Matt Forte: Why Bears Back Is a Must-Start in Week 5

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 5, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears at Cowboys Stadium on October 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The first four weeks of the 2012 NFL Season haven't gone according to plan for Matt Forte, or those who own him in fantasy leagues. 

As a top-10 running back in virtually every set of preseason fantasy rankings, Forte is counted on to carry a big load for owners—not to mention the team he gets paid to play for, Chicago. 

Unfortunately, Forte suffered what was thought to be a high-ankle sprain in the Bears' Week 2 matchup with the Packers and missed Chicago's next game against the Rams.

Following Week 3, the injury was downgraded from a high-ankle sprain and Forte returned with a 52-yard performance against the Cowboys on Monday night. 

Though Forte played on a consistent basis against Dallas, he remained questionable on the Bears' official injury report all week; causing worry among those who own the Pro-Bowler.

However, the Chicago Sun-Times reported this from the practice field on Thursday:  

Running back Matt Forte, who tweaked his ankle injury on the first play from scrimmage Monday against the Cowboys, is expected to play Sunday against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

At this point, it's all but a foregone conclusion that Forte will play on Sunday against Jacksonville, which should have both Bears fans and Forte's fantasy owners licking their chops with excitement. 

Heading into Sunday's game, the Jaguars are allowing over 150 yards a game on the rush, which means that Forte should make up for his lack of production thus far in Week 5. 

The Bears have been getting by with consistent offensive contributions from the defense as of late, but with Forte appearing to be relatively healthy, that should should change this weekend. 

The Bears need a win this weekend and if Forte was able to play even after suffering a minor setback in his recovery on Monday, he should be ready to have the ball in his hands more frequently than in Week 4. 

If that's the case, he should rush for well over 100 yards against the Jags.

If not, against a run defense as porous as Jacksonville's, he still should be good for at least 60-70 yards with a touchdown or two. 

Either way, the chances of Forte having a big day at home against the Jags are more than good enough to make him a must-start for Week 5.