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FANTASY FOOTBALL nfl draft coverage

NFL Draft: Player Profile - Matt Forte
John Tuvey
April 22, 2008
Running Back - Tulane

Combine Height: 6-1
Combine Weight: 217
Combine 40 Time: 4.46

Rushed for 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns in 12 games as a senior. Finished his four-year career at Tulane with 936 touches amounting to 5,610 yards from scrimmage and 44 touchdowns.

Skill Set:
Forte had enough speed and enough size to excel in Conference USA action, but there are concerns those skills may not translate as well to the next level. A 4.46 40 might be enough to shake those speed concerns; however, Forte’s upright running style is part of the reason he isn’t the power runner you might expect from someone of his size. And that’s kind of his M.O.: he’s good at everything—good hands, good size, good speed—but nothing specific stands out that makes your eyes pop out of your head. 

Then again, that utility may be what lands Forte a job on Sundays. He won’t have to come off the field on third down, be it a passing situation or short yardage, because he can catch, block, and put his head down for the extra yard. His vision and burst lend themselves to a zone-blocking system, but his skills would hold up well in just about any scheme.

Possible Destinations:
Forte is a fit on a couple of levels: as a potential feature back in a zone-blocking system or as the bigger complement to a speedier teammate—a poor man’s Marion Barber, perhaps. If a back-needy team like the Lions or Bears select speedster Chris Johnson in the second round and Forte is on the board when their third-round selection rolls around… see where we’re going with this? The Panthers may already have their outside runner in DeAngelo Williams and could jump on Forte as early as the middle of round two, though with two of the first 11 selections in the third round that might be a more likely landing zone. The Steelers wouldn’t mind a bigger back to pair with Willie Parker and should have an opportunity at No. 53 or maybe later at No. 88. And Forte would also be a solid fit with the Texans when their third-round pick rolls around at No. 79.

Fantasy Impact:
If Forte walks into a gig with the potential for full-time carries—say with the Texans, where Ahman Green and Chris Brown are hardly bastions of health—he could be the sleeper rookie in your redraft league. A gig as the thunder half of a backfield storm—in Carolina with Williams, in Pittsburgh with Parker—still has plenty of fantasy merit. In other words, if you feel the need to leave your drauction with a rookie runner but don’t feel like paying the premium pricing for Darren McFadden or Rashard Mendenhall… Forte could be your value play. And if there’s potential for immediate value in a redraft league there’s certainly plenty there to warrant consideration in a dynasty/keeper league as well.

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