I recently had the opportunity to spend a few minutes chatting with Ravens RB Justin Forsett. I told him only I wanted to talk fantasy football, and he was kind enough to agree. There are several revealing insights in this Q&A that I think every Fool will find interesting. Enjoy.
Question from The Chief Fool: 2014 was obviously a career year for you, Justin. Congratulations. I know you have a lot of confidence in yourself, like all athletes do, but honestly…were you as surprised as everyone else with your breakout season? Did you see it coming?
Answer from Forsett: I wasn't surprised once I got the opportunity. I knew I could do it if I ever got one. But the opportunity came open in an unfortunate way [The Ray Race incident], so I decided to take it and run with it. That was definitely a blessing last year.
A: Well, I played with some great running backs when I came in. I was behind TJ Duckett and Julius Jones in Seattle – two guys they had just signed in free agency – so I was coming in as a returner guy, special teams guy, helping out on third down… Then toward the end of my career there, they brought in Marshawn Lynch, and he’s a pretty solid player…[Chuckles]
And in Houston, there was Arian Foster. In Jacksonville, Maurice Jones-Drew, so there were a lot of good players.
Another thing is my size. No one could overlook the fact that I’m 5’8”, 198 lbs. When you’re my size, you can get placed in a box easy. Some people won’t give you a chance. They just put you in a box…you’re a third down guy, scat back, change of pace guy and special teams guy. So, I never really had the opportunity to do a full-time thing. Last year I did, and it worked out well.
Q: With the arrival of Marc Trestman, how do you think your role is going to change this year? Everybody thinks you’re going to get a lot more looks in the passing game. Does that sound right?
A: I’m excited about his offense, with [Trestman's] track record and seeing what he did last year with Matt Forte. I’m going to be able to show a little more versatility, be able to line up and catch passes out of the backfield, as well as run the ball like we did last year. So I’m excited about the expanded role.
Q: So you’ve got a new rookie there. Do you think Buck [Javorius Allen] is going to get a lot of playing time? One of the things fantasy football players most want to know when we get to draft time is are you going to be the workhorse back or do you think you’ll be part of a committee?
A: For one, I think Buck is going to be a great player for us. But we’ve got a stable of backs here with Lorenzo Taliaferro, Fitzgerald Toissaint and Terrence Magee that we got and he looks really good as well. So we’ll see how it all shakes out but I’m confident I can have a better year than I did last year.
Q: Should we worry that you're hitting 30 this year, that dreaded age for RBs, or do you think you’ve still got a lot left in the tank?
A: I think I have a lot left in the tank. I’ve been blessed throughout my career to not have much wear and tear and not many injuries, and staying healthy, so I feel good. I may be 29, turning 30 in October, but my legs are 26 and I’m feeling good!
Q: Are you a fantasy football guy at all? Have you ever played?
A: Nah, I tried it once about four years ago, but it was just too much work to keep track…
Q: Okay, but you’re a little bit familiar with it at least. So you were the #8-ranked RB in fantasy football last season. Should you be a first-round draft pick this year? You think you’re going to be up there in that same class again?
A: I believe so. If it was me picking, I may be a little biased, but definitely I’m expecting greater things and working harder toward that goal and I don’t see anything that will stop that, Lord willing.
Q: Last question. You just had your breakout year. Tell me somebody on the Ravens that you think is going to have a breakout year in 2015. Somebody who might surprise us.
A: Hmm…might surprise you…I wouldn’t be surprised if Lorenzo Taliaferro was the guy.
Q: Really? Why do you say that?
A: Just because he’s been working hard, he’s a young guy, with the opportunities he had last year, he did well. I think we have a great stable here and he’s one of the young guys I’m taking under my wing and if he gets the opportunity, I think he’s gonna do well.
[For the record, I didn't think it was appropriate to debate his somewhat contradictory predictions that he (Forsett) was worth a 1st-round pick and that Taliaferro was in for a breakout season...]
Fantasy Fools thanks Justin Forsett for this interview. Hopefully there will be more like this to come prior to the beginning of the preseason.