Journeyman, Scatback, we label many players and box them in to how we define them within those labels. Players get stuck in the purgatory of the NFL playing limited back up snaps here and there, moving from team to team in attempt to find a role where they can make their mark. We all watched a true fairy tale story last year seeing one of these said players emerge from the depths and into the light of a lead back role and fill said role with efficiency and consistency, posting titanic fantasy numbers and he is here to stay. This player is Justin Forsett.
What he did
Last year Justin Forsett posted 200.9 standard scoring fantasy points last year finishing as the 8th highest scoring running back. He had 235 rushes for 1,266 yards with an impressive 5.4 yard per carry rate and 8 rushing TDs accompanied by 44 receptions for 263 yards with an average yard per reception rate of 6. These are all numbers that I expect Forsett to best this season by a wide margin.
He broke the mold that was profiled him by many as a journyman scatback and played at a high level, comparable to the top RBs in the game.
His rushing fantasy points over expectation per attempt profiles with some of the premier backs in the league as shown in the furthest right column in the above chart. Forsett places above notable studs such as Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, Arian Foster, Matt Forte, and Le’Veon Bell. He is producing as efficiently as the best, and I believe he will certainly improve that efficiency.
Why He’ll Improve
Last year Justin Forsett entered a situation with the Ravens where there was a starting back in place, Ray Rice, and he profile as a back up until an infamous domestic violence incident involving Ray Rice ultimately left him off the team. When Ray Rice was gone Forsett did not have instant control of the starting job, sharing carries with other backups early in the season. It was not until week 4 that Forsett started getting the majority of the work. This shows there is room to grow in season long fantasy point totals and finishes.
Under Marc Trestman, the new Raven’s coach, Matt Forte had 102 receptions and 266 carries in 2014 on the Chicago Bears with 74 receptions and 289 carries in the preceding year. Trestman likes to use one back as a workhorse and ride them all season. All these numbers far exceed the work opportunity Forsett was provided in the past year under Gary Kubiak. If he can have 102 catches and 266 carries at his 5.4 YPC rate of last year and 6 YPR rate, he would have 612 receiving yards with 1,436 rushing yards totaling 2,048 yards. That is 204.8 fantasy points, 3.9 more than he had last season without factoring in TDs. If he has his 8 TDs of last year added that makes 252.8 points which would have had him finishing as the 4th highest fantasy point finish of last season’s RBs. I expect him to get 12-14 TDs this season so there is great room for growth in fantasy points there.
The Baltimore Ravens showed confidence in having Forsett be the main guy by waiting all the way until the 4th round to draft a back by the name of Buck Allen. In addition, they gave him a 3 year $9 million contract extension.
I saw the following rotoworld.com blurb that supports the thought of Forsett maintaining last season’s efficiency:
“The Ravens will “borrow” outgoing OC Gary Kubiak’s zone scheme under new OC Marc Trestman, who may dial up more pass attempts but won’t tweak the system. It’ll remain a West Coast offense that maintains inside- and outside-zone concepts on running plays. The Ravens ranked No. 8 in the NFL in rushing offense last season, and return all five starters on the offensive line. May 31 – 2:41 PM”
There have also been extremely positive reports that enforce Forsett’s usage like the following:
With the rushing efficiency of the line being sustained, returning all of its starters, and the catch totals guaranteed to be high under Marc Trestman given history, along with Joe Flacco straight saying he will be a huge checkdown guy, Justin Forsett is primed for an enormous fantasy football season as a shoe in top 5 running back on the year.
Where You Get Him
Forsett’s ADP is landing him at about the 22nd pick, as shown above. These early season leagues tend to dictate how the redraft ADPs shake out. This means you can get him with any first round pick and possibly in the second and I think that you have to take him in the 2nd if you are lucky enough that he falls to you. If Le’Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, and C.J. Anderson are gone I would have no problem what so ever taking Forsett in the first, but if you want a guy that has a high floor and an even higher ceiling as a second round value pick with top 5 RB upside to ride to the chip, endless boasting, some cash, hopefully a trophy, and a year of punking on your friends, you have to draft Justin Forsett in the second round of your 2015 draft.
A big thanks to RotoViz for use of their data and charts