San Francisco 49ers' Week 6 Stock Report
Good losses and moral victories don’t exist in the NFL. Bad losses do exist, and San Francisco had three of those in a row from Week 2 to Week 4. Each game, the Niners got dominated and had very little, if anything, to build on afterward.
In Week 5, even though the Niners lost their fourth game in a row, they didn't suffer a bad loss. They played much better—scored 21 points in the second half and almost won. If they can get started quicker, they might beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6.
With that in mind, here is the 49ers’ Week 6 stock report.
Stock Up: RB Carlos Hyde
One big reason the 49ers offense was so bad from Week 2 to Week 4? Carlos Hyde had nowhere to run.
During those three games, Hyde gained just 112 yards on 36 carries and not because he wasn’t running well—he was fantastic actually. He forced 12 missed tackles and, according to Pro Football Focus, gained 115 yards after contact.
That means Hyde was getting hit in the backfield constantly. And he still managed to average more than three yards per carry. That’s impressive.
Here’s what’s even more impressive: During the second half against the Giants, Hyde rushed 13 times for 81 yards against what was the top-ranked run defense in the league at the time. Hyde outclassed it. He is the 49ers’ best player on offense and one of the best running backs in the league.
As long as Hyde has holes to run through, the Niners have a chance to win.
Stock Down: ILB NaVorro Bowman
Former All-Pro inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman’s stock has been falling since Week 2.
Every week, he seems a little slower and stiffer. Other teams notice and are beginning to exploit him. The NFL is a ruthless league.
Week 5, Giants quarterback Eli Manning targeted Bowman’s coverage 10 times and completed 10 passes and two touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus. Bowman couldn’t cover a simple out route by a running back or a stick route by a tight end.
Bowman still is a brave player who sacrifices his body to stop runs up the middle, but he’s a liability in pass coverage. The Niners may have bench him on obvious passing downs from now on.
Stock Up: OG Andrew Tiller
During the preseason, guard Andrew Tiller was the 49ers’ highest-graded player, according to Pro Football Focus. It gave him a plus-7.6.
For some reason, the Niners didn’t give Tiller a starting job or even a spot on the final roster to start the season. Instead, they signed him to the practice squad and gave a starting job to former New England Patriots guard Jordan Devey.
Devey was flat-out horrible the first quarter of the season, earning a minus-9.2 from Pro Football Focus. Who knows what the Niners saw in him?
Last week, San Francisco promoted Tiller to the active roster, and he ended up playing 34 snaps at right guard against the Giants, per Pro Football Focus. Whenever he was on the field, the Niners’ pass protection and run blocking improved.
Tiller should start Week 6.
Stock Down: TE Vernon Davis
In training camp, quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed more passes to tight end Vernon Davis than any other player during 11-on-11 team drills. Davis seemed like the go-to guy in the Niners’ passing game.
But through the first three games of the season, Davis caught just eight passes for 109 yards and no touchdowns. He was an afterthought like last season.
Davis injured his knee during the second half Week 3 and hasn’t played since. His stock never has been lower. Tuesday afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Niners are willing to trade him (h/t Niners Nation's David Fucillo).
This move would make sense for the Niners—they’re not using Davis much, so they might as well trade him.
This would make sense for Davis himself too. He’s in the final season of his contract, and he won’t earn another big payday playing in this run-first offense. He might be more motivated to play for a team like, say, the Green Bay Packers.
Stock Up: OLB Aaron Lynch
When the offseason began, 22-year-old outside linebacker Aaron Lynch was the 49ers’ No. 3 outside linebacker behind starters Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith.
Now, Lynch not only is a starter—he’s the best player on the 49ers and one of the best young pass-rushers in the NFL.
Although Lynch never sacked on Eli Manning Sunday night, he seemed to hit him or hurry him almost every other pass. According to Pro Football Focus, Lynch finished the game with four quarterback hits, eight hurries and a grade of plus-7.3.
Lynch was the second-highest graded player in the whole league regardless of position Week 5. The Niners can build their defense around him for at least the next half-decade.
All observations and quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.