Chicago Bears

Matt Forte: Injury Won't Stop Bears RB from Dominating Weak Jaguars Defense

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball in the first haf against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2012

Fantasy owners of Matt Forte who were worried 2012 would turn out to be a lost season for the injured star will get a massive relief in Week 5 when the Chicago Bears running back has a massive day against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After spraining his ankle in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers, Forte missed two games and was sparingly used in his return last week against the Dallas Cowboys, gaining 52 yards on just 13 carries.

For a player who came into the season drafted among the first five picks in nearly every league, Forte's absence and production has put fantasy owners in a tight spot thus far.

That all should change against a Jaguars defense who come into Week 5 ranking 30th in the NFL against the run, giving up a whopping 150.3 yards per game.

Look for Bears head coach Lovie Smith to try to work the ground game early and take advantage of that deficiency. Chicago has already established itself this season as a low-scoring, grind-it-out team and ranks just 25th in the NFL with 206.5 passing yards per game thus far. 

That means the onus will lie heavily in Forte's lap to bring the Bears' record to 4-1 on Sunday.

With elite backs Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster both already gaining a combined 194 yards and three touchdowns against Jacksonville this season, it stands to reason that Forte should do just that with a top-notch performance. 

However, there are some naysayers who will cite Michael Bush's presence as a detriment to Forte's value.

While it's smart to assume Bush will get some work on Sunday, it's his lack of effectiveness with his carries that should spur Forte. On the season, the bruising back has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry as he struggles to acclimate to the Chicago system. 

Meanwhile, Forte has been effective in his limited time on the field this season. Getting involved in both facets of the offense, Forte accounted for 120 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts. 

Additionally, the Bears back still averaged four yards per carry against the Cowboys last week, despite tweaking his ankle early in the game. Even when hobbled, the system utilizes Forte's unique skill-set with such masterful precision that he can thrive against some of the defenses in the NFL.

With the Jaguars on tap, the opposing defense certainly won't pose a problem in Week 5. So long as Forte's ankle cooperates for the duration of the game (and he should be farther along this week), there is no reason to think he will squander a huge opportunity. 

After weeks of fretting about Forte, look for fantasy owners to get a mammoth reprieve as the Bears back lives up to his first-round billing on Sunday.

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