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Player Spotlight: Frank Gore

Frank Gore at Eagles 2011

Member Corner writer Joe Bidwell examines the dynasty value of Frank Gore.

Frank Gore at Eagles 2011

Editor’s Note:  This article is part of an ongoing series of articles from some of the most established, respected members of the DLF forum.  These articles may not always reflect the opinions the DLF staff, but they will always be high quality & thought provoking, and  are intended to provide a platform for sharing the insights and opinions from some of the best ffb minds around.  Enjoy! – DLF Staff

There seems to be mixed feelings when it comes to Frank Gore. Where this workhorse lands on the RB ranks can vary drastically from one list to another. Now heading into his seventh season at age 28, Gore will be playing in a west-coast offense for new head coach Jim Harbaugh. There is no denying he’s been a beast in both reality and fantasy. The question is, how long can he continue?

That question is more complicated then it seems. We have several different factors to consider as we try to form our answers. His age seems to be the most common concern. He will turn 28 this off-season, nearing the end of the typical life span of a running back in the NFL. However, before his injury, Gore was on pace to have his best season since 2006, when he totaled 2,180 yards from scrimmage. All while playing with sub-par quarterbacks and an offensive line that featured two rookies. He has established himself as a top 5 RB when healthy. Note that former top 5 RB’s such as Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson saw a significant decrease in production during their 9th season. He did see fewer touches over the first six seasons of his career then both of those players: LT averaged 408, Alexander averaged 350, while Gore saw just 274 touches each season.

Injury played its part in the lower number of touches, which brings us to our second concern. He has only completed one full season in his career. He’s missed 12 games, or three quarts of a season, in six years. As an owner, that’s three games each season in which you’ll be sitting Gore on your bench (including the bye). He missed the most important stretch in the fantasy schedule rehabbing his fractured hip. If you are willing and able to deal with this risk, the payoff could be bountiful. His most recent injury has owners hesitant to declare Gore as a top 5 back next season. However, he is ahead of schedule and isn’t expected to see any set backs from this injury.

The last major factor leaves us wondering. How will the new coaching staff affect Frank? How will he adjust to the west coast offense? Most are in agreement that these two aspects favor Gore. Historically the west coast offense benefits a running back with his style of play. But what of the quarterback situation? How the Niners address this need will directly impact Gore’s production. Some think that Troy Smith has the ability to become a quality starter in that offense, but most agree the quarterback of the future for San Francisco is not on the roster. This situation will need to be monitored closely for those who are Gore owners. Do they look to the draft or bring in a veteran like Donovan McNabb to try and cash in on their franchise running back’s last few seasons. The other pieces are in place as the line has the off-season to gel together and with strong weapons at the key positions.

So what does all this mean for a fantasy owner? How do we answer the question of how many years Gore has left as a quality starter? Assuming Harbaugh properly addresses the QB position, Gore should be considered a top 5 RB for at least two more seasons. His age and his injury history make me doubt he can break the trend and continue RB1 production past 2012. With that said, if you can acquire him at a discount, I would certainly do so. His stock is at an all time low given his age and injury, but it will rise quickly through the first part of the 2011 season. Mid-season of 2012 will be the “sell by date” for Gore owners as he falls to RB2 production in 2013. Championship contenders will benefit from Gore’s production over the next two seasons as he’ll continue to run with the best of them. If you are in rebuilding mode, you should wait until a few weeks in to the season and look to move him. You need to let Gore put the injury behind him and prove he is still a major contributor. There will certainly be teams in need of a solid running back to make a push for the playoffs.

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Hot nikkels
11 years ago

What do you consider buy low in compensation if he has only finished 1 season healthy, is 28, and coming off a broken hip? This is what contenders/potential buyers want to know.

Strim5181
11 years ago

I own Gore and have been testing the waters but haven’t got any worthy bites. I was offered the 1.10 for him, but dont think its enough. Thoughts?

Eric Dickens
11 years ago

I recently traded for Gore…my team is a contender and the team that traded him has some good pieces, but is kinda in the process of rebuilding. I traded Mike Williams (SEA), James Starks, and James Jones for Gore.

He’s averaged 14 games a season and top 10 stats. His hip didn’t require surgery and I’m betting on him having 2 more quality seasons.

Hot nikkels
11 years ago

We’re hearing he is recovering, but hips are a tricky deal. I’d look to move him because if his hip cost him time next year or another injury you’ll never get 1st round value again. I don’t blame a gore owner for trying to max out his value, but be careful because it’s a fine line between getting good value and none whatsoever.

Joe Bidwell
11 years ago

I’d be more concerned if he had to have surgery on the hip. He is already running and all of the reports that I have read state he will see no ill effects moving foward into the 2011 season. I think selling him now would be a mistake unless you get top 5 RB value.

Chad M
11 years ago

What do you believe Anthony Dixon’s value is? Does he have the talent/ability to be the featured back and eventually replace Gore as the primary ball carrier?

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