frank-gore-again2

Welcome again to one of those times when we observe the offseason bruising of a frequently bruised player, and try to make some sense of it, if there’s any sense to be made at all. Every football practice is inherently important, but a practice in May is much less important than one in September, so often a player sitting out said practice is either ignored, or given little attention.

But that doesn’t apply when you’re a guy who consistently breaks and therefore your name is DeMarco Murray, or if you’re a 30-year-old running back, and therefore your name is Frank Gore.

Gore joined the overflowing list of 49ers who are either injured, or close to being injured when he sat out yesterday and was limited to only riding a stationary bike during Tuesday’s OTA session. So basically, if you were rockin’ to 80′s tunes after work while peddling away at the gym, you did about as much grinding as Gore. Don’t judge me.

Jim Harbaugh doesn’t usually like to say anything about anything, unless he’s discussing jive turkey gobblers. When he was asked about Gore being being sidelined, the Niners head coach said there’s nothing to worry about. From Niners Nation, here’s the back and forth he had with the various media recorders and notebooks that were present:

We haven’t seen him out here practicing. We see him doing individual work. Is he working through stuff on his own off to the side?

“Yeah, he’s working through a little something.”

Nothing too serious?

“No.”

Lingering from 2012?

“Just working through something. Nothing too serious.”

That’s pretty much what should have been expected. No matter what the calendar says, Gore resting is always a wonderful thing. Despite his age and the overall abuse he’s endured, any rest he gets increases the chance that he’ll record his third straight 16-game season, and there’s a whole lot of fantasy value in a healthy Gore who’s leading one of the best rushing attacks in the league.

Boosted by the emergence of Colin Kaepernick and the dynamic running game his presence created, the 49ers were one of only four teams to average over 150 rushing yards per game (155.7) this past season, and they were third in yards per carry (5.1). With Gore, the less is more approach has applied both here in May, and during the season.

With his 1,214 yards and nine total touchdowns (one was through the air), he had his best rushing season since 2006, narrowly passing his total of 1,211 yards in 2011. Yet he did that on a very moderate 258 carries, a year after receiving 282. Having Kaepernick and his running threat along with a deep backfield which also boasts Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James kept Gore fresh and effective. He only had four games with 20 or more carries in 2012, with his single-game high topping out at 23.

Yet even with that managed and controlled workload, Gore still finished with 190 fantasy points, a pace of 11.9 per game. That led to fine value, as despite an ADP of about 30th overall, he vastly outperformed Matt Forte (ADP of 17.4, 167 fantasy points), and most notably, Chris Johnson (ADP of 8.4, 162 points).

So far this year in mocks it’s looking like in 10-team leagues you’ll be faced with a difficult decision: Gore, or Reggie Bush? Both have struggled with injuries in the past, but they’re both in deep offenses. Gore is in a much more run-oriented offense, while Bush will catch all the footballs as a consistent option out of the backfield in Detroit. In PPR leagues, it’s Bush, but roll with old man Gore everywhere else.