San Francisco 49ers vs. Oakland Raiders: Hyde vs. Murray

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And the winner is…

Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) celebrates with fans after scoring on an 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Murray, by the slightest of margins. Murray over Hyde may seem overzealous to some, especially to those who play fantasy football. ESPN has Hyde ranked at number 34 with Murray all the way at 47. Hyde may be projected to do better than Murray on a fantasy scale in 2015, but too many x-factors are in Murray’s side in terms of who’s long-term value is higher.

For starters, we have already seen what Murray could do as a starter. With Murray taking over the starting role and succeeding in it, the Raiders know exactly what they have in their starting running back. With Hyde, most expect him to be an outstanding running back. There is a chance he doesn’t live up to expectation.

Secondly, Hyde’s offensive line is too poor for the type of runner he is. Hyde is a between the tackles guy. But his tackles are not at the level he needs them to be. With a mauling running back, you need an offensive line that can move the line of scrimmage. With a predominantly young offensive line, Hyde will need to do much more than the minimum which could lead to fatigue or worse, injury.

Thirdly, the Raiders are in a better offensive position going forward. In terms of offensive weapons the Raiders have young studs who are ready to breakout. The 49ers have Torrey Smith and players like Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis who are on the decline in their careers. Having better receiving weapons leads to defenses not loading the box against you. Given more players outside the box leads to better running lanes and more yards.

Fourthly, Murray’s size speed combo is unprecedented. Being taller than most of the top running backs today is impressive, having some of the fastest wheels as well is even more impressive. Yes Murray does need to shed more defenders, but one cannot argue that his physical traits are already off the charts.

In conclusion, it is not out of the question that Hyde breaks out and proves that he is capable of running over defenders on the way to the top. Until then, Murray has too many intangibles and therefore is the winner of this installment of Battle of the Bay.

Next: Could Oakland Raiders Make a Play for Jason Pierre-Paul