Chicago Bears franchise running back Matt Forte has recently signed a deal that will pay him approximately $32 million through four years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Now of course, you're a fantasy football owner, and you don't care about the details. You just care that in a year where there's a whole lot of uncertainty at the running back spot, one of the biggest question marks from a potential top-10 back was just removed. Well, one of them.
Clearly, many people are concerned about the presence of Michael Bush in Chicago. There's absolutely no doubt, in terms of vision, speed and burst that Forte is a top rusher. But in fantasy, we care about the situation in terms of volume, touches and whether they get goal-line touches.
Forte is a top-20 player, no doubt. And he's a top-10 back, easily. Theoretically, in a year where there are questions with top runners, why is Forte going in late Round 2? Simple. People are worried Bush is a goal-line vulture.
That's a crutch argument most like to cite when a stud back's touches are eaten into by a bigger bruiser. Brandon Jacobs prevented Ahmad Bradshaw from being a top-20 selection last year and will prevent Frank Gore from being even a top-30 pick this year.
So why am I not worried? Well, save for his rookie year, Forte has scored just 13 rushing touchdowns. Now, that might be an eye-opener that Forte isn't the fantasy stud he might think he is. Digging deeper, you realize that just three of those scores came from within the 10-yard line. Chicago has never loved using this guy inside the 10, anyway; Michael Bush can have all the short touchdowns he wants.
To me, this makes Forte very valuable. I've been very vocal about how touchdown totals are the most inconsistent thing year to year, and Forte's value isn't dependent on touchdowns. This is why he, Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy are such valuable players. They don't need situational, short touches to be a successful commodity.
Heck, take away all of Forte's rushing touchdowns last season, and he still averages 12.6 fantasy points per game. That's more than what Steven Jackson, Michael Turner, Frank Gore, Fred Jackson or Darren Sproles had on a per-game basis.
Chicago's offense will be more explosive in 2012, and Forte will benefit, goal-line touches or not.