Welcome to the eighteenth edition of “Who to Rep,” our ongoing series in which we recommend a player to rep for the upcoming week. Our selection process is rigorously unscientific, but we hope you like it anyway.
The season is over in San Francisco, but you can’t say the Niners didn’t go out with a bang. After starting the season on a prolonged losing streak, a quarterback change turned them into a late-season juggernaut (albeit too late of one for a playoff push).
As they head into the offseason, the Niners have a lot to be proud of, and plenty to look forward to. They’ve got two young defensive studs in Deforest Buckner and Reuben Foster, and perhaps a third in Solomon Thomas. They’ve got a low-cost/high-upside receiver in Marquise Goodwin (who flirted with a 1,000 yard season after recording just 462 yards in his previous four years). And, obviously, they’ve got future superstar Jimmy Garoppolo at QB, clearly the team’s overall MVP.
But our pick for Who to Rep this week isn’t Jimmy (who had a good-not-great game on Sunday). It's Carlos Hyde, the team’s most consistent all-season weapon. Hyde put an exclamation point on a strong season with 90 yards and 2 touchdowns. Admittedly, his big performance came against the Rams’ second stringers, but it’s still nice to see him cap the season with that kind of performance.
It’s fair to suggest that with an offseason together, and a presumably upgraded supporting cast, Hyde and Garoppolo will benefit even more from one another next season. Hyde spent most of his season playing against stacked defenses that didn’t need to respect the passing game, and Garoppolo spent his time in SF learning on the fly. It’s easy to see a future in which both players take the leap next season.
Hyde, for his part, has flirted with the 1,000 yard club each of the past two seasons (breaking 900 yards in each), and, if healthy, seems a mortal lock to break that barrier next season against defenses forced to play him more honestly. Perhaps that will finally get him the respect he deserves, as much of his good work this season went under appreciated by the mainstream outlets, due chiefly to SF’s lackluster record.
The 49ers’ season may be over, but their future is just getting started. Rep Carlos Hyde with pride knowing that he figures to be a big part of it.