Matt Forte: Stock Watch

Kenny LongContributor IOctober 5, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 27: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball during the game against the Seattle Seahawks on September 27, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Bears defeated the Seahawks 25-19.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Why his stock was high:
In last year's fantasy football draft, Matt Forte was an afterthought at most. But when he kicked off the first game with 141 total yards and a TD, the fantasy football community got the first whiff of a missed opportunity and a potential star. The rookie from Tulane didn't disappoint, finishing with over 1700 total yards, 12 TDs, and 63 catches—a points-per-reception gold mine.
In a combination of last years success and a key offseason move, Forte entered the 2009 season with as much fantasy hype as anyone, being selected in the first few picks of most fantasy football drafts. Fantasy football owners had good reason for this, too.
In the offseason, the Bears traded for Pro-Bowl passer Jay Cutler, and many thought this acquisition would be the key to the Bears becoming a juggernaut offense in 2009. With a solid defense, Chicago would not be playing catchup and would continue to pound the rock and take advantage of Forte's top-tier pass-catching abilities. It was all rosy for Forte, one of the true feature backs in the League. And then it all came crashing down.

Why his stock is low:
The 2009 season so far has been a bizarro season for Forte. Instead of entering the season as an unnoticed rookie and dominating from the first snap, he's been hyped all offseason and has been dominated from the first snap. As expected, Forte was given 25 touches in the first game, but was only able to produce a 55 yards rushing.
The second game wasn't any better, totaling 63 yards, with only 29 yards on the ground. Through two games, his yards-per-carry average is half of what you'd hope, at an abysmal 2.2 ypc, and his owners are beginning to jump ship. The Forte owner in my league is already talking about trading the player that three weeks ago was the No. 3 overall pick.
Why his stock will rise:
Just like fellow disappointment Steve Slaton, Forte's match-ups in the first two weeks were less than ideal. The Steelers' run defense has always been top-tier, and the Packers' new 3-4 look has improved the unit's effectiveness considerably. If you take a look at the Bears' next slate of games, you'll see four teams that all rank in the bottom 13 in the NFL in ypc defense. I have a feeling we'll see Forte's stock inflate to his preseason billing over that period.
You also have to give the Bears an adjustment period, as this is the first time in over a decade that they've had a franchise quarterback under center. Expect them to find their rhythm and begin to focus on their strengths (Forte!) throughout their coming cupcake schedule.
Now is the time to trade for Forte. His stock will never be lower this season, and rarely can you get 1200 yard running backs that were drafted in the top tier, on the cheap. Go ahead and test the waters with the nervous Forte owner in your league.