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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fantasy football: Matt Forte injury analysis

If you subscribe to the fantasy handcuff rule -- always draft your stud running back's backup -- Marion Barber tests that theory like no one else.

Barber is a big name for a backup -- he had a combined 28 touchdowns in 2006 and '07, and was a productive fantasy starter at times during his tenure with the Cowboys.

He's also now a 28-year-old with a lot of wear on his tires. At this point in his career, he's a touchdown-or-bust fantasy play in a very deep league.

If you're a Matt Forte owner, Barber might also be your desperation start in Week 14, the beginning of the postseason in most fantasy leagues.

By now, you probably know Forte suffered a knee injury Sunday during the Bears' loss to the Chiefs. Fox's Jay Glazer reported it was a sprained MCL that could sideline the fantasy stud 2 to 4 weeks.

Translation: If you own Forte and qualified for the playoffs in your league, you're probably going to have to attempt to win a title without him.

If you didn't handcuff Forte with Barber -- I wouldn't have made the move, since I don't believe Barber is worth a roster spot in most leagues, and he's certainly not worth holding on to for 13 weeks unless your league is very generous with roster sizes -- don't get too excited about the possibility of acquiring the former Cowboy on the waiver wire Tuesday.

Barber is averaging 3.7 yards per carry this season. Yes, he has scored five touchdowns in nine games, but he is of almost no value in the passing game (he has three receptions for 18 yards this year), and if he doesn't score, he likely will get you all of four or five points.

The Bears' schedule the next three weeks isn't favorable, either.

In Week 14, Chicago plays at Denver, which entered this week ranked 19th defending the run, but has allowed only five TDs on the ground in 12 games.

In Week 15, the Bears will play host to the Seahawks (No. 12 vs. the run entering this week), and in Week 16, they play at the Packers (No. 13 vs. the run). In the latter battle, Barber would be lucky to get more than 12 to 15 carries, unless the 12-0 Packers suffer a loss prior to the game and have nothing to play for.

Injuries can force us to make lineup decisions we know aren't favorable. So if you're starting Barber in Week 14, I understand.

What I wouldn't understand would be if you thought it was anything but a lineup liability.

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