RB - FA
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting the San Francisco 49ers have released RB Tim Hightower on Friday.
Now that Hightower is no longer with the club, the 49ers' running back depth chart is set entering the 2017 season. Carlos Hyde will open the year as the RB1, which is no shock. However, the surprise here is the emergence of UDFA Matt Brieda. Not only has he out-played Joe Williams, who was the perennial favorite to emerge as Hyde's handcuff, but he ultimately beat out the 2017 fourth-rounder for the job. Brieda is San Francisco's RB2. From a fantasy perspective, I wouldn't target Williams in any remaining fantasy drafts leading up to the season opener Thursday night. Moreover, if he is currently rostered, he's likely a back-end guy and could be dropped for Brieda, or another waiver wire player with upside.
Tim Hightower finished the 49ers' preseason finale against the Chargers with eight carries for 21 yards and a touchdown and added two catches for four yards.
Hightower appears to be behind undrafted rookie Matt Breida for the number two running back. Hightower may also be behind rookie Joe Williams because of his play and what the 49ers invested to get him. His roster spot isn't guaranteed but even if he makes it, it will take an injury or two for him to be fantasy relevant.
Tim Hightower made his preseason debut for the 49ers last night getting three carries for negative one yard and one reception for one yard. He also lost a fumble.
A little bit of rust was to be expected in his first game action of the season, but with a running back competition in full swing for the number-two back, Hightower can't afford to put it on the ground. Rookie Joe Williams is hot on Hightower's heels so he can't afford to have another poor performance. Whoever wins the number-two role will have at least some weekly value and, should Carlos Hyde go down with injury, would be thrust to borderline RB1 territory.
San Francisco beat writer Matt Maiocco believes Tim Hightower "is looking very good" at training camp and "appears to be the team's second best running back."
It appears at this point, Hightower is the favorite to open the upcoming season as the 49ers' RB2, especially since Maiocco is also reporting that rookie Joe Williams is off to a "slow start" after the first week of training camp. However, it's early and a lot can change from now and until Week 1. Although Hyde is the favorite to enter the 2017 season as the team's RB1, I believe the RB2 job is a wide open.
The San Francisco 49ers and free agent running back Tim Hightower have agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal on Saturday.
Hightower, who spent the past two seasons with the Saints, signed with San Franciso Saturday. While in New Orleans, the 30-year-old running back rejuvenated his career after a three-year hiatus from the game. Playing in 24 games since 2015, Hightower accumulated 923 yards and eight touchdowns as a rusher and caught 34 targets for 329 yards and another score as a receiver out of the backfield. With Carlos Hyde the clear cut starter, Hightower will compete with DuJuan Harris for the No. 2 spot on the 49ers' running back depth chart entering the 2017 season.