It’s no secret that a running back’s production usually drops around the age of 27. Though that’s quite young for a normal person, it’s quite old for an football player, let alone one of the most battle tested positions there is. So it comes as no surprise that people are pegging Frank Gore to be a less productive player this fantasy football season. But he’s been the antithesis of these proclamations for years already.
Since entering the league in 2005, Gore has amassed over 1,000 yards in each season aside from his rookie season, and his 2010 season in which he only played for eleven games. 2010 is a season of note for the San Francisco 49ers‘ running back: the season in which he turned 27. Since that season, he’s been a top-15 option at his position and has been voted to the Pro Bowl. Point being, it doesn’t appear he’s slowing down with age.
In the past three seasons since his injury, Gore has been given a minimum of 258 carries per season and has ranked within the top-five in carries each year. So there’s worry that with his age that he’ll lose out on some carries for the likes of his backups Carlos Hyde and LaMichael James.
If Kendall Hunter were not injured, I would be worried Hunter would take away carries. But the two other backs aren’t experienced enough to really take away carries from the Pro Bowl running back. Hyde is showing how much of a threat he is in the NFL by averaging nearly eight yards per carry in the first preseason game, but it came against backups. However, he’s looking much more like a situational and game-pace changer. It’s not as if he’s going to be putting up 100 carries.
Besides, even if Gore’s backup does post over 100 carries, he has proven in 2011 when Hunter saw 112 carries that he can reach 1,000 yards. There’s no true threat to take away Gore’s carries, only someone to provide a little more rest for the aging back, which would make him more efficient in the long run.
Gore has also been a proven work horse around the end zone, as fantasy owners have been blessed with at least eight touchdowns from him in each of the last three seasons. That trend doesn’t seem likely to stop either. Simply put, keep trusting that Gore will be a Pro Bowl caliber back until his numbers start noticeable declining. Sure, you could say his 0.8 drop in yards per carry is noticeable, but he’s bounced back from similar drops in seasons past.
At the moment, Gore is going in the fourth or fifth round as the 20th RB taken. He’s more like a second or third round player. Thankfully most people aren’t pegging him as such, and you’ll be sitting near the top of your league if you heed my advice on him.