So with Gore's long-term durability in mind, and the desire to build a more physical football team, the 49ers have added two bulls to their running back pen.
Glen Coffee has gained 15 pounds of muscle and hasn't slowed down at all, putting him at 6'0" and 225 pounds. Rookie Anthony Dixon is 6'1" and 233 pounds.
I will remind you that Frank Gore scored 10 rushing TDs last year. Gore scored from 80, 79, 64, and 14 yards, with six TD runs of six yards or less.
Let's assume that either Coffee or Dixon emerges as a safe bet for short-yardage touchdowns behind a blocking group revamped by Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Nate Byham or Delanie Walker, and a healthy Joe Staley.
Does it make sense to have Gore get these tough carries? For a TD that Dixon or Coffee could get for you?
I would speculate that if the offensive line and Byham live up to expectations, we may see more big TD runs from Gore. By the same token, if pass protection is improved, it may well equate to him catching more open field passes as a check down.
On the other hand, I could also see Coffee or Dixon getting the nod if the team is ahead comfortably. Four of Gore's short TD runs last season came with the 49ers comfortably ahead.
While Gore's yardage may remain high, I do expect his total TDs to drop.
By no means am I telling you to avoid Frank Gore in your fantasy draft!
Before you draft Gore in the first round, you may want to consider a player of similar potency who plays in a more ironed-out offensive system.