Is Matt Forte to the Jets a Fantasy Football Home Run?

One of the most consistent running backs in NFL history now has a new home. Can Matt Forte continue his success with the New York Jets?

Among the whirlwind of NFL player movement on Wednesday, one of the most intriguing developments was longtime Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte going to the New York Jets.

Back in February after being cut by the Bears, our own Jim Sannes penned a great piece highlighting why, even at an advanced age for running backs, Forte is still a worthy NFL-caliber running back.

What can we expect from Forte, now with a new home, on a team that was 10-6 last season and narrowly missed the playoffs, in 2016?

King of Consistency

Consistency is a term that is thrown around a lot in football analysis, but to understand what that term truly means over the span of an NFL career, you need look no further than Matt Forte’s career statistics.

Year Games Rush ruYds ruTds Yd/Car Rec reYDs reTDs Scrimmage
2008 16 316 1,238 8 3.9 63 477 4 1,715
2009 16 258 929 4 3.6 57 471 0 1,400
2010 16 237 1,069 6 4.5 51 547 3 1,616
2011 12 203 997 3 4.9 52 490 1 1,487
2012 15 248 1,094 5 4.4 44 340 1 1,434
2013 16 289 1,339 9 4.6 74 594 3 1,933
2014 16 266 1,038 6 3.9 102 808 4 1,846
2015 13 218 898 4 4.1 44 389 3 1,287

Pay especially close attention to his Yards from Scrimmage totals, which highlight how versatile a running back he’s been over the last eight seasons.

In fact, Forte has the third-most seasons with at least 1,200 yards from scrimmage of any running back since the merger. The rest of the list is pretty damn impressive.

And while all of these achievements show how good Forte has been up until this point, all we fantasy footballers really care about is what can he do moving forward.

Leaving On A Jet(s) Plane

With Chris Ivory now in Jacksonville, a huge void has been opened up in the Jets’ backfield. Before Forte was signed, the remaining running backs signed for the 2016 season were Zac Stacy (acquired for just a seventh-round pick), Dri Archer (a speedy castoff) and Taiwan Jones (another speedy castoff). Add Stevan Ridley and Bilal Powell, who are both unrestricted free agents, and the need for a lead running back was clear.

Enter Forte.

Despite going with a fairly committee-like backfield approach last season, the Jets now have the luxury of leaning on a running back who has missed only eight games in his career and has seen 250 or more touches in every season since 2008.

Age is somewhat of a concern, but Forte has actually improved in terms of efficiency every single season since his rookie year in 2008.

A Realistic Expectation

If Matt Forte would have been signed by a team without much to offer on offense, it would be much easier to downplay. The Jets, however, do not have an empty cupboard.

Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker make up one of the league’s most formidable duos, especially inside the red zone, and Ryan Fitzpatrick set career-highs in both passing yards and touchdowns in 2015. There’s already a firm foundation in place on which to build, if Fitzpatrick returns to the Jets.

If the Jets don’t make another mid-level addition at running back before the season starts, it’s not crazy to assume a relatively similar workload to what Forte has seen in the past.

At age 30, it’s fair to be cautious about Forte’s prospects. But given his landing spot, his opportunity for touches, and the elite level of consistency he’s shown during the entirety of his career, Forte could end up being a very valuable fantasy asset in 2016.