2012 Team Outlook: San Francisco
RB Kendall Hunter, NO - Bust (overvalued)
As a rookie, Hunter spelled Gore seamlessly, limiting his mileage down the stretch and keeping the veteran back fresh for the playoffs. Hunter was apprenticing well and was starting to look like the heir apparent. Now he has to hold off LaMichael James just to stay in the mix. He should make it past final cuts, but it'll be a season-long fight to carve himself a niche within the packed 49er backfield.
Update (8/7): 49ers.com reports coach Jim Harbaugh praised Hunter as a training camp standout. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman went a step further, saying, "I've never seen Kendall Hunter have a bad day or a bad snap where he wasn't totally tuned into footbal. Kendall's becoming more of a well-rounded football player. We're really glad we have him. He gets better every day."
RB LaMichael James, --- - Dynasty Only
Oregon's all-time leading rusher was deemed too small by many NFL scouts. So was Darren Sproles, a player to whom James has been favorably compared. Selected in the second round, James represents a sizeable investment and will be given plenty of chances to prove himself as a change of pace, third-down type who could make a big splash when Frank Gore gets injured.
RB Brandon Jacobs, --- - Gamble (high risk)
After just two seasons the 49ers seem ready to move on from Anthony Dixon, who was drafted to be the team's short-yardage bruiser. Brandon Jacobs will now compete with him for that role, though neither is assured of a roster spot come September. Jacobs turns 30 this summer and will have a tough time staying relevant in a crowded backfield.
WR Michael Crabtree, OAK - Solid/Safe Pick
The 49ers made receiver a position of priority this offseason. The new additions, rather than stealing valuable looks from Crabtree, will help occupy defenses and free him up. A three-wide set with Crabtree, Mario Manningham and Randy Moss could be devastating.
WR Ted Ginn Jr., CAR - Deep-league Only
A kick returner and underperforming wideout, Ginn Jr. isn't worth drafting in standard fantasy leagues.
WR A.J. Jenkins, --- - Dynasty Only
Jenkins is a high-profile rookie who will tempt owners on fantasy draft day. Just keep in mind who he's competing with. He's got all the upside in the world, but is unlikely to step in and shine from day one. Expect him to play a part-time role unless there's an injury to one of the big three veterans.