Matt Forte
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With news circulating that Matt Forte’s days are over with the Chicago Bears are over, the natural thought progression is to consider a landing place.
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The Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and Green bay Packers come to mind, but the team that makes the most sense is the New England Patriots.
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The Patriots look for reclamation projects so much they should be on HGTV. If they can make a re-tread like Steven Jackson work, imagine what they could do with a player of Forte’s ability?
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Besides, his skill set fits perfectly with Tom Brady. Forte’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well as move the chains in a more traditional way makes perfect sense for New England.
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The price will have to be right for Forte and New England to come to a deal, but from a fantasy perspective this makes perfect sense.


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Matt Forte had an unbelievable rookie season compiling 1715 total yards (1238 rushing) and 12 TDs (8 rushing). Jay Cutler was brought in to keep defenses from stuffing the box. He was going in the top five of fantasy drafts. Then 2009 happened.

 

It wasn’t an utter failure as he piled up 1400 total yards (929 rushing) and 4 TDs, but a far cry from his brilliant rookie season and fantasy owner’s expectations. He failed to top 70 rushing yards in 11 games last year. He had 62 or fewer total yards, without a TD I might add, in four of his first six games. Imagine getting 6.2 or fewer points from your number one pick four out of six times to start the year. He killed fantasy owners.

 

That’s why it shouldn’t be a surprise why his ADP, according to Mock Draft Central, sits at 44 (22nd RB).  I have him right around the same place (click to see my 2010 RB rankings). With Chester Taylor and Mike Martz in town, it’s easy to see why people have soured on Forte. He didn’t help matters when he ran for seven yards on four carries in the preseason opener against the Chargers. Things, however, may have changed in the Bears’ second preseason game.

 

Forte ripped off an 89-yard touchdown run on his way to 109 yards on five carries. Clearly the burst that seemed to be missing is back. While Chester Taylor’s arrival may hurt him in the passing game, and subsequently knock his PPR value down a bit, Forte could be better served by having fresh legs down the stretch. That could be important because the Bears play in Buffalo, Green Bay, and four times in Chicago from Week 9 (November 7th) on. With those potential bad weather games, Forte could be very busy as the season winds down. Having somewhat fresh legs will go a long way.

 

If you aren’t able to draft Forte, you may be able to get him early in the season as he plays the Cowboys, Packers, and Giants in Weeks 2-4. If he struggles early, he could become an excellent buy low candidate. With a fantasy playoff schedule of New England, Minnesota, and the Jets, he may not help when you need it the most, but he can help get you there.

 

What are your thoughts on Matt Forte?

The Bears are a complete mess. Their leader on defense is having it out with the team’s legends. Not surprising given the name of this site, I support the legends. As far as their fantasy outlook, they are perhaps the most volatile bunch in the league. Cutler and Forte could emerge or they could disappear to the fantasy wasteland.

 

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Extremely Difficult
First up in Week 14 is the New England Patriots. They are playing at home so weather could be a factor. Next up is the Minnesota Vikings on the road. They won’t have to deal with the elements, but they will be facing back-to-back Super Bowl contenders. The road doesn’t get any smoother in the fantasy championship game as the return home to face the Jets.

 

Five Star Fantasy Options
None

 

Four Star Fantasy Options
Jay Cutler – I know he’s not loved around the league  or by fantasy owners, especially after the 26 interceptions he threw last year, but he is a talented QB. Mike Martz was brought in to improve the offense, and I think Cutler will be the main benefactor.

 

Greg Olsen – I know Tight Ends don’t excel in Martz’s offense, but when has he had a TE of Olsen’s caliber? He had Vernon Davis, but that was before he emerged. Olsen followed a 54 catch, 574 yard, 5 TD sophomore season with 60 catches for 612 yards and 8 TDs. He remains the Bears’ best option in the passing game, and he will be utilized.

 

Three Star Fantasy Options
Matt Forte – Forte was one of the major disappointments last year, but I think Chester Taylor’s presence will help. Taylor is a crafty veteran who will help show Forte the ropes. He will also take away some of the pressure on Forte making him a more effective runner.

 

Two Star Fantasy Options
Chester Taylor – Assuming Forte holds onto the starting gig, Taylor only makes for a decent backup RB or flex option. He can do it all. Run, catch, block. His work ethic could win him the starting job at some point, which kind of makes him a 2.5 star guy.

 

Devin Aromashodu, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox – The Bears have four capable receivers. Unfortunately there isn’t much separating them. Hester had the most catches and yards. Knox had the most TDs. Aromashodu had an explosive finish. Bennett was #2 in catches and yards. Hester is probably the safest bet. Aromashodu has the most upside. While all four should be owned in most deep leagues, I wouldn’t want any of them as anything more than a 4th or 5th WR.

 

 

Bears Defense/Special Teams
The arrival of Julius Peppers and the return of big mouth Urlacher should make them a viable option again. They play the Lions twice, the Bills, and the Seahawks. Unfortunately they draw the Vikes twice, the Pack twice, the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Patriots.

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

Time for another Fourth & 1 Roundtable Debate.   Kurt Turner of www.top-fantasy-football.com came up with this week’s topic.  Click here to see the full article.

This week’s question: What are your top two buy low / sell high candidates headed into week four?

Buy Low
There are a number of good Buy Low options as several stars have yet to score a TD. Running Backs Matt Forte and Steve Slaton are candidates, but prying a Running Back that was selected in the first round away from someone is a tall order.

A player that I would target is Carolina’s Steve Smith, who shockingly is becoming the “other” Steve Smith. He has just 190 yards through three games. What’s worse is 131 of those yards came against Atlanta in Week 2 meaning he has just 59 yards in his other two games. A reason that Smith could be acquired is the horrific play of his Quarterback, Jake Delhomme, who has 7 INTs and 2 Fumbles through three games. His poor play has caused people to question Smith’s value, which opens the door for you to swoop in and nab a WR1 for below market value. Smith is too talented not to come around.

Sell High
Everybody expected Matt Ryan to make a huge leap this year, but it’s the other Sophomore Sensation Joe Flacco that’s lighting up the league. Flacco is seventh in passing yards with 839 and tied for 4th with 6 passing TDs. Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Matt Schaub are the only other guys with at least 800 yards passing and 6 TDs. I don’t see a major fall from grace, but I don’t see him keeping up his top five fantasy QB ranking either. His fantasy value will likely never be higher. The weather is fine now, but later in the year when it gets cold and sloppy, the Giants will rely more heavily on their ground game.

Another player I’d consider moving is Mario Manningham. His value is also extremely high as teams scrambled to grab him as a waiver wire gem. There are a few things that will be going against him going further. Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon will be returning from their injuries. They won’t take his starting gig, but they well likely take some of his targets. Also, if you check your calendar it’s October. It’s nice nice, but once the weather gets cold and sloppy the Giants will shy away from the passing game a bit and utilize their powerful rushing attack.

Panelists
Junkyard Jake of www.junkyardjake.com
Ryan Lester of www.lesterslegends.com
Paul Greco of www.fantasypros911.com
Bryce McRae of www.kffl.com
Kurt Turner of www.top-fantasy-football.com
Eric Stashin of www.rotoprofessor.com
Lee of www.footballjabber.com
Smitty of www.fantasyfootballxtreme.com

I’m going to look at the matchups each week and pick five fantasy starters that could be in for a tough week.  Here’s a look at players who could struggle this week.

Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks – Matt had his way against the Rams last week, but I think that’s going to be a familiar tune in St. Louis.  He faces the 49ers next week, and while they aren’t going to confuse anyone for Pittsburgh, Mike Singletary has his team believing and they are going to get after it on Defense.  Kurt Warner didn’t look particularly well against the Niners last week, and even without two of his top three wides, he still has more weapons than Hasselbeck.  Bonus:  Don’t count on Julius Jones to repeat.

Steve Slaton, Houston Texans – Albert Haynesworth may not be in Tennessee anymore, but that Titan Defense is still very tough.  A trendy pick to earn a Wildcard spot, Houston is in danger of falling to 0-2.  Tennessee is also in danger of falling to 0-2.  They are going to do their best to shut down the rushing attack and put pressure on Matt Schaub.  Bonus:  Don’t rely on Schaub this week.

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears - Forte faced a tough Packer defense to open the season and things get worse.  He takes on Pittsburgh at home.  He was limited to 55 yards on 25 carries (2.2 ypc) in the opener, and, perhaps even more concerning, he did not catch a pass after leading all RBs in that category last week.  One bright spot is not having to face Troy Polamalu, but the forecast is still not sunny for Forte.  Bonus:  Avoid Jay Cutler as well.

Roy Williams, Dallas Cowboys - Roy started the season off on the right foot with 3 catches for 86 yards and a score last week against Tampa Bay, but the Giants are going a much more difficult challenge for the Boys.  The G-Men are going to get after Romo, and I see him relying more on Witten and his Backs this week.

Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals - Ocho had a nice game with 5 catches for 89 yards against Denver.  They are going to find out the Packers’ defense is much stiffer than the Broncos’.  To me this could be one of those ugly games where they muster only 150-180 passing yards or so, which would make Ocho a risky play.  Bonus:  Avoid all Bengals this week.

Matt Forte Leaping
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Like most of the top Running Backs this year, there are some question marks with Matt Forte.  AP likely has to deal with a gunslinger taking over at QB.  MJD has never had more than 200 carries so it’s unknown how he’ll deal with an increased workload.  Michael Turner had a ton of carries last year, something that historically has been bad for the following year production.  Matt Forte’s questions are similar to AP’s.  What will the addition of a proven QB mean to his production?  With Jay Cutler under Center, will Forte lose carries?  Likely.  Though his ability to catch the football (led all RBs with 63 receptions last year) will keep him heavily involved in the Offense.  Will his presence open up the running game by keeping Defenses honest?  Likely.  Though I don’t expect Forte’s production to suffer from Cutler’s arrival.

The main thing Forte had going for him was consistency.  He only failed to reach 10 fantasy points in one game (8.5 in Week 4 against Philly) during the typical fantasy season (He had 7.5 in Week 17).  He scored a TD in 10 of the first 16 games.  He didn’t have monster games, but he delivered every week.  Despite playing in an Offense with limited skill position players, Forte had 1715 total yards and 12 total TDs.

He has a fairly friendly fantasy schedule early on facing Detroit in Week 4 (unfortunately the second meeting is Week 17), a three-game stretch in Weeks 7-9 against Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Arizona, and Week 13 against St. Louis.  His fantasy playoff schedule is brutal, which makes him a candidate to sell high.  He faces Green Bay, Baltimore, and Minnesota.  His pass-catching ability should help, but that’s a tough schedule at the worst possible time.

Though he could struggle down the stretch, he should still be good for 1700 total yards and 10+ TDs.  Barring injury he’ll be selected in the top four picks with a slight bump in PPR leagues.

Matt Forte (22)
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The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that the hamstring scare that for Chicago Bears star Running Back Matt Forte out of Wednesdays practice was just that–a scare.  He sat out yesterday, and could continue to sit out for the next week or two as Chicago proceeds with caution.  Forte underwent an MRI as a precaution.  He should be ready for training camp, and his status as a top five fantasy pick is not in danger.

This is my preseason top ten.

Click here for my Midseason revised rankings.

Click here for my Second Half rankings.

adrian-peterson
1.  Adrian Peterson – All Day led the league in rushing and scored double-digit TDs again.  Sure, the loss of Matt Birk will hurt, but Peterson shouldn’t miss a beat.  He’s looking to add some muscle mass this offseason without losing any speed.  A bigger AP with the same speed and quickness.  Scary.

2.  Michael Turner – Burner Turner did not disappoint in his first shot as the feature back.  He struggled early against good defenses, but scored in seven of his last eight games.  As Matt Ryan progresses at QB, it will become more difficult to key in on Turner.

3.  Matt Forte - I love Forte’s versatility.  As a rookie he had the third most receiving yards for a Running Back.  Second if you discount Kevin Faulk, who isn’t a feature back.  He had 1715 total yards and 12 combined TDs.  Even if he has a 10% Sophomore slump dip in production, he’d still be good for over 1500 total yards and 10-11 TDs.

4.  Maurice Jones-Drew – With Fred Taylor heading to New England, MJD should be huge in 2009.  He’s always good for 400+ receiving yards and double-digit TDs.  Give him 300-320 carries and you could be looking at nearly 2000 total yards and 15+ TDs.

5.  Ronnie Brown - Last year Ronnie had 214 carries to Ricky Williams’ 160.  I think the split will be even more in Ronnie’s favor next year.  With Ronnie another year removed from his knee injury, he should be closer to the 2007 back that had 991 total yards and five combined TDs in seven games.

lt
6.  LaDainian Tomlinson - LT battled through a variety of ailments last year and still managed to produce 1536 total yards and 12 combined TDs.  Not only do I think he’ll be healthy in ’09, I think he will be motivated.  I don’t see pre-2008 LT, but a better version that last year’s model.

7.  Clinton Portis – CP was severely overworked last year, but he still remains on the right side of 30. I see him producing similar numbers next year, only spaced out a whole lot better.  Jim Zorn will do a better job managing Portis’ carries so he doesn’t wear down at the end of the year.

8.  Brandon Jacobs - You would think Derrick Ward’s departure to Tampa Bay would have a significant impact on Jacobs’ value.  I don’t think so.  Ahmad Bradshaw will likely pick up most of the slack. As long as Jacobs can stay healthy, there isn’t any reason he couldn’t run for 1200+ yards and scored 18+ TDs.

9.  DeAngelo Williams – You must think I’m crazy putting D-Will this low after leading all RBs in scoring last year.  I’m sorry, but I don’t see another 1700 total yards from him.  Furthermore, there is little to no chance he approaches 20 TDs again.  Jonathan Stewart played a major role last year, and I think the split will be a little closer to 50/50 this year.

10.  Steven Jackson - Steven Jackson’s strong finish (637 total yards and 4 combined TDs in his last five games) is sticking in my mind more than the most forgettable 19 games he had in 2007 and the first part of 2008.  If he can stay healthy he has a chance to leapfrog several of the guys above him.  I haven’t completely forgotten though, which is why he’s in the ten spot.

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Well the Bears picked a starting QB for better or worse.  To be fair, Kyle Orton looked decent at times.  The Bears struck gold with rookie RB Matt Forte.  Devin Hester made strides at WR last year and Rashied Davis was decent, but they could use some help at WR.  My guess is they will draft an WR at some point or bring in a low-end WR a la Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd.  Greg Olsen is a major threat as a receiving Tight End, and forms a great TE pair with Desmond Clark. 

Defensively Mike Brown and Nick Roach are their key free agents.  Given Brown’s injury history, I don’t see him going anywhere, although the Bears may choose not to bring him back.

KFFL Free Agent Tracker:

Pos Player Name FA Status Previous Team Current Team
QB Rex Grossman UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
QB Kyle Orton Re-signed Chicago Bears Chicago Bears
RB Kevin Jones UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
WR Rudy Burgess Re-signed Chicago Bears Chicago Bears
WR Brandon Lloyd UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
OT Fred Miller UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
OT John St. Clair UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
OL Tyler Reed Re-signed Chicago Bears Chicago Bears
LB Darrell McClover UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
LB Nick Roach ERFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
SS Mike Brown UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
SS Josh Gattis ERFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
FS Brandon McGowan UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent

We’ve done the Big Dog RBs, Second Tier RBs, Third Tier RBs, and Fourth Tier RBs, now it’s time to look at the next wave of RBs.  We’re getting your bench RBs and Bye Week plays.  You can use these guys for trades or simply use them as insurance policies in case of injury.

Selvin Young – Usually a Denver RB is as good as gold.  I just can’t quite trust any of them this year.  Selvin had 960 total yards last year, but only 1 TD.  Michael Pittman and Ryan Torain could steal touches from Young.

Rudi Johnson/Kenny Watson – Early indications are that Rudi is back.  He’s in terrific shape and is hitting the holes hard.  Problem is Kenny Watson easily outplayed him last year.  I think this is going to be a true RBBC with them splittiing carries fairly equally (barring injury).  Kenny Watson had over 1000 total yards and 7 TDs.  Rudi had 600 and 4.  You would think Rudi would be the short yardage back, but Watson will probably get plenty of work in the redzone because of his pass-catching ability. 

Jonathan Stewart – Since DeAngelo Williams hasn’t lived up to the hype, I see the Oregon rookie stealing the show down in Carolina.  He’s a bruiser at 5’11″, 230 Lbs with good speed.  He ran for 1722 yards for the Ducks last year, and should have a solid rookie showing.

Matt Forté - Things looked real good for the Tulane rookie before Kevin Jones inked a deal with Da Bears.  That said, I’m not sure KJ is healthy enough (or will remain healthy) to keep Forte from being a decent fantasy play.  He ran for 2127 yards and 23 TDs in his Senior season.  He’s also capable of catching the ball out of the backfield. 

Kevin Smith – Another rookie that could make waves this year is Detroit’s Kevin Smith.  He doesn’t have great speed, but he tore it up for UCF last year racking up 2567 yards and 29 TDs.  If the Pro game isn’t too fast for him, he could be a steady contributor.

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