It's clear that 49ers RB Frank Gore won't have the workload he's had since becoming the featured running back in 2006. What's unclear is how those non-Gore carries will be divided this season.
Second-year player Kendall Hunter and second-round draft pick LaMichael James are assured spots on the team while Rock Cartwright could win one based on his special teams ability. Brandon Jacobs' and Anthony Dixon's spots, however, are fuzzier.
Jacobs appears reborn after a sometimes contentious career with the Giants, and he could be an asset if Gore, injured in each of his last five seasons, goes down again. But the acquisition of Jacobs and James also has seemed to spark something in Dixon, who to this point has not been able to marry his undeniable skills with focus and commitment.
The backup situation might be one to monitor if you end up having Gore on your team. We rank Gore just 20th on our RB list, which is borderline RB3 material. His ADP is still the fourth round but it seems to be a risky place to take him because of the decreased workload.
QB Jason Campbell (collarbone), CB Chris Johnson (groin, hamstring), RB Darren McFadden (foot), CB DeMarcus Van Dyke (hamstring)
T Khalif Barnes (shoulder), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), S Michael Huff (ankle), K Sebastian Janikowski (left hamstring), LB Rolando McClain (ankle), S Michael Mitchell (ankle), S Chinedum Ndukwe (knee), C Samson Satele (knee), DT Richard Seymour (ankle)
RB Rock Cartwright (calf), S Matt Giordano (neck), QB Carson Palmer (quadricep), RB Marcel Reece (shoulder)
San Diego Chargers
DE Luis Castillo (tibia), G Kris Dielman (concussion)
WR Malcom Floyd (hip), LB Shaun Phillips (foot)
LB Antwan Barnes (calf), LB Donald Butler (illness), LB Na'il Diggs (knee), WR Richard Goodman (groin), S Steve Gregory (thigh), RB Ryan Mathews (groin), LB Takeo Spikes (biceps)
Oakland coach Tom Cable is vague enough on the status of running back Darren McFadden that it seems likely the NFL’s No. 2 back in terms of yards and scrimmage (554) and first downs (26) won’t be available to face San Diego.
McFadden didn’t practice, and was seen working with the heavy ropes at one point during warm-ups and drills.
Cable repeated the right hamstring pull wasn’t as bad as McFadden’s left hamstring issue which cost him three weeks, but it’s doubtful the Raiders would risk making the injury worse playing their most productive player only seven days after the original injury.
“We expect the turnaround to be much shorter, so we’ll see,’’ Cable said.
With Michael Bennett also missing practice with a hamstring injury, expect a heavy dose of Michael Bush and Rock Cartwright against the Chargers. Regarding bringing in another running back, Cable said, “We’ll see.’’