Matt Forte: Fantasy Football Owners Must Keep Eye on Chicago Bears RB for Week 4

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2012

Sep 13, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA;  Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) carries the football during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte didn't play in Week 3 against the St. Louis Rams, but don't completely overlook him when filling out your fantasy football lineup this week.

The Bears play the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. This gives Forte an extra day to prepare, as he tries to regain full speed from his ankle sprain.

According to CBS Sports reporter Gene Chamberlain, Forte returned to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday. Forte claims in the report that he "went through all the routes and everything and can sprint."

That doesn't necessarily mean that he'll play, but it leaves the possibility open. For a running back with his potential, especially in PPR (Points Per Reception) leagues, that should have every fantasy football owner paying attention.

According to ESPN, Forte has scored 25 points in standard-scoring leagues so far this season, so it's not like he's been a lump. His health is a concern, but he has considerable upside on the ground or as a receiver out of the backfield.

The Cowboys are currently No. 19 in the league at stopping the run, allowing 113 yards per contest. On the other hand, they're No. 2 at stopping the pass.

Given Jay Cutler's propensity for the ill-advised throw, expect the Bears to pound the run game consistently for 60 minutes. That means Michael Bush is going to get carries, but there will be plenty to go around if Forte's ankle allows it.

Bush has been excellent in short-yardage situations this season (151 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries), but Forte gives Chicago's offense a completely different dimension.

If his name isn't on the inactive list on Monday, slotting him into your flex position would be a wise idea. It's a boom/bust decision, but the matchup is favorable.

Forte's health will always be a concern, as is the case for most running backs. You knew that when you drafted him, and this game presents a great chance for the Bears ball-carrier to make a successful return.

His status will probably be up in the air until Monday afternoon, or even into the evening, so stay locked into your lineup.