As the Matt Forte drama plays out, the gap between the fantasy value of Forte and new Bears signee Michael Bush narrows. One thing I’ve found certain in my experience in fantasy sports: avoid uncertainty (see Peyton Manning, Chris Johnson 2011).
Bush was going to vulture touchdowns from Forte either way. The widely perceived fantasy stud Forte finished with only three rushing touchdowns last year to six for the now retired Marion Barber.
The Bears have certainty in Bush (inked to a four year, 14-million dollar deal) and uncertainty with Forte. There are even concerns from Bears management that Forte has arthritis in his knees and has already started to degenerate. That’s not good when you are trying to convince a team you deserve a long-term deal.
If Forte ends up begrudgingly accepting the franchise tag, he might take that as a slight and not play hard. Either way, as of now things are looking up for Bush and down for Forte.
Desperate to prove his knees are fine, Forte released a video of himself dragging a sled up hill:
If that were the criteria for a big contract, we would see the dogs carrying sleds in the Iditarod running loose in NFL backfields, those beasts are physical specimens. Nice try Matt, but the Bears still have all the leverage in this one. A bear dragging a running back up a hill, now there’s a video I’d watch!
Forte’s numbers were trending down last season before he hurt his knee. In his last four games, he failed to compile 100 total yards in any one of those games. This from a guy you draft based on his yardage numbers, not touchdowns. Conversely, Bush was consistent and durable throughout all of last season.
Think about it this way. Worst case scenario: Bush is the best second string running back in the league, scores touchdowns consistently and has his occasional breakout yardage game. Best case scenario: The Bears and Forte can’t come to terms, Forte ends up leaving or holding out and Bush is the number one guy, which proved to be a load he could handle last season in Oakland.
Obviously Forte is the better natural talent and when healthy he has shown he can produce with the best backs in the NFL. Things could change if the Bears sign Forte early and he gets into training camp and preseason and plays well. My hunch right now though is this thing could easily drag into the regular season. In other words, too late to have enough info for fantasy owners to use a high pick on Forte.
Chances are he will get taken fairly high based on name recognition. We know those who took Chris Johnson high in the first round last year will not be drafting Forte high after getting burned by a mediocre season from Johnson. I could see a similar situation playing out for Forte, so beware. Bottom line: buy Bush, sell Forte.
Out and Up,