The ever valuable running back gem landed in the latter part of fantasy drafts can be the overall difference maker come December. A few years ago it was Arian Foster who ran wild on defenses and sprung fantasy teams to title success. It’s not typical but you can land that back from an array of happenings. It usually takes an injury or a new environment for that to be a possibility.
There is a running back out in Chicago that has exactly that. A solid contract and a history of producing higher each of the last three seasons. Michael Bush just needs the carries, and based on Mike Tice’s ideas he could very well get those.
Holding out as Matt Forte did was done in part because he was so heavily involved in the Bears offense the last few seasons. These were not improvised play calls that Forte happened to be the check down option. Mike Martz wanted to bring the St. Louis Rams offense of his hey days to Chicago. Once the Bears figured out they did not have the receivers to do so, it turned into the best show by Forte. Runs and designed quick throws to Forte led to him catching over 50 passes each of the last three years.
Carries with the ground attack are there for two backs nowadays. The Bears did not over run Forte with carries, as they substituted the dump off passes to lessen his load. This year will be different with Mike Bush in the fold. They did not sign him to be a back that only carries five to seven times a game.
He will see at least ten carries a game. With how much of a threat Forte is out of the backfield it would not be shocking to see both behind Cutler. This backfield could be comparable to Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams or even ex Giant, Brandon Jacobs/Ahmad Bradshaw.
That means a heavy workload inside the ten for Bush. Chicago has the capability and weapons to be a top ten team for points offensively this year. That’s a bonus for Bush owners, who know Bush has been one of the better number two running backs in the league the past two seasons.
A typical running back is going to have his share of injuries throughout the season. It may not lead to not starting, but playing through injuries can be just as detrimental. Forte is coming off an injury and the Bears will want to protect him by taking necessary precautions. That means handing the ball to Bush and if there is a short stint of games Forte misses, than they would rely on Bush heavily.
While in Oakland Bush has had a knack for getting starts due to injury. He started seven games in 2009, three in 2010, and nine a year ago. If he can get near 160 to 180 carries you can expect Bush to be a borderline number tier one fantasy back that you start in your RB2 slot.
The quiet benefit with Bush is he can also catch the ball out of the backfield. You do not see that arsenal with many backs Bush’s size. Last year though Carson Palmer threw to Bush 37 times for over 400 yards receiving.
Even if Bush does not get two to three starts due to injury, we know what he can do in a strong role behind a starter. Just because a back does not reach 1,000 yard mark does not mean you should deter yourself from drafting him. Bush will outdo plenty of backs ahead of him in rankings and ADP.
Expect 700-750 yards rushing, near 200 yards receiving, and double digit touchdowns from Bush.