Matt Forte: Bears RB Will Return to Elite Fantasy Level in Week 5 vs. Jaguars

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 09:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears celebrates a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during their 2012 NFL season opener at Soldier Field on September 9, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Colts 41-21.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Matt Forte was one of the biggest fantasy football disappointments in the season's first month. After a strong opener, he totaled just 12 points over the next three weeks, surely leading to a lot of losses for his owners. He should return to prominence in Week 5.

Fantasy players had to use a high draft pick, likely in the first or early second round, in order to acquire the Chicago Bears star on draft day. Foundation players like him are chosen with the expectation they will produce week in and week out.

That hasn't been the case so far for Forte. He's battled a nagging ankle injury that forced him to miss Week 3 and caused him to miss a little bit of time on Monday night as well. It's had a huge impact on his fantasy value.

The good news is that he was able to return against the Dallas Cowboys, gaining 52 yards on 13 carries while splitting time with backup Michael Bush. If there was any concern about further damaging the ankle, he probably wouldn't have gone back in.

After another week of rest and treatment on the ankle, Forte should be ready to roll on Sunday when the Bears take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, owners of the 30th-ranked run defense. It's exactly the type of matchup Forte needs to get back on track.

When healthy, he's one of the NFL's most dynamic running backs. He averaged 124 yards of total offense per game last season. His versatility is what made him such an attractive fantasy option, especially in PPR leagues.

Knowing that, now's the time to seek out the Forte owner in your league to see if he's frustrated enough to trade him at a reduced price. It represents the perfect buy-low opportunity before Forte starts playing like himself again.

After this week, when Forte will likely have his first good fantasy game since Week 1, his value should once again start heading toward an elite level. So the window to make a deal with an overreacting league mate will likely close pretty quickly.

As long as Forte doesn't suffer any setbacks during the week, he should resume his role as the main weapon in an improving Bears offense. Against a defense like Jacksonville's, it projects to a good bounce-back fantasy game of about 20 points.

That's what fantasy owners have been expecting from Forte all along. He finally appears ready to produce it, so stick with him despite the lackluster start.