2015 Fantasy Football: Buy or Sell Frank Gore

Veteran Frank Gore will be a top -12 running back in the 2015 Fantasy Football season: Buy.

Whenever a coach comes out and says things like, “Every-down-back” and “Workhorse,” we need to be very cautious on whether or not we believe them (C.J. Spiller comes to mind). Anyway, most of the time this is just considered “coach speak,” but there are times when those statements do actually mean something.

There is some buzz going around that Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano plans on using Gore as a workhorse and every down back.  Before we go drafting Gore in the first couple rounds, however, let’s take a look at what facts we have and try to form an educated projection of Gore’s fantasy value.

The first question we need to ask ourselves is can he produce if given the large workload? If you know anything about Frank Gore, you already know he can more than produce when given the opportunity but just to be safe, let’s take a look at some numbers.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 3.35.48 PM

 

As you can see, Gore has rushed for over 1,000 yards in eight seasons of his 10-year career. In the two seasons that he finished with less than 1,000 yards rushing, one was his rookie season where he only received 127 carries, and the other season without 1,000 yards rushing was when he missed five games due to injuries.

Can he produce if given a large workload? Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 3.40.05 PM

The next thing we need to look at is if he can handle the large workload. Many running backs in the NFL tend to break down physically after years of heavy workloads and that is understandable. Gore is not one of those running backs.

The veteran running back has only missed 12 games in his 10-year career, and has not missed a game in any of his previous four seasons. Aside from his rookie season, Gore has averaged just over 257 carries per season. With that type of workload over a nine-year period, Gore’s ability to stay healthy and on the field is very impressive.

Can he handle the workload? Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 3.40.05 PM

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we need to have reason to believe he will see enough touches to be productive.

Last season, the Colts ran the ball 415 times. 337 of those run plays were designed for running backs. Trent Richardson (159) and Ahmad Bradshaw (90) have recently departed the organization and in doing so, left 249 rushing attempts on the table. The only running backs Gore will have to “compete” for touches with are Daniel Herron (78) and Zurlon Tipton (10) – Who?

In the receiving game, the Colts’ backs accounted for 114 targets, 72 catches for 770 yards and 7 touchdowns – the bulk of that work coming from Bradshaw and Richardson. I am not saying that Gore will automatically have 500 yards and 5 receiving touchdowns, but it’s safe to assume Gore will be good for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

Reason to believe he will see the touches? Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 3.40.05 PM

Building Our Projection:

Gore is locked in for at the very least 200 carries. Keep in mind the Colts may elect to run it more than last year now that they have a competent runner. But for reasonable projections, we will assume the worst to develop his floor. At 200 carries and Gore’s career-worst 4.1 YPC (yards per carry), that would give him 820 rushing yards for the 2015 season. We will project Gore with six rushing touchdowns because that is how many the Colt’s running backs scored last season, and Gore has averaged over six touchdowns per season over his entire career.

Adding in the 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in the receiving game, that would leave Gore with 164 fantasy points in standard scoring format. That would have been good enough for 15th best in the NFL last season.

Gore’s ADP (average draft position) is RB23 according to FantasyPros.com, and he is RB21 according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com. We have already established that he has a very good chance to be a top-15 back, and that was based off of his floor. Gore is being drafted at the back end of the 4th round, and that is the ultimate robbery.

Prediction:

1000+ rushing yards, 6 touchdowns, 300 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns.

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Categories: Fantasy Football

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