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I Eat Crow On Frank Gore And Ask If There's Any More

Last week I wrote a post stating that there was no hope for fantasy owners who drafted Frank Gore. The Forty Niners had a poor offensive line, a miserable passing game and were suffering from badness all around. In addition, Gore seemed to be suffering from lingering injuries that were unlikely to fully heal this season. I recommended that owners bench Gore if they had a better option. In one of my leagues I benched Gore for Ryan Grant.

Gore went out and had a great game last Sunday and I was called out for my predictions (and rightly so) in a comments thread. Is that stopping me? Absolutely not. I'll stand up and admit that it was the wrong decision to bench Gore last week, but I'm standing by my original point: Frank Gore is not a great fantasy option this season.

While Gore owners have been waiting a long time for his "breakout" game, owners of the other two huge busts of 2007 - LaDanian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson - have already seen their stud have his "breakout" game of the season. Here's a question though: what followed that "breakout" game? Let's take a look.

Larry Johnson

Period
Rush Yds/Gm
Rush TD/Gm
W1-W3 (3 Gms)
47
0
Week 4
123
0
W5-W9 (4 Gms)
74
.75
Larry Johnson started out the season completely useless to fantasy owners until he "shook off the rust" and busted out in Week 4 -- although 123 yards and no touchdowns is hardly a record-breaking effort. Still, it was much appreciated by his owners. Since then he improved his stats to a still-disappointing 74 rushing yards per game but was soon injured and hasn't played since Week 9. His breakout game signaled an improvement, but nowhere near what was expected of him.

LaDanian Tomlinson
Period
Rush Yds/Gm
Rush TD/Gm
W1-W5 (5 Gms)
66
0.4
Week 6
198
4
W8-W12 (5 Gms)
69
0.6
LaDanian Tomlinson, once the surest thing in fantasy football, started off the season at a pace barely good enough to finish as a 1000 yard rusher. He had a monster game in Week 6 but then settled back into the same miserable performance level, although his TD numbers did creep up a bit. Even so, LT is basically the same disappointment he was before the 4 TD outburst.

Frank Gore
Period
Rush Yds/Gm
Rush TD/Gm
W1-W11 (9 Gms)
60
0.33
Week 12
116
2
So what does that mean for Gore? His dry spell was far longer than either Johnson or Tomlinson, likely signaling a more systemic problem. His breakout game was great for owners who ignored me, but it was still not up to par. Last season Gore had more than 116 rushing yards in HALF of his games. This season 116 yards against a mid-level defense is considered a glorious breakout effort. That just doesn't fill me with confidence.

Maybe Gore - and the Niners - have turned a corner but I still don't see what that corner would be. Gore didn't get suddenly healthy last week, in fact it looked as though he injured his ankle early in the game. Will other teams be unable to devise a defense to counter the screen pass? Do opposing cornerbacks now fear Trent Dilfer? What is it that's different? I have Gore in two of my leagues (including the Fake Teams Reader League) so I want to believe. I just don't see anything that gives me that hope.