Maybe it was because they offered the most money, but I can’t understand why Michael Bush would leave just to take a job with a team where he is the clear back up to a top RB. Perhaps we value Bush much more than NFL teams do, that’s a distinct possibility considering that RB is a devalued position right now and it was not an active market for free agent receivers.
The Bears are winners here because they get not only a short yardage back to replace the recently retired Marion Barber, but they get a No. 2 RB who can do a lot of things their starter can – block, run, and catch. They now have one of the best and deepest backfields in the league. They also have leverage on Matt Forte who is reportedly considering holding out if he doesn’t have a new contract.
FFToday says this hurts Matt Forte a bit in terms of fantasy value, but that Forte will still be the focus of the offense. They speculate that Michael Bush will steal goal line TDs.
KFFL.com has an excellent analysis of the signing. Our friend Ryan Bonini says that with this move and an new offense under the guidance of Mike Tice that will not provide Forte with the ball in space as much as the Mike Martz offense did, Forte looks to them to be more of a high end RB#2 than a RB#1 in 2012.
CBS too had high hopes that Bush would find a starting gig. Now, however, they say he should see 8-12 touches a week at most and that he is essentially just a must-have handcuff for Forte owners.
FANTASY FOOTBALL SPIN
Matt Forte is still a RB#1 in our opinion. Sure, there are some drawbacks as compared to last year. He now clearly has a more talented backup than he had in previous years and that will impact not only how many carries he gets when healthy, but (especially with a big new contract which we anticipate) also how willing the Bears will be to push a banged up Forte. We have some concerns along those lines. We also recognize the credence of the point made by KFFL when they said that Forte will not get the ball in space as often. His reception total may take a good size hit. But, as a counter balance, Forte will get more carries this year than he did in 2011 and with a real receiving threat in Brandon Marshall – defenses will be forced to play a little more honest.
Bush is clearly a must-have handcuff for Forte owners. He’s worth having on a roster even if you don’t have Forte. Just as he stepped in for an injured Darren McFadden and was a productive fantasy back, he will excel if Forte goes down. He’ll also add some carries, catches and TDs (totaled 16 TDs over past two seasons). Depending on how Tice plans on using Bush he could be a nice flex option many weeks in Chicago offense that should be much more potent in 2012.
The Raiders need a big back and we think they will address that in the draft or possible free agency. Cedric Benson would be a nice, but not perfect fit. McFadden is not likely to stay healthy for 16 games and Benson alone can’t be trusted to carry the load for a stretch of games. The Raiders would be wise to bring in Benson and look for a younger big back in the draft – with Benson’s track record for run ins with the law he’d make for a perfect Raider.