Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Time for another 2015 fantasy football player analyzer as we move closer to Week 1 of the season.  Today we delve into the world of the running back where we take a look at Chicago Bears longtime ace Matt Forte in order to determine what he could provide his fantasy football owners in 2015.  Let's dig right in and find out.

When the subject of Matt Forte comes up, the first talking point about the guy centers more on his receiving ability than on anything he does when running the football.  And that is quite understandable when you consider the fact that Forte is one of the very best pass catching backs in the history of the game and in today's fantasy football, no one is better.  Forte comes off a 2015 campaign when he caught a ridiculous 102 passes for 808 yards and 4 scores.  Those numbers alone would be tremendous for a wide receive but are beyond comprehension for a running back.  When you than throw in the 1,038 rushing yards and 6 additional scores on the ground, Forte put most of his owners over the top last season (especially in PPR formats).  However 2014 is now history as we look ahead to the new season and that is where things may get a bit tricky as we will get into. 

As far as the particulars are concerned, Forte is now getting up there in age at 29 and he will the very scary 30 this December.  We always have to give pause to a running back who gets close to the age of 30 and that is especially true for high-volume guys like Forte has been since coming into the league from Tulane.  Forte has been the very rare in today's game "workhorse" back from the very beginning in 2008 and 7 full seasons of pounding no doubt will eventually start to take its toll.  And in fact, we may have already started to see that last season based on the numbers. 

What stands out as the most concerning part of Forte's excellent 2014 was the fact his yards per carry average sank below 4.0 at 3.9.  That ended a streak of four straight seasons when Forte was above 4.0 and in 2013 he as excellent at 4.6.  Even going back to his days at Tulane when Forte was used very heavily, we could be seeing all the wear and tear showing up in the decreased yards per carry.  The age, heavy usage, and dropping average all point to this.  This means those who take part in standard leagues should be a bit wary of Forte as he has never been a huge touchdown guy as it is (not once has Forte rushed for double-digit scores and he never has topped the 1,400-yard mark).  Those in PPR don't have to be as concerned though as Forte will still be a huge part of the passing offense as his numbers there are staggering. 

Of course there are some things to talk about in the not so positive light when it comes to the receiving game for Forte as well.  The biggest if the fact that Marc Trestman, who ran the offense the last two seasons, is now out of town.  Trestman was a dream come true for Forte in the passing game as his OC was a big proponent in throwing to the running back.  Thus the insane 74 and 102 catches the last two seasons.  With Trestman now in Baltimore making friends with Justin Forsett, Forte no doubt will see a sharp drop in catchers to the 60 range.  That is quite a few points lost from the 2014 ledger and has to be calculated into how you value Forte in drafts this season.  Now of course Forte will still be a major part of the passing game but not to the extent he was the last two years for the Bears. 

When you put it all together, Matt Forte remains a clear RB 1 in all formats,  Maybe his running dip in 2014 was just a one-year thing like with Arian Foster in 2013 before he came back strong last season.  Forte will still dominate carries in the offense and should get at least 1,000-plus yards and 5-7 scores on the ground in addition to his excellent in the passing offense.  Still we now have to take Forte on a one-year-at-a-time basis given his age and high usage. 

2015 PROJECTION:  1,092 yards 6 TD 65 catches 618 yards 4 TD


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