Matt Forte enters the 2013 NFL campaign poised to reestablish himself as a fantasy football PPR darling and elite fantasy running back option. The 44 receptions and 340 receiving yards Forte posted in 2012 represent career-lows. While most would see this as reason to shy away from Forte on draft day, there are a few underlying factors working in his favor.
In 2012, Forte eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the third time in his career and for the first time since 2010. Forte had a respectable 4.4 yards per carry and his 1,434 yards from scrimmage ranked him 14th overall 11th for a running back. While these numbers may not jump off the page, they do lay the foundation for a successful/productive 2013 fantasy season.
The Bears cut ties with long-time head coach Lovie Smith and handed the keys over to offensive guru Marc Trestman. While the move may leave some Bears fans shaking their heads, the move surely has fantasy fans salivating. Trestman took over and quickly identified Forte as an under used weapon in the Bears offensive arsenal. Trestman has a history of producing top-notch pass catching running backs, mostly notably Charlie Garner’s 91 receptions in 2002, and this has Forte, barring injury, well positioned for a break-out season in 2013. It is worth noting that Trestman historically, even with a small NFL sample size, has valued the two-back running back timeshare. Forte’s increased role in the passing game should help offset the carries or goal line looks running back mate Michael Bush may steal away from him. Typically this may be a fantasy red flag, but Forte makes his money catching the ball and this key aspect to his overall game should see his PPR league value surge.
Matt Forte Career Stats
The Chicago Bears offensive line was downright dreadful at times and this was quickly addressed by second-year general manager Phil Emery during the offseason. The Bears selected Kyle Long, Howie’s son, with the 20th overall pick and have him penciled in as the starting left guard. They also signed two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jerom Brushrod away from the Saints. 2012 starting left tackle J’Marcus Webb now slides over to right tackle, his more natural position. This overhauled unit will look to rejuvenate a Bears offense that ranked 28th in total yards. The Bears identified a glaring need and quickly remedied it as best they could, this bodes well for Forte in both the running and passing game while giving his fantasy value a much needed boost.
Strength of Schedule
The Bears are fresh off of a 10-6 season and are set up to do some serious damage in 2013. Six of the Bears 2013 opponents (Vikings X2, Saints, Giants, Redskins and Browns) ranked in the top-10 for most passing yards allowed last season and five (Vikings X2, Browns, Bengals and Rams) ranked in the top-10 for most receptions allowed by a running back. Overall, the Bears 2013 opponents had a .502 winning percentage in 2012.
On the surface, examining 2012 statistics alone, Matt Forte enters the 2013 season with a fair amount of red flags. Forte did manage to play in 15 games but struggled to overcome a few nagging injuries. However, everything that could be done has been done to provide Forte with a better opportunity to make a real impact this season. Forte will likely be a second round pick in most drafts, but he is ticketed for first round production. Now it’s just up to Forte to make the most of these aforementioned opportunities and seize the day.