Michael Bush joins Chicago Bears; hurts his fantasy football value
March 22, 2012 @ 10:09:03 PDT
Despite reports Michael Bush wanted to be a feature back somewhere in the NFL, he resigned himself to a handcuff role in fantasy football leagues by signing a four-year, $14 million deal with the Chicago Bears.
Bush set a career-high in rushing attempts (256), rushing yards (977), receptions (37), receiving yards (418) and receiving touchdowns (one) last year with the Oakland Raiders, filling in as the starter most of the season due to running back Darren McFadden being on the sidelines with injuries. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Bush has shown the ability to do a little bit of everything well. He isn't a special, game-changing back, but he's capable of touching the rock plenty and is a load to bring down.
In Chicago, provided the Bears can come to terms with free-agent runner Matt Forte, who they tagged as their franchise player earlier this year, Bush will be a breather-type back. In a best case scenario under new offensive coordinator Mike Tice, who will run a more traditional conservative offense, Bush could see a touch for every three to four touches Forte receives. His addition provides the Bears with insurance if Forte holds out long term or falls to injury during the regular season, but it does little for his value in fantasy football leagues.
Assuming Forte is under contract sooner than later, this move also hurts his value to a degree. The Bears probably won't be able to put him in open space nearly as much as former offensive coordinator Mike Martz did; couple that with a desire to work Bush in, and Forte will likely end up as a strong No. 2 running back rather than being the solid No. 1 option we've come to expect the past two seasons. Consider Bush a RB4 and a handcuff option to Forte; anything more than that will likely lead to major disappointment.
The Raiders, who would have liked Bush to return, have to add another running back to the mix due to the oft-injured nature of McFadden, who has reportedly healed from last year's foot issues. Second-year back Taiwan Jones is intriguing, but he touched the ball just 18 times in his rookie campaign. Anticipate the Raiders building depth at the position, likely with a bruising style back, through the NFL Draft. A player like Cedric Benson (Bengals) could be an interesting option off the free-agent market, too.
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About Ryan R. Bonini
Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini serves as VP of technology for KFFL's parent company, USA TODAY SPORTS. Bonini was named the 2009 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the FSWA and received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10.
His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NFL.com, and many others. He has also been featured on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA, FSWA and FSTA. Follow @RyanBonini
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