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Player Spotlight: Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears (1 Viewer)

Jason Wood

Zoo York
2013 Player Spotlight Series

One of Footballguys best assets is our message board community. The Shark Pool is, in our view, the best place on the internet to discuss, debate and analyze all things fantasy football. In what's become an annual tradition, the Player Spotlight series is a key part of the preseason efforts. As many of you know, we consider the Player Spotlight threads the permanent record for analyzing the fantasy prospects of the player in question. This year, we plan to publish more than 140 offensive spotlights covering the vast majority of expected skill position starters.

As always we will post a list of players to be discussed each week. Those threads will remain open for the entire preseason, and should be a central point to discuss expectations for the player in question.

Thread Topic: Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

Player Page Link: Matt Forte Player Page

Each article will include:

  • Detailed viewpoint from a Footballguys staff member
  • Links to thoughtful viewpoints from around the Web
  • FBG Projections
The Rules

In order for this thread to provide maximum value, we ask that you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Focus commentary on the player (or players) in question, and your expectations for said player (or players)
  • Back up your expectations in whatever manner you deem appropriate; avoid posts that simply say "I hate him" or "He's the best"
  • Avoid redundancies or things like "good posting" ... this should be about incremental analysis or debate
While not a requirement, we strongly encourage you to provide your own projections for the player (players):

Projections should include:

  • For QBs: Attempts, Completions, Passing Yards, Passing TDs, Ints, Rush Attempts, Rush Yards, Rush TDs
  • For RBs: Rushes, Rushing Yards, Rush TDs, Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving TDs
  • For WRs & TEs: Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving TDs
 
I expect to see Forte being very productive this year.

1-Trestman in as HC; From what I've read, Trestman has utilized his RBs as receivers in the CFL. He obviously has done so an an OC in the NFL, from Cleveland in '89 (104), to SF in '95 & '96 (137/season), to Ari in '98-'00 (93/season).

2-The Bears O-line, for as bad as it was in '12, was a decent run-blocking unit. They've signed two significant O-line FA, while drafting Kyle Long in the first round. An improved O-line should help the passing offense (thereby giving the Bears more plays), and improve the running game, as well.

3-Trestman hired Aaron Kromer as his OC. Kromer is a former O-line coach and RB coach in NO. It would stand to reason that a former O-line coach and RB coach as OC is good for the RB.

270 carries @ 4.3 YPC=1161 yards, 65 receptions @ 8.4 YPR=546 yards, 9 total TDs.

If he's able to crack double-digit TDs, he could sneak into the top-5 at RB (non-PPR).

 
Forte is still a solid option in PPR leagues. Gives way to M Bush a lot near the goalline, but Forte still scores enough to be considered a very good RB2 or RB1 if you went Calvin in the 1st. I see the Bears having a nice balanced offense and their passing offense improving this year. They play DET 2x and GB 2x and are going to need to score a lot to win those games. I have him at RB11 in PPR leagues, and RB13 in non PPR leagues.

260 car, 1125 rush yds, 6 TD

55 rec, 425 rec yds, 2 TD

 
I expect to see Forte being very productive this year.

1-Trestman in as HC; From what I've read, Trestman has utilized his RBs as receivers in the CFL. He obviously has done so an an OC in the NFL, from Cleveland in '89 (104), to SF in '95 & '96 (137/season), to Ari in '98-'00 (93/season).

2-The Bears O-line, for as bad as it was in '12, was a decent run-blocking unit. They've signed two significant O-line FA, while drafting Kyle Long in the first round. An improved O-line should help the passing offense (thereby giving the Bears more plays), and improve the running game, as well.

3-Trestman hired Aaron Kromer as his OC. Kromer is a former O-line coach and RB coach in NO. It would stand to reason that a former O-line coach and RB coach as OC is good for the RB.

270 carries @ 4.3 YPC=1161 yards, 65 receptions @ 8.4 YPR=546 yards, 9 total TDs.

If he's able to crack double-digit TDs, he could sneak into the top-5 at RB (non-PPR).
Forte could really be terrific, he's been a great RB in the NFL of course but it's possible he has really been awaiting for just this kind of offesne to rise to the top tier.

 
In his 5 seasons with the Bears, Forte has never produced fewer than 1400 YFS in a single season. He is one of the elite pass catching RB’s in the NFL and as such, Forte qualifies as a high floor type RB. In addition, he now will play for a Head Coach who made Derek Loville a fantasy stud by making him a primary pass catcher out of the backfield. So the potential is there for Forte to put up some of his best YFS numbers.

Unfortunately, with the exception of his rookie year, he’s one of the least productive bellcow RB’s around the goal line as he’s totaled but 23 TD’s the last 4 seasons. Every year, it seems he’ll get drafted with the hope that he can up his TD’s back into the 9-10 range, but with the exception of 2010, that has not happened. If I’m guessing, the reason 2010 remains the outlier in Forte’s career is because Chester Taylor was such a disastrous acquisition to assume some of the work load, that the Bears were almost forced to use Forte more down by the goal line:

2011 & 2012 Inside the 10: 23 carries, 34 Yards, 5 TD’s
2010 Inside the 10: 20 carries, 34 yards,2 TD’s.


But what works against Forte is that, he splits the work down by the goal line when the Bears have a competent #2 option (they do in Michael Bush) and even when he does get work, his conversion rate is not good. So from my view, he’s an ideal #2 RB but yet, he went 1.10 in 2012 and is going 1.12 this year. For me, he’s not a guy I could target at the end of Round 1 only because his track record suggests he simply won’t deliver you value on that pick. Even if we’re just talking about a few draft spots because he offers you a pretty low ceiling comparatively, if I’ve got a pick around 6th-8th, then if he’s there on the come back in Round 2, I absolutely consider him. But not earlier. He’s the perfectly steady RB2 who’ll rarely go off for you, but consistently put up 11-13 points on the board for you that you can count on week after week.

The one difference working for Forte this season is Marc Trestman. Trestman is a guy who in previous stint in the NFL as an OC leaned on the RB heavily in the passing game turning players like Charlie Garner and Derek Loville into pass catching RB monsters. And with Forte in his pocket, I don’t expect him to ignore this aspect of his abilities. But the 90+ catch numbers are a relic of an era gone by in the NFL for RB’s and I’d be surprised if Forte came close to challenging some of those benchmarks set 10-15 years ago. With that said, I do expect Forte’s receiving numbers to get a boost, perhaps to his rookie year levels, but with a healthy Michael Bush around, I also expect Trestman to exercise some caution with regard to how Forte is used in his offense. Perhaps Bush was under-utilized in his first season in Chicago because of his shoulder injury, but my thinking is that he’s capable of a larger role for Chicago and while there is no doubt that Forte is the better RB, it would make sense to make best use of both assets by having a dual-pronged plan of attack and not just have Bush around for insurance.

Prediction: 245 Carries, 1062 Rushing Yards 4 TD’s, 64 Receptions 439 Receiving Yards, 1 TD.

 
I believe that Forte is in for a huuuge year. I would like to own him in my dynasty but he's pretty well settled on his owner's roster.

Prediction: 250 carries for 1200 yards and 6 TDs; 60 recs for 490 yards and 3 TDs.

 
In his 5 seasons with the Bears, Forte has never produced fewer than 1400 YFS in a single season. He is one of the elite pass catching RB’s in the NFL and as such, Forte qualifies as a high floor type RB. In addition, he now will play for a Head Coach who made Derek Loville a fantasy stud by making him a primary pass catcher out of the backfield. So the potential is there for Forte to put up some of his best YFS numbers.

Unfortunately, with the exception of his rookie year, he’s one of the least productive bellcow RB’s around the goal line as he’s totaled but 23 TD’s the last 4 seasons. Every year, it seems he’ll get drafted with the hope that he can up his TD’s back into the 9-10 range, but with the exception of 2010, that has not happened. If I’m guessing, the reason 2010 remains the outlier in Forte’s career is because Chester Taylor was such a disastrous acquisition to assume some of the work load, that the Bears were almost forced to use Forte more down by the goal line:

2011 & 2012 Inside the 10: 23 carries, 34 Yards, 5 TD’s

2010 Inside the 10: 20 carries, 34 yards,2 TD’s.

But what works against Forte is that, he splits the work down by the goal line when the Bears have a competent #2 option (they do in Michael Bush) and even when he does get work, his conversion rate is not good. So from my view, he’s an ideal #2 RB but yet, he went 1.10 in 2012 and is going 1.12 this year. For me, he’s not a guy I could target at the end of Round 1 only because his track record suggests he simply won’t deliver you value on that pick. Even if we’re just talking about a few draft spots because he offers you a pretty low ceiling comparatively, if I’ve got a pick around 6th-8th, then if he’s there on the come back in Round 2, I absolutely consider him. But not earlier. He’s the perfectly steady RB2 who’ll rarely go off for you, but consistently put up 11-13 points on the board for you that you can count on week after week.

The one difference working for Forte this season is Marc Trestman. Trestman is a guy who in previous stint in the NFL as an OC leaned on the RB heavily in the passing game turning players like Charlie Garner and Derek Loville into pass catching RB monsters. And with Forte in his pocket, I don’t expect him to ignore this aspect of his abilities. But the 90+ catch numbers are a relic of an era gone by in the NFL for RB’s and I’d be surprised if Forte came close to challenging some of those benchmarks set 10-15 years ago. With that said, I do expect Forte’s receiving numbers to get a boost, perhaps to his rookie year levels, but with a healthy Michael Bush around, I also expect Trestman to exercise some caution with regard to how Forte is used in his offense. Perhaps Bush was under-utilized in his first season in Chicago because of his shoulder injury, but my thinking is that he’s capable of a larger role for Chicago and while there is no doubt that Forte is the better RB, it would make sense to make best use of both assets by having a dual-pronged plan of attack and not just have Bush around for insurance.

Prediction: 245 Carries, 1062 Rushing Yards 4 TD’s, 64 Receptions 439 Receiving Yards, 1 TD.
I think you are still a bit low on the TDs. Even with Forte's lack of solid production at the goal-line, he has averaged 1 TD for every 49 carries. You are projecting him for 1 TD for every 61 carries. Even last year, with M Bush in town, Forte scored 1 TD for every 50 carries. Also, Forte has averaged a rec TD for every 30 catches in his career, you are projecting 1/2 that. I think two more TDs should be expected, with the rush/rec projections you have.

Plus, 3 times last year, Forte had runs/catches from outside the "goal-line" that ended up with him getting tackled inside the 5 (and 1 more where he was tackled at the 7). If he manages to get in for just 1 of those, you go from your 5 projected TDs to 8. I still think he'll better those numbers, but that's 1500 YFS and 8 TD. If you are picking at the end of the first round, do you take Forte, or do you wait until the end of round 3 and hope one of the rookies or Lamar Miller is available, and hope that the one you choose lives up to his hype/potential?

 
Forte's floor in a PPR is much higher than in standard leagues. 9 total TDs seems like a good number with Bush healthy this year. I don't know if I want him as my RB1, but if I'm drafting in mid to late first, I'd be thrilled with Spiller and Forte as my RB2.

 
Bump for re-evaluation now that the preseason has played out for a bit, and we see the Trestman style Forte in action.

 
Yeah, I lucked out a little in that respect. At least, lucked out in terms of how I've been projecting Forte to perform. I said early in the pre-season, and continue to maintain, that he's a top 5 RB with Trest at the helm, and lucked into him and my #1 in TRich to start my team. Hope it goes as planned.

To maintain the integrity of the thread, I'll give my projections, but don't want to re-hash all the reasons since they took a while to write, so I'll just reference my post in this thread where I give what I think are "safe" guesses, but don't jump in with actual projections... http://forums.footballguys.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=685987&hl=forte#entry15820016

So for this year, assuming 16 games:

1100/7 rushing, 80/800/4 receiving. Good for top 5 in all formats.

 

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