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Time to sell high with Forte
By John Dietz | Daily Herald Columnist

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte is tackled by Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins (36) and linebacker A.J. Hawk during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

 

Kiichiro Sato

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Published: 9/30/2010 6:28 PM

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Listen up, Matt Forte owners: It's time to start thinking trade.

The Bears' running back is off to a decent start and many owners out there might still have visions of him racing 89 yards against the Lions or of him nabbing that easy TD against the Cowboys.

But when you dig deeper, alarm bells should be sounding.

The last two weeks, Forte has a combined 58 yards on 21 carries and just 7 catches for 51 yards.

Over the last 19 games, Forte has 7 TDs and has averaged just 54.6 yards on the ground and 35.4 in receiving yardage. He's definitely healthy this year and admittedly has that burst back, but the offensive line has done him no favors.

We've heard plenty of talk about Mike Martz turning Forte into a Marshall Faulk-type back and that looked to be the case in the opener but the last two games leave plenty of doubt.

The Bears' schedule gets real soft the next five weeks, but if you have a bit of running back depth, I'd still look to ditch Forte. I have him in one league (with Darren McFadden as my No. 2) and have a deal in the works in which I give up Forte and Sidney Rice for Miles Austin.

The other owner is waffling a bit, but if you can pull off a deal like this and make a major upgrade at WR, QB or TE, I'd say go for it.

Pickup: Astute owners with a roster spot available should grab Packers rookie RB James Starks. He's on the PUP list right now and can't be activated until Week 7, but given the state of the Green Bay rushing attack, you have to think coach Mike McCarthy will give the 6-foot-2, 218-pounder a chance. "He's a big, athletic running back, and I think he has the ability to be a three-down player," McCarthy said on Sept. 16.

My teams: I'd like to say a big thank you for the holding call that prevented Jermichael Finley's TD against the Bears on Monday night. That enabled my regular team (2-1) to escape with a 120-115 victory. My unit-league team (1-2) was doomed as soon as Anquan Boldin (27 points) went off, and I lost that game 79-52.5.

Good bets

• Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson at Buffalo. Seeing as how every back to face the Bills has produced, LT is at the very least a great flex option.

• Falcons QB Matt Ryan vs. San Francisco. The 49ers are a mess, and Ryan will carve them up in the Georgia Dome.

• Niners WR Michael Crabtree at Atlanta. Purely a hunch here as Crabtree (6-81) has been a massive disappointment. But I'm guessing Alex Smith gets him more involved, especially in the second half of what could be a big-time shootout.

• Seahawks RB Justin Forsett vs. San Diego. Another hunch here, but a better one than Crabtree. Forsett had 20 touches last week for 94 yards and is facing a Rams team that allows 133.7 yards per game on the ground. Giddy-up.

• Chargers RB Ryan Matthews vs. Arizona. Assuming he's good to go, Matthews (ankle) will put together his first eye-opening performance this Sunday. Watch for 130-plus yards and at least 1 score.

• Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown vs. New England. The Patriots' defense gave up 30 points to Buffalo last week and 28 to the Jets the week before. Brown figures to find the end zone at least once.

• Bears WR Johnny Knox at N.Y. Giants. Of receivers with 5 or more receptions, Knox is fourth in the NFL with 21.1 yards per catch. He's going to burn the Giants' secondary to a crisp in front of a national TV audience.

Bad bets

• Ravens QB Joe Flacco at Pittsburgh. Atlanta (9 points), Tennessee (11) and Tampa Bay (13) all failed to do anything against the Steelers. Playing Flacco in this spot is akin to jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.

• Lions RB Javid Best at Green Bay. With 3 TDs, Best made me look real BAD when I put him in this spot two weeks ago. But if he plays while hurt against the Packers, it will be his fantasy owners who get toasted this time.

• Panthers WR Steve Smith at New Orleans. It's tough to recommend Smith until Jimmy Clausen gets more comfortable and that may not be until next year.

• Rams RB Kenneth Darby vs. Seattle. If Steven Jackson can't play, some of you will be hoping Darby can get the job done. Don't count on it, especially against a Seahawks team that has shut down Frank Gore (17-38), Mike Tolbert (17-73) and Knowshon Moreno (24-51). That's 2.8 yards per carry among those tailbacks.

• Texans QB Matt Schaub at Oakland. A suspended left takle and either no Andre Johnson or a gimpy Andre Johnson spells doom for Schaub against a tough Raiders secondary.

• Giants QB Eli Manning vs. the Bears. Quarterbacks have been posting good yardage numbers against Lovie Smith's team but not finding the end zone all that much. Manning will end up with 255 yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs.