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Matt Forte: Bears dual-threat RB became fantasy football star
Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions. (Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Forte: Bears dual-threat RB became fantasy football star

CHICAGO (BVM) – Over his 10-year career, Matt Forte was one of the most consistent running backs in the NFL. The dual-threat running back had over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in all except for his last season, including one season when he had 1,000 yards rushing and 100 receptions. The Slidell, Louisiana native is considered as one of the best to ever play for the Chicago Bears and was a running back that fantasy football players fell in love with. 

Matt Forte’s High School Career 

Forte went to Slidell High School where he was a football and track and field star. Even in high school, Forte had the stats that showed he could hurt defenses in both the rushing and receiving game. As a junior he rushed for 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns while catching 30 passes for 365 yards and three more touchdowns. 

Forte’s senior year was another success. He racked up 1,375 rushing yards with 23 touchdowns and had 253 receiving yards with two receiving touchdowns. His efforts earned him District 5-5A Offensive MVP, but he was not highly recruited out of high school. 

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Tulane Green Wave running back Matt Forte (25) rushed 2,127 yards during his senior season. (Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Copyright)

Matt Forte’s Tulane Career

The Slidell running back committed to Tulane University and played four seasons for the Green Wave. As a freshman he split time with Jovon Jackson, but was still able to have 804 yards and six touchdowns. Forte’s sophomore season was similar to his freshman year with almost identical stats, in part because he was still sharing time in the backfield. However, it was also a tough season due to the fact that Tulane had to play all of their games on the road because of Hurricane Katrina.

It was Forte’s junior season where he became the lead starter, but an injury early in the season allowed for others to join in the workload, and then another injury late in the season ended his junior campaign early. Even with the injuries, Forte reached 1,219 yards from scrimmage in just nine games. In his final game of the season against Marshall before suffering a season-ending injury, Forte rushed for 61 yards, two touchdowns and had 80 receiving yards. 

Forte’s senior season was his best, and a record-setting one. He rushed for 2,127 yards, the most ever by a Tulane running back, and also had 23 touchdowns. He rushed for over 200 yards five times and over 300 yards twice. Forte’s stats from that season are still in the record books at Tulane. 


Following his unbelievable year, Forte was the Senior Bowl MVP and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft with the 44th overall pick, later signing a rookie contract with Chicago. 

Matt Forte’s NFL Career

Forte was an instant contributor for the Bears. He made the 2008 NFL All-Rookie Team and started all 16 games for Chicago. Forte rushed for 1,238 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 77.4 yards per game. Along with his rushing stats, Forte also had 477 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Even though his rookie season would be his second highest totals for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns for a season in his career, Forte would use his ability in the passing game to make up for any shortcomings he had in rushing, reaching over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in nine of his 10 seasons.

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Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) runs against Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37). (Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)

In 2010, he had a career-high 151 receiving yards in the Bears’ season opener against the Detroit Lions. That same year was also Forte’s one appearance in the playoffs. Against the Seattle Seahawks he went for 134 yards from scrimmage, and then against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship, Forte became the first Bear in postseason history with at least 10 receptions in a playoff game. 

The 2010 season was Forte’s only playoff appearance, but he continued to be one of the better running backs in the NFL. He made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2013. In 2011, Forte became the first player in NFL history to have 900 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards in their first four seasons. But soon after he accomplished this, his season was ended early by injury. In 2013 ,he had career highs in rushing yards (1,339) and rushing touchdowns (9) for a season. His rushing yards that year are the second most by a Bears’ running back, only behind Hall of Famer Walter Payton. His career high in receiving yards would come the next year in 2014 when Forte had 808 yards on 102 receptions, which was also a career high. 


Following his success in 2011, Forte signed a four-year contract extension with Chicago. During his time with the Bears, Forte missed very little time due to injury. Overall in his eight seasons in Chicago he missed a total of eight games. However, even with his consistency and production on the field, the Bears did not re-sign him to a contract when he became a free agent in 2016. 

Forte would go on to sign a three-year $12 million contract with the New York Jets, but only played two

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Matt Forte signed a contract with the New York Jets and finished his 10 year career as a Jet. (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

seasons in New York. His first year with the Jets was like any other for Forte. Even with sharing the backfield with Bilal Powell, the Jets constantly abandoning the run because they were losing a game and a knee injury that placed him on injured reserve, Forte was still able to rush for 813 yards and have another 263 receiving yards.

In 2017, after a season that was plagued by a toe and knee injury, Forte announced he would be retiring. He signed a one-day contract with the Bears so he could retire in Chicago. He is still considered one of the best receiving running backs the NFL has ever seen and was ranked 34th when the Bears did their 100 best Bears of All-Time

Forte’s stats are only bested by Payton. He is second in Bears history in rushing yards (8,602), net yards (12,718), receptions (487). Forte had 24 100-yard rushing games and five 1,000-yard rushing seasons.


Matt Forte Fantasy Football 

Forte played in the NFL during a time when fantasy football was really growing in popularity. His place as the lone starter for the Bears, and his consistency, made Forte’s fantasy stock rise quickly. His high rushing attempts, rushing yards, receptions and receiving yards translated to high fantasy scores. Among all running backs, he ranked in the top 10 in fantasy football for five seasons and was in the top five overall for three seasons. His best year for fantasy output came in 2014 when he averaged 21.4 fantasy points per game. Forte helped win many fantasy football leagues during his time and his style of play was perfect for fantasy football.

Photo: Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions. (Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)