Matt Forte: Projecting Fantasy Stock for Bears RB After Jay Cutler Injury

Thomas GaliciaContributor IINovember 11, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 11:  Running back Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against defensive tackle Earl Mitchell #92 of the Houston Texans in the second quarter of the game at Soldier Field on November 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A concussion suffered by Jay Cutler at the end of the second quarter knocked him out of the Sunday Night Football game against the Houston Texans.

Cutler will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis, and due to the NFL's concussion policies, it wouldn't be surprising if Cutler wasn't available for the Bears' Week 11 Monday Night Football contest against the San Francisco 49ers.

If you own Matt Forte on your fantasy team, though, this is good news. With Jason Campbell in at quarterback, Forte becomes even more important to the Chicago offense than he already was.

Thus far this season, Forte has already run for 578 yards on 123 carries. The only stat where Forte seems to be lacking is in touchdowns scored, as he only has three for the season.

But without Jay Cutler at quarterback, that number should go up too. The go-to play for Chicago in the red zone has been for Cutler to find wide receiver Brandon Marshall. With Cutler out, expect the Bears to play more conservatively and attempt to punch the ball in with either Forte or Michael Bush.

Either player would be a great pickup for your fantasy team, but odds are someone in your league already has Forte. Coming into the season, he was considered a top-tier fantasy back already, so this won't have much of an effect on that. 

But when it comes to the question of whether you should start Forte, the answer is yes. However, in Week 11 against San Francisco, I might decide to bench Forte. The 49ers are ranked fifth in run defense, and if Cutler isn't playing, there's a good chance that they decide to stack the box and dare Campbell to beat them. This could pose a challenge to Forte and for those that own him in his league.

But after Week 11, whether Cutler is in or not, expect Forte to get more carries and be a valuable asset going into the playoffs. As the weather gets worse, Chicago tends to rely on its running game more. This season won't be an exception to that rule.