Much of the fantasy football player’s – and writer’s – interest is focused on breakout candidates, rookies, and sleepers. Face it; everybody wants in on the newest trend, especially if they beat their league mates to it. So why did I select Matt Forte in the second round of our RotoViz Dynasty League? He’s not particularly young, or new, or trendy.
Here’s why I drafted Matt Forte:
League related reasons, which may not apply to you.
- PPR League. Forte is a consistent pass-catcher at the RB position.
- Marques Colston and Vincent Jackson think I should go RB in round two.
- 14 Team League. Starting-caliber players are limited, especially Running Back. By my pick, Doug Martin, Ray Rice, Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller, Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, and Jamaal Charles were off the board. After I took LeSean McCoy, Alfred Morris was taken before I went on the clock again.
Team related reasons, which should be part of your thinking.
- I wanted to “nail down” one position early in the draft. Having traded up to acquire two second-round picks, I selected LeSean McCoy 16th overall, and Matt Forte 19th overall. Read about my other picks here and here.
- I think I’m better at identifying mid/late round values at TE and WR, so opted to get RB taken care of first.
Player related reasons, which should be most of your thinking.
- Appropriate value. I selected Forte 19th overall, which happens to be exactly where he’s going in recent Dynasty Start Up drafts. Not a reach.
- Opportunity. Michael Bush is the only other recognizable RB currently on the Bears’ roster.
- He is who Christine Michael hopes to be.
This table shows Forte’s career stats. Pretty stable production.
|Year||Att||Yds||TD||Y/A||Y/G||A/G||Rec||Rec Yds||Yds / Rec||Rec TD||Rec / G||Yds / G||Scr Yds||SOS|
Let’s put his career production in context by comparing him to the top 30 RBs each year (150 total seasons), from 2008 to 2012.
|Year||Att||Yds||TD||Y/A||Y/G||A/G||Rec||Rec Yds||Yds/ Rec||Rec TD||Rec/G||Yds/G||Scr Yds|
|Ave Top 30||241.48||1052.43||7.47||4.35||70.73||16.25||32.38||259.7||7.83||0.88||2.2||17.62||1312.14|
In the rushing categories, notice that Forte’s Yards/Attempt is a smidge below the average of the top 30 RBs, but his Yards/Game, and Attempts/Game are above the average. In the receiving categories, Forte distinguishes himself. His Yards/Reception and Receptions/Game are well above average.
Now let’s see how Forte stacks up to the current, active yards-from-scrimmage leaders at the RB position.
|Rank||Player (Age)||Rush||Rec||Scr||% Rec||Seasons|
|1||Steven Jackson (29)||10135||3324||13459||0.25||2004-2012|
|2||Frank Gore (29)||8839||2631||11470||0.23||2005-2012|
|3||Adrian Peterson (27)||8849||1526||10375||0.15||2007-2012|
|4||Maurice Jones-Drew (27)||7268||2559||9827||0.26||2006-2012|
|5||Willis McGahee (31)||8097||1319||9416||0.14||2004-2012|
|6||Chris Johnson (27)||6888||1658||8546||0.19||2008-2012|
|7||Ray Rice (25)||5,520||2713||8233||0.33||2008-2012|
|8||Michael Turner (30)||7338||528||7866||0.07||2004-2012|
|9||Matt Forte (27)||5327||2325||7652||0.30||2008-2012|
|10||Marshawn Lynch (26)||6132||1216||7348||0.17||2007-2012|
|11||Ronnie Brown (31)||5171||1862||7033||0.26||2005-2012|
|12||DeAngelo Williams (29)||5784||1244||7028||0.18||2006-2012|
|13||Reggie Bush (27)||4162||2730||6892||0.40||2006-2012|
|14||Cedric Benson (30)||6017||833||6850||0.12||2005-2012|
Did you notice that only Ray Rice is younger than Forte? Also, notice that only Rice and Bush get a higher percentage of their yards from receptions? To me, that means two things:
First, he’s more valuable in PPR. Playing a good run defense? He can still score points catching the ball. Playing from behind? He’ll be involved in the pass game.
Second, Forte’s career will likely last longer than a typical, run-only RB. He’ll take less wear and tear catching passes, and the ability to be effective catching passes gives him late-career value as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Look at the active RBs with the lowest percentage of yards from receptions: Turner and Benson are currently unemployed, and McGahee’s time is numbered. Age is an issue with those three, but Frank Gore and Steven Jackson are also pushing 30, and still valuable RBs. Even Ronnie Brown is hanging on to a job – because he can catch the ball.
Looking at the RotoViz RB Similarity App, we get the following projections for Forte this year.
|Year N+1 Average||*****||*****||27.6||218.8||12.2||14.3||59.8||4.18||0.3||2.5||21.7||0.07|
The app projects Forte below his career averages. If the app is right, a median PPR projection of 12.5 points/game is still a solid number for my RB2. If the app is wrong, and Forte meets his career averages, he should be able to meet the high projection of 15 points/game, which would be RB1 production.
If you’re drafting in the second or third round, and Forte is available, consider him a reliable Dynasty Building Block.