News: Comcast Sportsnet believes that if running back Kendall Hunter is healthy for training camp he'll be the "clear-cut No. 2 running back" behind Frank Gore. Hunter tore his Achilles in late November and was replaced by rookie LaMichael James.
Analysis: Hunter had some nice games before he got hurt and could develop into a capable dual-threat running back someday. But with his knee in iffy shape coming off a late-season injury and Frank Gore still dominating carries (and James also in the mix), there's not much appeal to Hunter right now. We still see James as being worth a late-round pick.
News: San Francisco running back LaMichael James couldn't get going as he turned in a disappointing performance during Super Bowl XLVII against Baltimore. With the 49ers close to scoring position, James coughed up the ball in the second quarter. It was his second fumble lost in the postseason. He finished with just three carries for 10 yards in a 34-31 defeat. He was not involved in the passing game as he finished with out a catch or a target.
Analysis: James emerged late in the season and saw some decent playing time behind Frank Gore in the backfield. He rushed for 190 yards on 38 carries while averaging 5.0 yards per attempt through his first six games played, including the postseason. The rookie failed to surpass 50 yards or eight carries in a game this season. The 23-year-old has some upside and should be viewed as a late-round selection worth a pick starting in the 10th or 11th round come Draft Day.
News: 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday at a news conference that he was impressed with rookie running back LaMichael James all season prior to getting him active at the end of the year. James scored his first NFL touchdown in the NFC Championship Game at Atlanta. "His work ethic, No. 1, was really evident," Harbaugh said. "He was taking as many reps as he possibly could. And predominately, they were on the scout team. But, he would do it as a running back. He would do it as a receiver. And really improved his hands a great deal. And route-running ability with all the thousand reps he took on the scout team. But, just great work ethic and deep desire to improve as football player and get on the field. And hes gotten on it from the first time hes stepped on the field. Hes been dynamic.
Analysis: James has the chance to be a solid contributor for the 49ers in the Super Bowl against the Ravens. Frank Gore remains the starter and the workhorse, but James will get some reps as well. Consider him a sleeper in any Playoff Challenge format.
News: San Francisco running back LaMichael James was able to reach the end zone for the first time in his career during Sunday's NFC Championship Game against Atlanta. James scored from 15 yards out on the ground in the second quarter to help spark a 28-7 run to erase a 17-point deficit in the game. He rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown on five carries in a 28-24 victory. He was the second-leading rusher on the team behind starter Frank Gore, who rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Analysis: James has seen more playing time behind Frank Gore in the backfield and has rushed for 180 yards on 35 carries while averaging 5.1 yards per attempt through his first six games played, including the postseason. Still, the rookie has yet to surpass 50 yards or eight carries in a game this season. He will play the winner of New England and Baltimore. James has yet to face the Ravens this season and rushed for just 31 yards on eight carries in Week 15 against the Patriots. Consider him a low-end option in all Fantasy Playoff Challenge formats moving forward.
News: 49ers running back LaMichael James had seven carries for a season-high 49 yards during San Francisco's 27-13 victory over Arizona in Week 17. James remained in his newfound backup role to Frank Gore and averaged 7.0 yards per carry during the fourth game he has been active this season. He did register his first fumble, but avoided the turnover as the 49ers recovered. James also failed to record a passing target.
Analysis: Despite his increased role in the backfield, James has maintained his spot on special teams and gained 33 yards on his lone kickoff return. He is unlikely to surpass 10 carries in a game as San Francisco continues to feed Gore with sufficient attempts; he toted the ball 20 times in Sunday's game. With his playing time limited, Fantasy owners should view James as a marginal option for upcoming playoff formats.
News: San Francisco running back LaMichael James will attempt to maintain his growing presence in the 49ers' running game during a Week 17 matchup against Arizona. James has toted the ball at least four times in each of the past three games -- the only times he has been active this season -- as a speedy complement to Frank Gore. The Cardinals are permitting 137.5 rushing yards per game, the fifth-highest total in the NFL.
Analysis: Like Gore, James has also contributed in the passing game and tallied a season-high two catches during a loss to Seattle last Sunday. James, who is also active on special teams, has racked up 76 total rushing yards on 20 carries in his three games while spelling Gore from time to time. The Cardinals have been shredded on the ground recently and are permitting an average of 18 Fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Plus, four different backs have exceeded 10 yards against them over the past three weeks. Consider James a possible flex option in deeper Fantasy formats.
News: San Francisco running back LaMichael James failed to receive enough touches to make any sort of impact during Sunday's contest against the Seahawks in Week 16. James was held to just 15 yards on four carries in a 42-13 defeat. He was barely involved in the passing game, as he finished with two catches for 14 yards. He was the third-leading rusher on the night behind Colin Kaepernick (31 yards) and Frank Gore (28 yards).
Analysis: James has played well behind Frank Gore in the last three weeks and has average 3.8 yards per carry thus far since making his debut in Week 14. Unfortunately, he does not see enough touches to make any sort of Fantasy impact. He has marginal value in seasonal formats heading into the final week of the season at home against the Cardinals.
News: San Francisco running back LaMichael James will look for more touches heading into a tough matchup at Seattle in Week 16. James rushed for 31 yards on eight carries in Week 15 at New England, which was his second game in the league. He'll face a Seattle defense that has allowed just 106.3 yards per game on the ground this season, which is the 10th fewest allowed in the league.
Analysis: James has fared well in his last two games as Frank Gore's backup running back, as he has rushed for 61 yards on 16 carries this season. With Kendall Hunter out for the rest of the season with an Achilles injury, he should serve as the team's backup for the rest of the way. Opposing running backs have scored an average of 14 Fantasy points per game this season, which is the fifth-fewest allowed in the league. He would need to get in the end zone to make any sort of Fantasy impact, so consider him as a low-end flex option in deeper formats heading into Week 16 at Seattle.
News: San Francisco running back LaMichael James made the most out his snaps during Sunday's contest at New England in Week 15. James, who appeared in his second game of his career, 31 yards on eight carries in a 41-34 victory. James also returned four kickoffs for a combined 133 yards, including a 62-yard return in the fourth quarter which led the team's game-winning score on the very next play.
Analysis: James was the second-leading rusher on the night and seems like he is primed to become Frank Gore's backup running back over Anthony Dixon, especially with Kendall Hunter out for the rest of the season with an Achilles injury. He'll try to earn some more snaps in Week 16 against a stingy Seattle defense. The Seahawks have allowed just 105.4 yards per game on the ground this season, which is the 11th fewest allowed in the league. James was not active in Week 7 against the Seahawks and will be facing them for the first time. Consider him as a low-end flex option heading into Week 16.
News: 49ers running back LaMichael James will look to stay productive heading into his Week 15 matchup on the road against the Patriots. James made his NFL debut and racked up 45 total yards, including 30 yards on eight carries against Miami in Week 14. He'll face a New England defense that has allowed just 100.8 rushing yards this season, which is the eighth fewest yards allowed in the league.
Analysis: Coach Jim Harbaugh called James' debut "fantastic," after Sunday's game and with Kendall Hunter out for the rest of the season with an Achilles injury, we could see more of James down the stretch. The Niners will likely use James the same way Hunter was used throughout the season, as he'll share snaps with Anthony Dixon as the team's No. 2 running back. Opposing running backs have averaged 16.2 Fantasy points per game this season. The Patriots have allowed a touchdown to a running back in four of last five games but haven't yet to allow a running back to hit the century mark since Week 3. We still need to see more of James before we consider him as a reliable Fantasy option moving forward.
News: 49ers running back LaMichael James was fairly productive in Week 14 against the Dolphins. James, who made his season debut Sunday, racked up 45 total yards in the 27-13 win. He did most of his damage on the ground as he rushed for 30 yards on eight carries. His first career carry went for 10 yards but he was unable to find the end zone in the victory. James also caught one pass for 15 yards, which was his lone target in the passing game.
Analysis: James also returned three kickoffs for a combined 79 yards, which gave him a fairly productive debut. It appears the 49ers will use the rookie the same way Kendall Hunter was used most weeks, albeit there seems to be one small twist. Anthony Dixon was put in when San Francisco neared the goal line, so it appears James won't see many touches in the red zone. Still, the 22-year-old showed flashes of his great speed Sunday afternoon and should continue to get better with the more snaps he sees. However, without the promise of consistent touches, James should not be starting in most formats heading into the 49ers Week 15 matchup against the Patriots.
News: 49ers rookie LaMichael James was listed among the inactives for Week 1 against the Packers.
Analysis: James was one of the more dynamic running backs in college over the last few seasons and averaged 7.3 yards per carry as a senior at Oregon. He will provide the 49ers with a nice change-of-pace back throughout the season but he is not expected to see a ton of touches with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Brandon Jacobs ahead of him on the depth chart. The 22-year-old should see touches in the return game as well as a few carries here and there, when active, but James remains more of a handcuff option for deeper Fantasy formats at this point. Keep James reserved for Week 1.
News: 49ers rookie running back LaMichael James will be making his NFL debut in Week 1 against the Packers. He is not expected to see a ton of touches, however, with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Brandon Jacobs ahead of him on the depth chart. Green Bay ranked 14th in the league against the run a year ago, giving up nearly 112 yards per game, and allowed an average of 17.9 Fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Analysis: James was one of the more dynamic running backs in college over the last few seasons and averaged 7.3 yards per carry as a senior at Oregon. He will provide the 49ers with a nice change-of-pace back throughout the season but it is still way too early to call him a reliable option in Fantasy. The 22-year-old should see touches in the return game as well as a few carries here and there but James remains more of a handcuff option for deeper Fantasy formats at this point. Keep James reserved for Week 1.
News: 49ers running back LaMichael James made his return to the field in the teams preseason finale Thursday against the Chargers, after missing the previous game against the Broncos with an ankle injury. James rushed the ball five times for 27 yards, but really struggled in special teams, where he muffed two punts and bobbled another, though he did finished with 30 yards on the four attempts that he fielded cleanly.
Analysis: James averaged 7.3 yards per carry as a senior at Oregon, so we know what kind of game-breaking speed he has, but he returned just 17 punts in three years in college, so he remains a work in progress. The team should give their second-round pick plenty of opportunities in the return game, but if he struggles they have other options. He is buried on the depth chart at running back, so Fantasy owners should leave him for the middle to late rounds on Draft Day in dynasty-keeper leagues, as he may not make an impact this season.
News: 49ers running back LaMichael James (ankle) was inactive for Sunday's preseason game against the Broncos. James was injured in his team's last preseason game against the Texans, but returned to practice Tuesday.
Analysis: James was probably held out as a precaution Sunday. James was a star running back in college at Oregon, but heading into his rookie season he is buried on the depth chart in San Francisco. He doesn't have much Fantasy value in seasonal formats outside of a late-round flier in deeper formats. Most of his value is in dynasty/keeper and rookie leagues. We tout him with a middle- to late-round choice in dynasty/keeper leagues and a second-round pick in rookie-only drafts.
News: San Francisco 49ers rookie running back LaMichael James said on his social media account his injury Saturday was not serious and he will be back at practice Monday. "I will be 100% at practice Monday In full force believe that go 9ers thanks for all the support I love you guys!" James tweeted Saturday night after he was carted off with a leg injury.
Analysis: James, a second-round draft pick from Oregon, suffered an ankle injury during the fourth quarter. Coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game that X-rays showed no damage to the ankle and expected James to be available to practice soon. The Niners also saw an injury to RB Brandon Jacobs in the game and that one might be more serious. James has rushed for 34 yards through his first two preseason games. If healthy, he's worth a late flier in deeper seasonal Fantasy leagues, but we'd tout him with a middle- to late-round choice in dynasty/keeper leagues and a second-round pick in rookie-only drafts.
News: 49ers rookie running back LaMichael James was carted off the field during Saturday's preseason game against the Texans. James appeared to have suffered the injury late in the fourth quarter when offensive tackle Derek Hall rolled on his left ankle. At this point, the severity of his injury is not yet known. James told CSNBayArea.com after the game that he will not miss any practice time. He finished with four carries for 19 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry before he was helped off the field.
Analysis: This is another tough blow for the 49ers as they had a pair of running backs, Brandon Jacobs and James, carted off the field with injuries. Luckily for San Francisco, they are crowded at the running back position. We'll keep an eye on both of these injuries moving forward. James has rushed for 34 yards through his first two preseason games. If healthy, he's worth a late flier in deeper seasonal Fantasy leagues, but we'd tout him with a middle- to late-round choice in dynasty/keeper leagues and a second-round pick in rookie-only drafts.
News: 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman told the Sacramento Bee that while he likes the depth the team has at the position, "I don't know if everyone's going to be happy with the time that they get." The Niners added rookie LaMichael James to a group that includes long-time starter Frank Gore, veteran Brandon Jacobs and second-year rusher Kendall Hunter, among others. When asked if James needed to bulk up to play more effectively at the next level, Rathman said no. "He's already an impact player. That's what he is," he said. "So he's going to be a guy that makes a lot of plays for your offense, can do a lot of different things for your football team. I don't know if you ask a guy to put on weight, try to be somebody that he's not or he hasn't been in his past experience playing football."
Analysis: Rathman ultimately believes that everyone's playing time in the Niners backfield will be settled in training camp. We think James has incredible long-term potential but won't play enough on a weekly basis to make an impact in Fantasy this season. For now, he's worth a late flier in deeper seasonal Fantasy leagues, but we'd tout him with a middle- to late-round choice in dynasty/keeper leagues and a second-round pick in rookie-only drafts.
News: The 49ers took Oregon running back LaMichael James 61st overall in the second round of the NFL draft to join an already jammed backfield. James ran for 5,082 yards and 53 touchdowns on 771 career carries in three seasons with the Ducks. He had 49 carries for 382 yards and four TDs in two games against Harbaugh's Stanford team before the coach jumped to the NFL last year. The Niners will have some big decisions to make come training camp considering they must decide how to divvy up the touches between James, three-time Pro Bowler Frank Gore, newly signed Brandon Jacobs and reliable second-year player Kendall Hunter. "It's great to have these options," Jim Harbaugh said. "You're fighting and building at the same time. That's what we're doing."
Analysis: James is small, fast and shifty, sort of like Darren Sproles (he's two inches taller). He's a mighty mite of a running back who was ultra-productive in the Ducks' spread offense. He's a blur with the ball, and shows the same level of toughness that made undersized tailback Warrick Dunn a 12-year pro. He'll probably start out competing for work as a return man and also do some change-of-pace work, but the potential is there for him to be a significant contributor in the mold of Sproles or Dunn. It just might not happen right away. For now, he's worth a late flier in deeper seasonal Fantasy leagues, but we'd tout him with a middle- to late-round choice in dynasty/keeper leagues and a second-round pick in rookie-only drafts.