five months after surgery -- a remarkable recovery from an injury that can sometimes be career ending. Best to temper your expectations with Crabtree and plan instead for his return in 2014.