Fewer carries for Forte in 2009?

(Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images)

(Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images)

Matt Forte is coming off an incredible rookie season, totaling 63 receptions, 1,715 scrimmage yards and 12 total touchdowns. Numbers like that will make him a surefire first-round selection in 2009 fantasy drafts.

But will Forte see the same number of looks out of the backfield next season?

Probably not.

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo suggested to the Chicago Tribune that the team will look to decrease Forte’s workload.

“When you look around the league, everybody is implementing a dual running back system,” Angelo told the Tribune. “Your number one usually touches the ball around 20 times. The other back gets 10 to 12 to 15 touches. That’s a good balance. … I’m confident we’ll get back to that.”

Angelo’s statement might seem like a negative in terms of Forte’s value, but I wouldn’t be so fast to pass judgment. In fact, I still see him as one of fantasy football’s elite runners.

Forte ran the football 316 times and saw an incredible 80 percent of the team’s running back/fullback carries last season. By comparison, fellow rookie standout Chris Johnson ran the ball 251 times and accounted for 53 percent of his team’s running back/fullback carries.

Despite the disparity in carries, Forte and Johnson were actually very close in overall point production and value.

Unfortunately, the days of true featured backs like Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk are all but extinct. Teams are now looking to keep their best running backs healthy and fresh throughout what can be a long and grueling NFL season.

But as long as Forte continues to see the majority of the carries, even if it’s 65 percent, he’ll remain a prominent fantasy runner across the board.

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