The Player Profile series breaks down the 2012 performances of key players at each position in order to project where they should be drafted in 2013. Dig in, read up, and look ahead.
Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
Matt Forte has been with the Chicago Bears for each of the five seasons that he’s played in the NFL. During that time, the running back has missed a total of five games, four of which came in 2011 when he suffered a severe knee injury that eventually landed him on injured reserve.
In 2012, Forte finished the season with the 13th most fantasy points at his position. He ran the ball 248 times for 1,094 yards and scored five touchdowns while adding 44 receptions, 340 yards, and another touchdown through the air. That doesn’t fall terribly far from the other fantasy finishes in his career (4th, 18th, 10th, and 16th) and seems to be a good indication of what fantasy owners can expect during any given season.
In general, Forte’s yardage totals have been slightly padded by his consistent involvement in Chicago’s passing game. Forte has had some trouble in the past with efficiency metrics, but more recently, his YPC has sat nicely between 4.41 and 4.91 (it was 4.41 in 2012). The main thing that has been missing from Forte’s fantasy equation is touchdowns. The only year where he was able to reach double-digit touchdown totals was in 2008, which (believe it or not) was the same year he finished as the 4th best fantasy back.
In 2013, it seems as though Forte will stay true to form and give owners solid, upside RB2 numbers. However, there is a new wrinkle to this equation. The Bears have a new head coach, Marc Trestman, who is planning to implement his version of the West Coast Offense. I’m going to spare you a lecture on this offensive scheme, but if you’re interested, check out its Wikipedia page. Overall, the focus of this offense will be to spread defenses thin by throwing a series of short passes over the middle of the field. Eventually, this will open up deeper throws.
When I was doing research on Trestman’s scheme, my main concern was how it would affect Chicago’s running game. This led me to a great article from Charles Kleinheksel over at Rotoviz.com. The article dives deep into the statistic projection of what Chicago’s offense might be capable of in 2013. Kleinheksel projects that Forte will have a strong 2013 campaign, mostly due to a dramatic increase in receiving production. While I think we will see an uptick in Forte’s receptions, I’m still not sure that it will be terribly significant.
At the end of the day, I still think Forte will give owners a season similar to those that we have seen in the past. I plugged him into Rotoviz’s Running Back Similarity Scores tool and the results were mildly unsettling. A majority of the running backs that had similar seasons to Forte’s 2012 campaign saw a decrease in production during their subsequent season. There is slight risk here, simply because we haven’t seen Trestman’s offense perform with the Bears’ current roster.
Given that, I’m still looking to nab Forte as a high-end RB2 (especially in PPR formats). He should give owners a fine season, with the potential of posting RB1 numbers during any given week. Forte’s ADP is currently at 2.03 on Fantasy Football Calculator and he will have great value if you’re able to draft him after the 4th pick of the second round. In sum, target him, but don’t break the bank.
Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions
Mr. Bush has played seven season in the NFL, five of which he spent with the New Orleans Saints and the other two he spent in South Beach with the Miami Dolphins. Bush has been a polarizing figure in the fantasy football community, as he seems to alternate seasons of relevance and unimportance.
Bush finished last season with 14th most fantasy points among running backs. He totaled 986 yards and 6 touchdowns on 227 carries and also caught 35 passes for an additional 292 yards and 2 touchdowns. Since joining the Dolphins in 2010, Bush has managed to be relatively consistent. He has shown signs of fantasy greatness, but in 2012, his production was continually hampered by the presence of Daniel Thomas and a nagging injury.
With his recent move to Detroit, all indications are that Reggie will take over first-string duties in the Lions’ backfield. This could mean fantastic things for this 8th year veteran. Bush has always had an affinity for catching passes out of the backfield, and it’s no secret that Matthew Stafford chucks the ball all over the place. We cannot forget that where this is opportunity, there is usually fantasy production. The great thing about Bush in 2013 is that he should get plenty of work and he has the talent to make the most of what he’s given.
I’m looking forward to see what Bush will do in 2013. Currently, his ADP is nestled at the end of the second round. In my opinion, that’s a good spot to draft him. If you’re able to grab Bush in the third round, as your third running back, he will be an even greater value.
I look for him to be another high-end RB2, although he could get enough opportunities to end the year as a RB1. In PPR formats, Bush should be a fantastic player to have on your roster. I think that 60-80 receptions is not a totally ridiculous prediction for him. Bush will be a solid pick as your second running back and could be an absolute slam dunk if you’re able to grab him as the third back on your roster.
Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans
Shonn Greene has never been very popular among certain fantasy circles. He’s a running back that does little with the carries that he receives. He’s one of the few, the boring, the plodders. The only thing that has kept him semi-relevant in fantasy football was that he was playing for the “ground-and-pound” New York Jets.
In 2012, Greene finished the season with the 15th most points among running backs. While that’s a suitable finish for an RB2, his cumulative stats were considerably skewed by his explosion against the Indianapolis Colts in week 6. That particular performance accounted for 21.7% of his total fantasy points in 2012. He accumulated 1,063 yards and eight touchdowns on 276 carries and his YPC was a paltry 3.85. He was hardly involved in the Jets passing game (was anyone?), so there isn’t a boost in his value in PPR formats. Needless to say, Shonn is a very unexciting running back and usually an unsavory commodity in fantasy football.
He has been traded to the Tennessee Titans since the end of the 2012 season, and the signing news reached the general public in the middle of March. Soon after the announcement, there were a slew of conflicting analyses regarding Greene’s potential role in 2013. Some writers have said that Greene could serve a role similar to the one LenDale White served during Chris Johnson’s rookie season. Other writers have conjectured that Greene will have a very minimal role in the Titan’s 2013 offense.
As reports will tell you, White served as a goal line and short yardage back in 2008. White ran for 789 total yards and 15 touchdowns on 200 carries. CJ2K had a strong 2008 performance as well; he ran 1,228 yards and nine scores on 251 carries.
Personally, I think it’s a bit optimistic to think that Greene could replicate the numbers that LenDale White produced in 2008. He’ll probably have a limited role as a third down and change-of-pace back for Tennessee this season. I think that approximately 600 yards and 3-5 touchdowns would be reasonable totals to expect from Greene in 2013.
His current ADP is sitting at 13.04. The way I see it, there isn’t a lot of upside with Greene, although he could have a couple of (random) good weeks. The risk of drafting this running back is somewhat minimized due to his low ADP, but I would rather draft someone like Robert Turbin or Rueben Randle at that price. I won’t berate you for drafting Greene in the 13th round (you could do worse), but if you do, keep your expectations low.