Frank Gore‘s fantasy value is in decline. In 2011, the San Francisco 49ers running back finished 15th overall among running backs in fantasy rankings which was an improvement from 2010 when he ranked No. 20. Jim Harbaugh definitely wants to play it safe with his beast of a running back by limiting his work load.
His offensive touches per game in 2011 were down by an average of four touches from a year ago, and that number was down even more the second half of the season when he was showing signs of wearing down. Second-year tailback Kendall Hunter, who was Gore’s primary backup is still in the mix. Given the 49ers signed Brandon Jacobs and drafted LaMichael James, Gore’s touches will likely be limited even more in 2012. Gore’s place a top the depth chart is still unquestioned, but it appears the plan is to keep their top back fresh.
Jacobs will likely be a short yardage back and could take some goal-line chances away from Gore so that will cut into his fantasy value. It’s also unclear what Gore’s role will be in the passing game this season. Last year Gore caught just 17 receptions for 114 yards. 6.7 yards per catch was a career low, so those numbers are certainly disconcerting. LaMichael James along with several new wideout acquisitions could further limit his contribution to the 49er passing game.
Frank Gore isn’t the fantasy back he once was; the 49ers RB caught just five catches in his final 10 games and didn’t reach 100 yards from scrimmage in any of his final eight. He’s no longer a No. 1 fantasy back, and is a risky No. 2 pick as well. If you’re looking for Fantasy Football Busts in 2012, you’ve got to take a close look at Frank Gore.