RB Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills

HT: 5-10, WT: 220, Born: 5-14-1983, College: Miami (Fl), Drafted: Round 3

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2014 Projections

David Dodds15.0220.09134.27.018.01317.31.0152
Bob Henry15.0230.09504.18.015.01308.70.0156
Jason Wood16.0250.010004.08.023.01607.00.0164
Maurile Tremblay16.0226.09984.47.012.01008.30.0152

Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]

Overall: T Gerhart (44), M Crabtree (45), Frank Gore (46), V Davis (47), R Jennings (48)
Position: R Mathews (41-RB18), T Gerhart (44-RB19), Frank Gore (46 - RB20), R Jennings (48-RB21), R Rice (51-RB22)
Click here for a comparison of these players.

PPR Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]

Overall: T Brady (60), T Smith (61), Frank Gore (62), B Tate (63), N Foles (64)
Position: C Johnson (56-RB24), B Sankey (59-RB25), Frank Gore (62 - RB26), B Tate (63-RB27), T Richardson (65-RB28)
Click here for a comparison of these players.


Frank Gore became the 49ers' featured runner in 2006, his second season in the league, and has been a solid fantasy starter every single year since then. Over the past three seasons, many were predicting that he'd start to decline; but he finished as a borderline RB1-RB2 in each of those seasons. Nonetheless, many this season are predicting yet again that he'll start to decline -- and one of these years, the naysayers will be right. This may be the year. Gore just turned 31 years old, and while he is a versatile RB who can be effective in the passing game, his receptions have dropped sharply since Jim Harbaugh became head coach. Younger backs like Kendall Hunter, Carlos Hyde, and Marcus Lattimore will be clamoring for playing time, and Gore may be spelled more this season than last. You can reasonably expect him to slip from a borderline RB1-RB2 down to a borderline RB2-RB3 in 2014.

2014 Schedule

1at Chicago Bears
2 Miami Dolphins
3 San Diego Chargers
4at Houston Texans
5at Detroit Lions
6 New England Patriots
7 Minnesota Vikings
8at New York Jets
Bye week
10 Kansas City Chiefs
11at Miami Dolphins
12 New York Jets
13 Cleveland Browns
14at Denver Broncos
15 Green Bay Packers
16at Oakland Raiders
17at New England Patriots

2013 Game Summaries

Week 1 - With Green Bay determined to stop the run no matter the cost, Frank Gore found himself running head first in to a wall on most carries. Gore still displayed the ability to take advantage of even the smallest crease, using his vision and determination to gain yards that aren’t there, but so overwhelming and disciplined was Green Bay’s run defense, Gore remained largely ineffective. However, Gore made a huge impact in the passing game, leveling blitzing defenders over and over. His sheer power and awareness when pass-blocking made a huge difference in the amount of time Kaepernick had in the pocket. As the game wore in to the 4th quarter, Gore finally saw creases open a bit wider and the running back hit them like a man possessed, running through arm tackles, only dragged down by multiple defenders. Running behind a jumbo package on the goal line, Gore was able to run patient, with a hand on his lineman’s back he waited for the push, the crease, and when a hole opened in to the end zone Gore slammed forward, scoring the touchdown.

Week 2 - There was little the veteran running back could do with run blocking that was constantly beaten. Seattle had the ability to split blockers, cutting through the intended run tunnel and hitting Gore behind the line of scrimmage or at the hole. Often in his career, Gore had the ability to run through arm tackles, lower his shoulder and power through bodies. But the Seattle defense played with such discipline that Gore often found his powerful legs wrapped, unable to churn out hard yardage. A few times, the offensive line was able to get a decent push and Gore ran patient, his hand on his lineman’s back and took what was there. But there were never any large holes to exploit, only the tightest creases that would close as soon as they opened, and Gore didn’t have the physical ability to make large plays through a brick wall.

Week 3 - On the 49ers’ lone scoring drive, Frank Gore ran wild in space. The offensive line punished Indianapolis, slamming open creases that Gore hit with ferocity. On his first carry of the second drive, Gore sprinted through a big hole on the right, showing good speed to turn the corner, then cut back inside behind his downfield blocker for a 22-yard gain. The next play, Gore took the run through a big hole in the middle, making sharp cuts to stay in open running lanes. The vision and the ability to cut in to space was apparent as Gore punished Indianapolis on the ground. He slammed creases, finding a way to weave behind blockers with low pads. A good block to the right and Gore turned the sealed corner, running fast in space, following the blocking tight end for a 21-yard gain. Hunter finished the drive off but the combination of Gore and great blocking drove the 49ers down the field in a way that left Indianapolis looking helpless. But then Indianapolis began to pull away and the 49ers’ abandoned the running game, even though it was the only effective offensive option. Six of Gore’s eleven runs came in the first quarter, the 49ers’ most successful quarter. The 49ers fed Gore at the beginning of the third quarter and he pulled off runs of 7 and 5 yards, stiff arming defenders, hitting the crease hard and fast. Though Indianapolis only led by six points as the third quarter ended, the reliance on a laughably ineffective passing game was curious.

Week 4 - From beginning to end, Frank Gore showed why he may be one of the best running backs in 49er history. As time wore on, his vision and patience were still outstanding as he weaved through traffic, always cutting into open creases. On his first run of the game, Gore hit the big hole in the middle and broke through an arm tackle, then made a sharp cut past a tackler at the second level to gain 18 yards. Running with power, hitting the crease with low pads, Gore time after time punished the Rams defense with his runs. And unlike last week’s game where Gore’s success was underutilized, against the Rams he was fed the ball heavily. Coupled with the 49ers’ increased success run-blocking, Gore took advantage of the opportunities afforded him. When the Rams sold out to stop the run on 4th and inches, Gore hit the crease to the right with such speed that he blew by the first level. With the second level already committed at the line, there was nothing but space between Gore and the end zone, culminating in a 34-yard touchdown run. Gore’s 7.7 YPC were a strong indication of how dominant Gore was on the day, as in the second quarter he ripped off runs of 27 and 17 yards (in addition to the long touchdown run) through sheer force, his sharp cuts and prescient vision affording him space that other running backs would struggle to find. With the 49ers pulling away from the Rams in the second half, Gore continued to carry the ball with success, proving to be the catalyst that moved the offense forward. After last week’s offensive debacle against Indianapolis, the problems with relying solely on the passing game were apparent. And in the two games where the 49ers leaned heavily on Gore, handing him the ball 20+ times, the 49ers won. Gore again proved that even at 30 years old his vision and patience, his ability to find the small pockets of space and cut in, power through, are outstanding. The one blemish on Gore’s day came on the first drive of the 3rd quarter. Stuttering in the backfield then bursting through space, Gore sprinted past the first level and had wide open space before him. But a great individual play by Alec Ogletree to chase Gore down and punch the ball out from behind led to a 49ers’ turnover that the Rams were unable to capitalize on.

Week 5 - Gore ran well without huge success early on, but he capped the first drive of the game by burrowing into the end zone at the goal line. After that, Gore was able to get more success as he repeatedly broke onto the second level with relative ease. Gore had a very impressive game.

Week 6 - As the season progresses, so too does the quality of Frank Gore’s performances. Running more and more with a ferocity, Gore didn’t wait for holes to open, stay patient and allow plays to develop. No, Gore attacked the defense with a level of power and speed made only more battering by his low pads. Often when Gore runs, he uses his vision and patience to set up blocks. But against the third-best run defense, Gore took a different tactic. Combining his vision and speed, Gore attacked the hole at full blast, making quick cutbacks when the defense over-pursued. Sometimes the defense was able to collapse the tunnel upon Gore, but more often the running back was able to weave through traffic, squeeze in between blocks and defenders where no space should be. When met with a defender in the hole Gore ignored the obstacle, instead shrugging off arm and body tackles as he flew past the first level. Hard run, quick cut, and all the while Gore used his outstanding vision to make the right decision more often than not. While there are faster and stronger backs in the league, few use their skills quite like Gore. The hunger to get as many yards whatever the cost. Even when met in the backfield, he battled the defenders. When he broke through the middle and cut out to the right sideline, sprinting in wide open space, he kept the safety at bay with one hand, constantly attacking, constantly the aggressor. Still capable of being the ship that dragged the rest of the offense forward, his continued success on runs took pressure off the passing game, passing game that began to gel as the game wore on. With 25 carries on the day, much of the 49ers’ success was the result of the man who battered the Arizona defense in to the malleable creases they soon became.

Week 7 - For yet another week, the offensive game plan was built from Frank Gore outwards. The physical attributes that make Gore one of the best running backs in San Francisco history are legion: the power he generates from running with such low pads and strong legs, the vision and speed to hit the correct crease and beat the defenders to space, even his blocking ability which remains perhaps the best in the NFL for running backs. Against Tennessee, Gore took carry after carry for positive yards, consistently pushing San Francisco ahead in down and distance. Gore hit open creases so quickly that he caught defenders on their back-foot, forcing his way through the met resistance, constantly frustrating a defense that couldn’t beat Gore to space. And when space was limited, Gore was able to twist his body in a way that continued to push, to strive forward. On his first touchdown run, he took the carry from the 1-yard line and met the contorted wall. With a gap to his side, Gore was able to keep his feet and screw forward, twisting through the low space and getting in to the end zone. His second touchdown began again from the 1-yard line. With the defense stuffing the middle, San Francisco bounced Gore to the outside. Running patient, waiting for his blockers to set creases before making a decision, Gore cut when the opportunity arose. He met a defender at the goal line, but Gore’s pads were so low and his power so relentless that he squeezed past the opposition in to the end zone. Not only did Gore prove to be a merciless engine in the running game, when deployed in the passing game Gore created havoc for the Tennessee secondary. Backed near the 49er goal line, Gore caught a swing pass behind the line of scrimmage and immediately turned the sealed corner. From there it was a foot race down the sideline, stopped only by Tennessee’s Michael Griffin 29 yards downfield. On a short throw, Gore didn’t simply fight with the tight coverage for the ball, he twisted and tore the ball out of the air. Gore’s constant effectiveness also allowed Kaepernick to flourish when executing play-action and read-options. Add in Frank Gore’s lead blocking on Colin Kaepernick’s touchdown run, and Gore excelled at all phases of his game.

Week 8 - Though Frank Gore continued his run of fine form, much of the credit has to go to San Francisco’s offensive line. At times, they were able to block open holes wide enough for any running back to sprint through, not just the elusive Gore. When given space, Gore became a nightmare for defenders at the second level, making cuts so sharp that the defense struggled to lay a clean hit. On his first touchdown run, San Francisco was able to slam open a large hole in the middle and Gore made the second level almost immediately. The defense on their back heels, Gore was able to make sharp cuts to wrong foot defenders and then break left, behind his downfield blockers to get in to the end zone. Even when Jacksonville was able to contain the tunnel, Gore shot through at such speed, with such low pads and power, that defenders were taking more punishment than the back himself. Combined with Jacksonville’s inability to hold a point against the nasty, physical San Francisco run-blocking, Gore was used not only as a tool of yardage but a physical torment, this ball of ferocity that Jacksonville lay victim to. On Gore’s second touchdown run, San Francisco lined up in a jumbo package. Deep in to the third quarter Jacksonville crowded the line, hoping to push back whatever may come. But the speed with which Gore shot off his set position, taking the ball at full speed with such immediacy behind the heavy blows of the San Francisco offensive line, Jacksonville could only hold their position as Gore shot through the tight crease, his pads low as he dove in to the end zone. Gore’s ability to always find the small space, to take advantage of what was before him allowed San Francisco to stay ahead in down and distance, and when Kaepernick ran play-action and the read-option, Jacksonville was so haunted by Gore’s malfeasance they bit hard. Boldin and Davis found themselves open from blown coverage caused by Gore’s mere presence. Also, Gore’s lead blocking on one of Kaepernick’s touchdown runs was magnificent, and the running back continues to be one of the best blocking backs in the NFL. The one negative on Gore’s day was his fumble, as Kaepernick bobbled the snap and the exchange was never secured.

Week 10 - Proving yet again to be the center of the San Francisco offense, Frank Gore was the most effective option against the Carolina defense. San Francisco’s offensive line found more success run-blocking than pass-blocking, able to hit open holes and creases big enough for Gore to take advantage. Running with low pads and supreme vision, Gore consistently gained positive yards by shuffling through traffic and always moving hard north. On one run, Gore ran a counter to the left and was able to stretch past the first level. When a defender met him in the secondary, Gore was so low the tackler was twisted around, knocked to the ground as Gore ran through for 13-yards. On another run, Gore’s patience was perfectly displayed. With a hand on Miller’s back, Gore waited for the fullback to commit the one block that would knock the crease fully open. When the fullback made the block, Gore sprinted through the space for a long gain. No matter how effective Gore was on the ground (and in the passing game as a check down option), San Francisco’s inability to convert third downs or get any meaningful production from the passing game meant that the San Francisco offense was doomed to waste great field position. And though Gore has spent the season running at an extremely high level, he doesn’t possess the dominant physical ability of Adrian Peterson to carry the most anemic of offenses to victory.

Week 11 - Having proven to be the gear that moves the San Francisco offense, New Orleans created a defensive game plan that focused on stopping Gore. With successful one-on-one man coverage on the outside, New Orleans was able to load the box and contain Gore all game. Often New Orleans sent more defenders than blockers, a free man always finding his way to hitting Gore in the backfield. When Gore was able to find a tunnel, the tunnel often collapsed upon him. New Orleans stayed disciplined as they created a hole that would always swallow Gore. On one of the few occasions New Orleans lost discipline and committed all their men to the line, Gore squeezed through a tight crease and took off through the vacated second-level for a 25-yard gain. On a run where San Francisco was able to block successfully, seal the corner, Gore took a toss to the left and turned the corner for another long gain, showing his speed when given room. Though Gore ran hard and low, the wall he met was too mighty. Rarely did Gore get a chance to find holes, hit creases instead of simply trying to run through a broken, overwhelmed line. The worst play of Gore’s day, perhaps his season, came in the 4th quarter. With San Francisco needing points, Kaepernick rolled to the left and Gore’s defender committed to stopping the quarterback. Gore was wide open. Kaepernick threw a decent pass that hit Gore in the hands and the running back dropped the ball. Only empty field between Gore and the end zone, but the pass landed incomplete.

Week 12 - Perhaps the worst outcome of Gore’s great performances during the middle of the season was how obviously vital Gore proved to be. The past three weeks, teams have stacked the box in an effort to stop Gore no matter what, allowing one-on-one coverage to the outside. Though Washington’s inability to successfully defend the pass allowed Kaepernick to thrive, the stacked boxes continued to make running difficult for Gore. He was able to get what was blocked for him, but often that meant very little. The holes collapsed before Gore could get to them, slight creases allowed Gore to slip through but not much more. Gore still showed his usual tenacity, but cutting past one defender meant meeting another, slipping away from one tackle meant meeting another. There was no space for Gore to run, and though he kept his pads low and his power churning, he was unable to make a positive impact.

Week 13 - Running against stacked boxes and behind an offensive line missing both Joe Staley and Mike Iupati, Gore was unable to get much of anything. The offensive line was often unable to create enough of a push to prevent Gore from meeting tacklers at the line of scrimmage. When a small crease was opened, St. Louis had enough men committed to swarm from the second level. Gore ran with his usual power and low pads, but a step was missing from his acceleration and quickness that would have allowed him to exploit the space between the initial crease and the second level. His touchdown run was the result of a crease just slight enough for Gore to squeeze through from the 3-yard line. With his pads down, Gore hit the crease at full speed and so low that the tackler couldn’t get enough leverage to force Gore backwards. Gore also exhibited some of his usual excellent pass blocking, helping to defend Kaepernick against St. Louis’ extra pass rushers. But the second level of speed and agility that would allow Gore to pull away from tacklers in the passing game or beat defenders on the other side of the hole was missing, though his usual tenacity and power remained. Gore did lose a fumble, as he fought for extra yards at the end of a carry and gave himself up for a free swipe from the defender.

Week 14 - A marked difference that led to the success of the running game against Seattle was San Francisco’s ability to generate enough push by the offensive line to open decent holes. For weeks, the San Francisco run game struggled against stacked boxes, forcing Gore to run at filled holes with limited success. Though there were a number of run plays Seattle was able to break up from the beginning with good penetration, when San Francisco was able to get their blockers ahead of the play Gore took advantage. One of the more impressive aspects of Gore’s game was his ability to make himself as small as possible to squeeze through holes. Though Gore no longer has top end speed or possesses a giant, powerful frame, his ability to simply lower his pads and squeeze through the tightest space allowed him to get through creases that quickly closed. With low pads, Gore often hit the defender at the second level and pushed forward for a positive gain. In the fourth quarter, with San Francisco down and needing points, the offensive line was able to block open a tunnel on the left. Gore hit the space fast, and as he made the second level he cut across the field, taking advantage of Earl Thomas’ poor angle to get 51 yards downfield before he slid in bounds to keep the clock running. The long run was set up by excellent blocking and excellent vision, as Gore’s ability to find even the slightest space was multiplied with holes and angles to run.

Week 15 - Recently defenses have been able to contain Gore by loading the box, sending enough defenders towards the hole to overwhelm the blockers. Even with additional defenders focusing on Gore, Tampa Bay was less successful in their efforts stopping the run due to excellent blocking by San Francisco’s offensive line. Gore stayed patient as the holes and creases opened, always heading north as he cut through space. When the holes closed or a defender was able to fill a gap, Gore used his power to run through, often trampling the lone tackler or at least pushing far enough forward in the melee for a positive gain. The power of Gore was very impressive, as he was able to fight off defenders with stiff arms and run through arm tackles on a consistent basis. Though Gore’s speed has fallen off, his ability to make himself small, hit tight creases and closing holes with power, allowed the running back to grind out 4 and 5 yard gains to keep San Francisco moving forward. Though the big plays and long breakaway runs are a rarity this season, his ability to will the offense forward with every hard, positive run continued to push the offense forward, as well allow Kaepernick to utilize play-action on manageable down and distances.

Week 16 - Whether through wear from this season or wear from all the seasons that have come before, Frank Gore looked increasingly unable to break big runs. For most of the game, San Francisco was able to block well. The offensive line owned the point of attack and Atlanta’s only chance to stop the run came by sending additional men to fill gaps. And though Gore was able to use his great vision to find the space and cut behind blockers, his lack of speed often meant that Gore reached the second level only to be tackled by the remaining safety. The 5-7 yard gains were incredibly valuable in keeping San Francisco ahead on down and distance, but the opportunity for longer gains that could have broken the game open were squandered. But that glaring weakness in Gore’s game did not take away from the myriad of things Gore did well. His blocking was excellent as usual, both as a pass blocker and laying down lead blocks on Kaepernick’s runs. His ability to get low, squeeze through tight space and attack the defender on the other side of the hole was impressive as always. His touchdown run was the result of some heavy power running, as the 49ers lined up in a jumbo formation on the goal line. On the first try, Gore took a quick handoff and slammed the line, but Atlanta was able to hold. No matter, as on the second attempt Gore got low, met the linebacker at the point of attack and ran right through for the touchdown. That same drive, Gore had a beautiful run where he curled off his lead block and made extremely quick cuts in space, leaving defenders wrong footed as he cut-cut-cut through space for a 17-yard gain. And though Gore’s top end speed is mostly gone (as is his production in the passing game), his quickness, power and vision still allowed him to consistently gain the hard yardage that kept the San Francisco offense moving forward.

Week 17 - Gore’s dismal performance wasn’t solely the product of going against the best run defense in the league. Gore consistently met heavy resistance at the point of attack, gaps were immediately filled and on a few runs Gore couldn’t take a step after the handoff without being tackled. But there were plays where the offensive line was able to open enough space for a hard run to break through. Gore often couldn’t build enough steam to break through the arm tackles, or accelerate quickly enough before the hole closed. He looked two steps too slow, and without the speed to take advantage of the limited space, Gore was often left looking for creases that weren’t there. Even on Gore’s best run, San Francisco was able to block open enough space for a fast, hard run to break through. Gore was unable to do much beyond getting past the first level, the few holes closing before Gore could approach. With the running game such a disaster, San Francisco was forced to rely on the passing game and abandoned Gore altogether.

Week 18 - Considering the fact that the Green Bay Packers defense is ranked 25th in the NFL against the run, we might have expected more from Frank Gore. But the Packers did a solid job of stymieing Gore and held him to just 3.3 yards per carry, well below the 4.1 yards per carry he had over the course of this past season. That said, he looked a lot better than his stats seemed to indicate. While he was stopped at the line of scrimmage multiple times (and once or twice behind it) he usually got positive yards and broke off regular runs of four and five yards—certainly helpful in getting the offense in a good position on early downs. Gore had a nice run on his touchdown as well. On the play, Green Bay defender Andy Mulumba froze as quarterback Colin Kaepernick handed the ball off to Gore, but made it seem as if he might hang onto it. That hesitation gave Gore enough time to get past the line of scrimmage and gather a head of steam so when a tackler did touch him, he just dragged the man into the end zone. Gore also had a nice 11-yard catch in the fourth quarter as well. On the play, Kaepernick had all day against a weak Packers pass rush and found Gore wide open for an easy catch-and-run first down. Overall, it wasn’t the day many expected from a top back against a weak run defense, but Gore kept the ball moving and his presence likely helped free Kaepernick for some of his runs as well. As with the touchdown run by Gore, because Gore was a threat, the defense needed to hesitate to make sure he did or didn’t get the ball. With his speed, Kaepernick was able to hurt them every time they hesitated. The Packers had no answer for Kaepernick and really, none for Gore either.

Week 19 - Running against a powerful defensive line, Gore often found himself fighting to get past the line of scrimmage. Windows collapsed, creases collapsed on top of Gore as he made slow cuts looking for space. A step too slow as San Francisco was unable to hold open holes for long, Carolina constantly moving to fill space. Without the speed to make the outside or beat the defense to the point of attack, Gore found himself with his head down, his pads low as he tried to hit his way in to some space. For most of the first half, Gore was unsuccessful. As the second half opened, Gore found more and more space before him. San Francisco was able to expand those tight windows as the Carolina defense wore down, and runs that had previously gone for 1-yard were now opening up for 4-yards as Gore veered through space. On the first drive of the fourth quarter, the San Francisco offensive line was able to open a big hole. Gore broke through, and the second level was vacated. Gore cut past a safety and sprinted through wide open space for a 39-yard gain. Though a faster back would have taken the run for a touchdown, Gore’s long break set up San Francisco for a field goal that put the game just out of reach.

Week 20 - Gore had a nice run down to the one on second and goal, and threw a block on Kaepernick's longest run of the day, but otherwise he was bottled up by an inspired Seahawks run defense. Gore was barely on the field in the decisive parts of the fourth quarter, as the 49ers abandoned their traditional running game.