Call it buyer’s remorse if you want to, but the time to trade Frank Gore off your fantasy football team is now.
With an average drafting position of 23.7 in ESPN.com fantasy football leagues, many of you may feel the urge to extend Gore some additional time to live up to his lofty draft billing.
News flash, he won’t.
The writing signaling Gore’s decline was on the wall late last season—and it read, “Don’t draft me next year.”
Maybe it was the lasting image Gore imprinted on your minds with his dominant performance (319 yards and four scores) last postseason.
Maybe it was his role as San Francisco's undisputed alpha back.
Regardless of your reasoning for ignoring the writing on the wall, in doing so, you’ve become handcuffed to a starting running back with only 60 yards rushing and one touchdown through two games.
A running back who, according to Grant Kohn of Press Democrat, "doesn’t seem to be able to explode through tight holes or bounce runs outside this season."
So, trouble doesn’t begin to characterize your situation.
And to think, if you hadn’t scrubbed your memories clean of Gore’s lackluster finish to 2012, your team wouldn’t be in such dire straits.
Instead, you’re a fantasy owner just like Joshua King, frustrated by Gore’s lack of productivity:
While I certainly didn’t predict that Gore would open the season with such inept numbers—especially with Green Bay being the opening opponent—his decline in production after Week 9 last year foretold a lackluster 2013 season.
In the final seven games, Gore didn’t register more than 83 yards rushing in any contest and only scored four touchdowns.
This was in contrast to the opening nine games, in which he eclipsed 83 yards five times and scored five touchdowns.
In past seasons—note that I didn’t say postseasons, hence the productive playoff games—Gore had his touches slightly limited due to him being old—he’s now 30—by running back standards.
You can see such a decline taking place even before the 2012 campaign, evidenced by ESPN.com's Jim McCormick in this chart:
Frank Gore's Fantasy Profile, Since 2006
|Year||Touches per game||Fantasy PPG||Pts per touch||Preseason RB rank||Final RB rank|
Still, Gore never fell victim to the goal-line and third-down backs that elicited anger from fantasy owners—I’m looking at you Bernard Pierce and Danny Woodhead.
That all changed with Kaepernick.
While Kaepernick’s rise is mostly associated with the demise of Vernon Davis, from a fantasy perspective anyways, his rise came at the expense of Gore’s fantasy value, as well.
With Kaepernick’s strong arm enabling head coach Jim Harbaugh to transition from the dink-and-dunk passing game to an explosive aerial attack, Gore and the running game was no longer the be-all and end-all of the 49ers offense.
Couple that with Kaepernick rushing for 415 yards, and Gore essentially has become the fantasy football version of Rashard Mendenhall—if he’s not scoring touchdowns, you get zilch in fantasy points.
I guess the lone question remaining is, how do you trade him?
Even after presenting you with reasons you should trade Gore, there still remains a means by which you can dupe rival owners into making a trade for him.
Time, for one, is an ally on your side in doing this...for the moment, anyway.
Two games is a small sample size, and with San Francisco getting blown out at Seattle and throwing with so much ease against Green Bay, you can hang Gore’s underwhelming numbers on circumstance.
If you're getting blown out, of course you're not going to rack up a lot of rushing yards.
If Green Bay's passing defense is so bad that Tim Tebow could throw for 300 yards, of course you're not going to run the ball.
Legitimate excuses, right?
Couple that with the 49ers’ Week 3 matchup against the running back salivator that is the Indianapolis Colts’ rushing defense—fourth-worst rushing defense in 2012 and 2013—and the ingredients are present for you to swing a deal.
Furthermore, as CSN's Matt Maiocco and Mindi Bach detail, there is the notion that the 49ers will re-emphasize the power running game that best suits Gore after seeing the read-option shut down again against Seattle.
Still, regardless of how you pull it off, ridding yourself of Gore has to be your main priority at this juncture.
Ignore this warning if you want—and please do if you're in one of my fantasy leagues—but just know that doing so will certainly hamper your chances of salvaging your season.