Week Seventeen Analysis: Last week I noted that Matt Forte hadn't scored from inside the six-yard line in his last 34 games. So, naturally, he scored from the four-yard line in Arizona. Whatever. Yardage remains the only reliable source of fantasy production from Forte, and he's averaged 111 total yards per game in his last four. Unfortunately, Forte's nursing an ankle injury, so he may be slowed against an ordinary Detroit defense that he's torched his entire career. In nine meetings, he's scored seven times—that's 21% of his career touchdown total. He's also averaged 119 total yards, so it's a great matchup if the ankle holds up.
Week Sixteen Analysis: Michael Bush is done, but that changes nothing for Matt Forte. He was stuffed at the stripe three times by the Packers last week, and he's now failed to score a single touchdown from inside the six-yard line in his last 34 games. All in all, he's scored just eight times in his last 28 games. The good news is that in his last three games, he's averaged 72 rushing yards, as well as five catches for 43 yards. Arizona ranks 30th in rushing, but they rank No. 1 in receiving yards allowed to the position and haven't given up a receiving touchdown all year. It's a bit of a tricky matchup for Forte.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Matt Forte has now scored just eight touchdowns in his last 27 games, which has equated to one touchdown every 68 touches. In short, you can only really count on about one touchdown per month. Fortunately, his yardage is finally trending in the right direction, as he's put up a very respectable 96 and 119 combo yards the last two weeks. In Green Bay's last three games, they've given up 196 combo yards and a touchdown per game to opposing backfields. Still, Forte has posted a scoreless 82 and 80 combo yards in the last two meetings, so keep your expectations in check.
Week Fourteen Analysis: Over the last four weeks, Matt Forte has only scored once, while averaging 61 combo yards and a putrid 2.9 yards per carry. He managed just 46 combo yards against the Vikings two weeks ago, and he's now failed to score against Minnesota in six straight meetings. The Vikings are only allowing 3.5 yards per carry this season, and while they've given up 10 touchdowns to the position in the last seven games, that's basically irrelevant as far as Forte is concerned. The Vikings do rank bottom-10 against opposing backs in the passing game, so that's probably Forte's best bet here.
Week Thirteen Analysis: Matt Forte returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday and appears to be on track for Sunday, so it looks like his owners have dodged a major bullet. He's scuffled against tough opponents in recent weeks, as he's wont to do, but he's always gotten fat on soft matchups. Believe it or not, Seattle qualifies as a soft matchup. In their last three games, their once-dominant run defense has given up five touchdowns and 179 combo yards per game to opposing backs. Assuming he gets the green light, you can start Forte with confidence.
Week Twelve Analysis: Matt Forte has always feasted on bad run defenses, but gone fetal against the good ones. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that he's totaled just 103 scoreless combo yards against San Francisco and Houston the last two weeks. Fortunately, this week he gets a favorable matchup against Minnesota. The Vikings have surrendered seven touchdowns to opposing backs in their last six games—three of which came through the air, where Forte excels. They've also bled 176 combo yards per game to the position over their last four games, and Forte amassed 123 yards in his only matchup last year, so a rebound seems likely.
Week Eleven Analysis: While Matt Forte is a very good fantasy back, he's never been a matchup-proof type of guy. Earlier this season he was held to 49 scoreless combo yards against a tough Dallas defense, and last week Houston's elite-level unit held him to just 36 scoreless combo yards. The 49ers are in the same class as the Texans, as they've allowed just two touchdowns and 3.7 yards per carry to opposing backs all season. With both Jay Cutler and Alex Smith in question for the Monday nighter, this one's shaping up to be an ugly, defensive battle. Proceed with caution.
Week Ten Analysis: Matt Forte received just 14 touches in Chicago's blowout win over Tennessee, but he made the most of them, totaling 148 combo yards and a score. Forte also scored the week before, marking the first time he's scored in back-to-back games in his last 31 contests. Don't count on three in a row. Houston is the only team that's yet to give up a rushing touchdown to opposing backs, and they've only given up one receiving touchdown to the position as well. The Texans rank 5th in rushing yards allowed, so Forte's best bet is probably through the air, where Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller just combined for 10 catches and 77 yards.
Week Nine Analysis: Last week we broke down Matt Forte's historical scoring woes, so naturally, he scored a touchdown against Carolina. He also eclipsed 90 combo yards for the third consecutive week, so his arrow is pointing in the right direction heading into another favorable matchup in Tennessee. In addition to giving up 10 touchdowns to opposing backs in eight games, the Titans rank 28th in rushing yardage and dead last receiving yardage to the position. Last week the talent-poor Indianapolis backfield committee totaled 172 combo yards and a pair of touchdowns against Tennessee, so Forte should carry fantasy teams this week.
Week Eight Analysis: Matt Forte has collected at least 24 touches and 100 combo yards in each of his last two games, so his ankle injury is no longer a concern. His touchdown allergy is another story—Forte has now scored just five times in his last 20 games. His last touchdown came in the season opener, and Carolina has held opposing backs out of the endzone in back-to-back weeks for the first time since October of 2010, so I guess you could say they're both due? The Panthers' have given up 115 rushing yards and a league-worst 70 receiving yards per game to opposing backs, so if nothing else, Forte should be a lock for strong yardage numbers.
Week Seven Analysis: The bye week came at a perfect time for Matt Forte and his ailing ankle, so he should be at full strength for a Monday night showdown against a Detroit team that he's dominated throughout his career. In eight meetings with the Lions, Forte has scored seven times and averaged 122 combo yards. The Lions are surrendering just 3.4 yards per carry, and last week they held LeSean McCoy to a paltry 22 yards on 14 carries. However, McCoy did score through the air, which happens to be Forte's specialty. Until they show they can stop him, you're never benching Forte against Detroit.
Week Five Analysis:Matt Forte racked up 120 combo yards and a score against the Colts in the opener, and he's been battling an ankle injury ever since. However, after carrying 13 times last week, it looks like he's ready to resume his typical workload of 20-to-25 touches in Jacksonville. While Michael Bush is the goal line back, Forte has a chance of scoring this week as well—the Jaguars are tied for a league-worst six touchdowns allowed to opposing backs. Jacksonville also ranks 30th in rushing yardage allowed, so this is an outstanding matchup for Forte.
Week Two Analysis: Michael Bush stole the fantasy spotlight with two touchdowns, but Matt Forte quietly turned in a vintage performance against Indianapolis. Touchdowns have never been his game, so Forte's six-yard score was a nice bonus on top of his 80 rushing and 40 receiving yards. He's now reached at least 20 receiving yards in 44 of 61 career games. In eight career meetings with Green Bay, Forte has scored just once, and his high water mark is 91 rushing yards. However, in their last three meetings, he's totaled 25 catches for 230 yards. Forte is a great start against a Packer defense that just made Frank Gore look like Walter Payton.
Week One Analysis: The signing of Michael Bush squashed any illusions of Matt Forte becoming an effective goal line back, and Chicago's offensive line remains a concern. However, the versatile Forte has a knack for chewing up combo yardage—he averaged over 124 yards in 12 games last season. Conveniently, only two teams ceded more total yards to the position than the Colts last year, so the matchup is perfect. In the last two season openers, Forte has caught touchdown passes of 89 and 56 yards, and he could certainly pop another one against a weak defense that's in the early stages of a 3-4 shift.
NEXT: #8 LeSean McCoy