By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Transaction: The Miami Dolphins sign RB Frank Gore to a 1-year deal
2018 Fantasy Outlook: It’s 5 o’clock and the sun is finally starting to set. Entering his 14th season in the NFL, I don’t know that the NFL has every fully appreciated what Frank Gore has contributed to the teams he’s been on. In ten seasons in San Francisco, Gore appeared in only eight playoff games. In three years in Indianapolis, he saw the postseason zero times. Because of that, Gore’s 17,000+ total yards have largely been passed over. One of the greatest running backs in NFL history is hardly mentioned as such because we rarely see him. And in what will likely be his final season, this one coming with the Dolphins in Miami, he’s likely to miss the postseason one last time.
While the casual fan may agree with the above paragraph, fantasy owners for the better part of a decade are well aware of what Gore brings to the table. Using standard PPR scoring over the last 13 years — we’ve only been compiling Club Fantasy scoring since 2015 — he’s far and away the leader at the RB position in total fantasy points scored with 2.733.80. However, he’s 23rd in fantasy points per game, though 11th among active RBs. And he’s third in receiving yards by a RB, behind only Matt Forte and Darren Sproles. If the numbers don’t impress you, the longevity should. Gore enters uncharted territory for the modern RB. Since the NFL merger in 1970, Gore ranks 3rd all time in games started at RB behind only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton. Depending on how the Dolphins deploy Gore this season, he’s likely to pass Payton for 2nd on that list.
Speaking of the Dolphins, it will be curious to see how they use Gore in their RB rotation. After the Dolphins dealt Jay Ajayi to the Eagles, Kenyan Drake became the Dolphins leading rusher. The final nine weeks of the season, Drake rushed for 619 yards — 5.03 yards per carry — and had 232 yards receiving and four total touchdowns. Extrapolated over a full season, Drake hits 1,100 rushing yards on 219 carries and 52 receptions for 412 yards and 6 total TDs. Call me crazy, but those are statistics I want to see out of a running back on my fantasy roster. With the addition of Gore, we’re not likely to see those numbers, which obviously hurts Drake’s value.
Or does it? Drake did major damage in the final five weeks of the season when he had double digit carries in them all, two with more than 20. He’s a back that has traditionally split carries due to his receiving ability and lack of production while running through the line. Of course, he came from Alabama where they manufacture RBs as part of an assembly line so I’m sure he was just type cast behind the likes of Trent Richardson and Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon and Bo Scarborough and others I don’t feel like naming because you get the point. Gore will be a mentor to Drake. And Gore is not rushing for anything close to 1,000 yards this year — only one season since he was a rookie has he not hit 960 rushing yards and that was due to injury — because of Miami’s desire to see what they have in Drake. I look at Gore as an insurance policy. I think he starts games early but Drake will see the most work because at this stage, he’s the more dynamic running back. But Gore is fantastic in pass protection and will see work on third downs. Gore is merely a nostalgic draft pick at this point because he’s not likely to exceed 500 yards and 2 TDs, but if Drake suffers an injury, Gore will have value as a low end RB2 to the tune of 800+ yards and 35 receptions for another 250+ yards or so.
Mr. Frank Gore, it’s been an honor rooting for you all these years. It’s been a tremendous pleasure.