Bears release troubled RB Benson

In a move that should surprise no one, the Chicago Bears have released Cedric Benson. The decision came after Benson’s second run-in with police this offseason.

Matt Forte, RB
Chicago Bears

2007 statistics
Att: 361
Yards: 2,127
TDs: 23

Benson joins a long line of recent bust running backs drafted by the team, a list that includes Curtis Enis, Rashaan Salaam and Anthony Thomas. While no one knows what the future holds for the troubled Benson, it just became a lot brighter for one of his former teammates.

Welcome to fantasy relevance, Matt Forte.

Forte, a rookie out of Tulane, has been ultra-impressive in his short time with the team. In fact, offensive coordinator Ron Turner has been public about his praise for him.

“I love Matt Forte,” offensive coordinator Ron Turner told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s got the size, he’s got the hands. He’s smooth as an athlete, very smooth. How many touches do I see him getting? A lot.”

Now that the team has parted ways with Benson, Forte becomes the instant favorite to start ahead of Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe. And for those fantasy footballers worried that the team’s unstable quarterback position will hurt Forte’s value, there’s no need for such concern. In fact, I covered that topic earlier this month when I looked at several running backs who thrived despite a reliable quarterback.

The Bears won’t hand Forte the top spot on the depth chart, but he’s already well on his way to earning it. I’d consider him a high-end No. 3 fantasy back with the potential to be much more in 2008.

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