Carlos Hyde

When the 49ers let Frank Gore depart for Indianapolis, the presumption was that the team believed in Carlos Hyde as a replacement.

Even so, there were doubts whether Hyde could enter a full-time role and provide the reliability and productivity that Gore enjoyed after his long San Francisco tenure.

After Week 1, though, questions about Hyde's abilities have been stifled. The second-year back from Ohio State gained 168 yards and scored two touchdowns in the team's season-opening win over Minnesota.

What's more, Hyde gained 86 of those yards after contact, proving he wasn't merely benefiting from strong offensive line play.

The San Francisco 49ers were happy. Hyde's fantasy owners may have been even happier.

Hyde generated 29 points in standard formats, a huge number that brought swift and impressive returns to anyone who took a chance on Hyde. He led the NFL in both yards on the ground and yards after contact in the first week, suggesting he might not merely be a starter -- he may be a star.

He owns an enviable combination of explosive downfield speed and solid strength to perform in the running game. As running backs become more specialized, feature backs are in rarer supply -- two-back units are more and more common.

But Hyde has proven the mettle and the diverse talent to perform in any role the 49ers demand.

Meanwhile, Hyde is eager to prove his performance wasn't a one-hit wonder. Given the strength of his performance, that seems unlikely. But after a year under Gore's mentorship, Hyde is hungry.

Said his offensive coordinator after the game: "I think he's chomping at the bit and raring to go play another game."

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