Punch Drunk Wonderland

Is Frank Gore Flying Under the 2016 Fantasy Radar?

Frank Gore Colts

Frank Gore and the Indianapolis Colts struggled mightily in 2015. When you lose your star young quarterback early that can happen. And, when you’re a running back trying to do it all behind a shoddy offensive line suffering is on the menu. 2015  was rough on the aging RB. That said, he may be worth more than many mockers are giving him credit going into 2016. His QB is back and there are potential improvements on the Colts’ offensive line. Is Frank Gore worth more than his ADP suggests at this point? Our friends at numberFire have taken a look.

It’s important to work together in a relationship, even in Hollywood.

When I think of the 2016 Indianapolis Colts, I’m reminded of the teamwork exemplified by two Los Angeles policemen in the classic 1987 buddy-cop filmLethal Weapon. Veteran running back Frank Gore is nearly-retired veteran Roger Murtaugh to quarterback Andrew Luck‘s young-and-reckless Martin Riggs. In that film, nearly all of the trouble the pair of officers get into is a result of Riggs rushing headlong into action, and Murtaugh always mutters to himself, “I’m too old for this.”

A dynamic tandem like this was what fantasy owners were hoping to see when Gore signed with the Colts last season: maybe he would have fewer overall touches than when he was the entire offense in San Francisco, but playing with a cannon-armed quarterback like Luck would, in theory, benefit his efficiency.

Luck has continually taken most of the offensive responsibility onto his own shoulders, but the Colts fell apart when he succumbed to injury last year. His partner, Gore, ended up a solid fantasy contributor, but not a very efficient one.

Can Gore put on a vintage award-worthy performance in 2016, when the Colts’ debonair leading man, Luck, returns?

Tour de Force

When you look at Frank Gore, it’s hard to fathom that he’s already 33 years old. When you consider that he’s 33 and still playing at a high level, it’s hard to believe that he actually tore both of his ACLs in college before he even began his now 12-year NFL career at a position where longevity is a rare quality.

Frank Gore is the Betty White of the NFL: still cranking out hits well into the twilight years of the career.

But it takes a lot of weight to carry a feature performance for the entirety of an NFL season at Gore’s age. With 2,702 carries in his career, Gore’s star power is waning on his own, but he was forced to take the lead billing in nine of the Colts’ games last year when Luck succumbed to injuries. He played more than half of the season with bit-part quarterbacks such as Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst, Ryan Lindley, and Josh Freeman, the latter three of which combined for a startlingly bad 52.86 percent completion rate.

Despite defenses knowing they didn’t have to fear being beat by the pass, Gore still finished as the 14th-best scoring fantasy running back in half-PPR formats.

But was he better when playing opposite Andrew Luck?

I used the Rotoviz Game Splits app to slice apart Gore’s per-game stats with and without the Colts’ best passer. We’ve seen before that running backs from quality offenses perform better; is it the same for Gore? The table below shows these production splits in rushing and in terms of half-PPR fantasy points.

Split Games Rush ruYd ruY/A ruTD FP
With Luck 7 15.6 64.0 4.11 0.43 11.49
Without Luck 9 16.8 57.7 3.44 0.33 11.33

 

As expected, Gore had a higher rushing yards-per-attempt rate with Luck, if for no other reason than that defenses couldn’t ignore the passing power of Luck, a far superior quarterback to the Indy backups. Nevertheless, there was not a noticeable difference in Gore’s fantasy point production between the two, due to a slightly increased workload in Luck’s absence that offset his loss of efficiency.

This helps illuminate somewhat, but Luck himself had a 55.29 percent completion rate in 2015, so it’s not a guarantee that he was playing well at any given point in time. Can we break this down any further?

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)

 

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