Every fantasy football player has a few guys they consider their “own.” I other words, guys they rate higher than most other players and who they generally seem to own each and every season. One such player for me is San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore who is a guy I always have been drawn to. Playing in an annual PPR league for one has always made Gore attractive to me since he is one of the most accomplished pass catchers out of the backfield in the game. The guy is also a hell of a runner as well and so there is a package there that is very attractive. Of course Gore has been a frustrating player to own from a health perspective as he always seem to miss games each season. We will get into all this in a bit in our latest Fantasy Football Player Analyzer for the 2011 campaign.
First lets take a look at Frank Gore the runner. In his first six years in the league, Gore has averaged a very good 4.7 yrd/carry and that was behind some of the worst offensive line play in the league over that span. Blessed with a quick burst through the hole, Gore is able to get to the second level consistently and he also has the acceleration to take it the distance. He has gone for over 1,000 in 4 of those seasons, with only exceptions being his rookie season and last season when he was on pace for over 1,200 yards rushing before he injured his hip and was out the rest of the way. The offensive line is not great yet again for San Fran this season but new head coach Jim Harbaugh has gone on record saying he will be the focal point of the offense which is all you need to hear. Another 1,000 yards is easy unless injury strikes.
The other aspect about Gore that deserves just as much kudos is his pass catching which I already correctly noted is among the best of all running backs. Check out the receptions total for Gore’s last five seasons and you surely will be impressed.
Those are some very nice totals and last seasons came in only 11 games which was a pace for over 70. Gore flat out is a major asset in PPR fantasy football leagues and needs to be bumped ahead of guys like Rashard Mendehall and Michael Turner as a result. Of course he loses some value in TD heavy formats as despite all of the top notch performances, Gore has never been a huge TD producers. Of course some of the blame has to be at the feet of the horrible QB play the team has had in his tenure, primarily bust Alex Smith who once again is back to stunt his numbers somewhat. Gore has only hit double digits in TD’s once and that was the 10 he had in 2009. As great as he was going last season, Gore only had three scores to show for all that stellar work. The same issue could arise again this season so downgrade him some in non PPR formats.
Finally we get to the injuries and that’s the big bugaboo when it comes to Gore. We all know he is coming off hip surgery which is a very scary injury for any runner to have. Just ask Bo Jackson. But Gore has looked very good in the preseason and has seemed like his old self so I am not as worried about him as I was before the lockout was completed. In his previous six seasons, Gore was only able to play all 16 games once and his other five games played totals were 14, 15, 14, 14, and 11. So in essence you have to go into the season expecting Gore to miss one or two games at the very least, with the potential to have an even bigger problem like last season. It really comes down to how much risk you are willing to take when it comes to drafting Gore. My best advice is to ignore him in TD heavy formats and take the risk in PPR leagues. Its really as simple as this. Gore has all the ability in the world which means he will produce for you when on the field but there are skeletons in that closet which you need to be aware of. Roll the dice if you can.
2011 PROJECTION: 1,037 yards 6 TD 45 catches 2 TD