49ers 4th round pick likely to be starter in 2014
I hope Dynasty leaguers looking for a real fantasy football sleeper for beyond the 2013 season were paying attention to the 2013 NFL Draft. Because if they were, they would notice that the San Francisco 49ers struck some gold. First they get the Dallas Cowboys to give up the 18th overall pick for ridiculously cheap, and then they waited until the 4th round to select potentially the best RB in this draft.
South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore was widely considered to be amongst the best RB's in this draft class but because of knee injuries, he likely wasn't going to be able to play much, if at all, in 2013. This caused him to slide on draft day, all the way to the 49ers in round 4. It was superbly brilliant by the 49ers to select him.
I fully expect Lattimore is going to start the 2013 season on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and then long about week 8 or so, the 49ers will decide whether to activate him or place him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. The smart money is that barring any injuries to the RB's already in San Francisco (Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, and Anthony Dixon) Lattimore will go on IR so he can be brought back at full strength in 2014. At that time, he could very well challenge Gore for the starting RB spot. Gore will be 31 years old by the 2014 season and will be in the final year of his contract. Lattimore will be nearly 2 years removed from his last knee injury and cost a whole lot less. There's a good chance Gore will try to squeeze one more high $$$ contract before he becomes a true free agent and it's even conceivable that the 49ers would trade Gore before the 2014 season to a team that would be willing to sign Gore to a modest extension. That would just open the door for Lattimore t go in undisputed in 2014 as the lead RB for the 49ers.
I can hear some out there saying: "What about Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James?" For them I submit that neither of those 2 RB's are built to withstand being a 3 down featured RB. Hunter and James are both smaller RB's who should excel when getting less than 10 touches per game. Lattimore is built to be a workhorse and as long as his knees hold up, I fully expect him to take that job and literally run with it. Dynasty leaguers should take notice and not think short term with Lattimore in their dynasty drafts.