Yea… probably not.
This week, we’re going way deeper at running back for the sleeper and way up the list for the bust. If you want to check out any of the previous Weekly Fantasy Football Sleeper and Bust pieces, just click away.
Sleeper: Travaris Cadet, NE
This originally had a nice breakdown of Cadet’s upside seeing as how the Patriots always utilize a pass-catching running back. Cadet was the perfect fit for this offense, but due to injuries and struggles, he might not make the team now. James White is rumored to be the current passing-down favorite, and if so, he becomes a great late-round PPR sleeper. Basically, whoever wins the job, he’s worth a flier.
Bust: Matt Forte, CHI
No one in the NFL has more carries than Matt Forte since he came in the league. Well, Chris Johnson technically does at 1,897 to Forte’s 1,817, but Johnson isn’t on a roster… and that should add a bit of concern. Sure, Forte is a better player, but that level of work is a killer. Okay, let’s talk about an area where we don’t need a caveat: total touches. Forte leads everyone, even Mr. Johnson, in touches since 2008 with 2,260. Johnson is second with 2,193, Steven Jackson is third at 2,042 and Adrian Peterson is fourth at 2,005. Those are the only four running backs with over 2,000 touches. Note that two running backs are done (CJK and SJax) and the third is coming off nearly a full season of “rest”… and a cyborg… or something.
Here is the more concerning part. When talking about running backs with at least 1,000 carries since 2008, Forte ranks just 15th in yards per attempt (4.24). He checks in behind players such as Frank Gore, Fred Jackson, Michael Turner and Maurice Jones-Drew. Over the last three years, Forte again leads in touches but ranks just 20th in YPA at 4.32 for players with at least 200 carries. Last year, Forte dropped to his worst YPA (3.9) since 2009. It also marked the second straight year that Forte had over 360 touches, and it was his second highest amount (368) since his rookie season (379).
Let’s talk Fantasy Points per touch (FPPT) as well. Going to our first group (1,000-plus carries), Forte ranks 13th in FPPT since 2008 (using standard Yahoo! scoring) at 0.66. He’s 18th in the second group at 0.67 – consistent but still behind names like Pierre Thomas, Daniel Thomas and LeGarrette Blount. Both Thomas’? Ugh.
Why am I throwing all of these numbers at you? It’s not to give you high school math flashbacks. The issue is that Forte is more of a volume Fantasy player than people realize. He’s a rather good option; he’s just not elite or going to produce without heavy work. In fact, in 2012 when Forte had just 292 touches, he finished as RB12. Granted, he missed a game, but he’s also missing Marc Trestman this year. Trestman loves using his running backs in the passing game (partly why I’m so high on Justin Forsett), and Forte had 95 and 130 targets the past two years. His career high in the other five seasons? Just 76.
It’s actually quite simple when looking at Forte. He’s a running back with an enormous amount of career work, he’s a high-volume running back and his touches will drop significantly. That why I ranked Forte as my RB12 in non-PPR and RB8 in PPR… and I’m pretty sure I still wouldn’t spend that price.
Main image photo credit: Guy Harbert