Michael Bush: Fantasy Value Will Decrease Without Matt Forte in Lineup

Darin PikeContributor ISeptember 13, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 13:  Running back Michael Bush #29 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against cornerback Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 13, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Matt Forte suffered an ankle injury as the Chicago Bears struggled against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night in the Bears' 23-10 loss. His prognosis is uncertain but the injury likely sent many fantasy owners to check on Michael Bush's availability.

Forte didn't return to the game against the Packers and his prognosis going forward is unknown.

RT @bears_insider: Update: Matt Forte is out for the rest of the game because of an ankle injury. Initially ruled as doubtful.

— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 14, 2012

Unless an owner has an empty roster spot they should avoid the temptation to add Bush to their team. His production will likely decrease if Forte isn't able to return next week.

This comment likely has many readers questioning my grasp of scoring in fantasy football, but there is is some logic behind this statement.

Forte is an incredible offensive weapon and is a major component of the Bears' offensive attack. He picks up yards in bunches on the ground and through the air.

One thing he doesn't do, though, is pound the ball in at the goal line. That is why the Bears signed Bush in the offseason, as he is one of the better goal-line backs in the NFL.

Kevin Seifert shared some data from the ESPN Stats and Information department (h/t Keith Hawkins).

Over Forte's four-year career he's gotten more goal-to-go touches than all but three other running backs. He has nine touchdowns in 86 attempts, which is the fewest of any runner with at least 50 opportunities. He is barely over 10 percent, while Bush converts almost twice as often (17 TDs on 98 attempts).

Bush figures to be a workhorse at the goal line, providing most of his fantasy value through short touchdown runs.

The primary issue facing owners is that the Bears will struggle to move the ball without Forte. Bush isn't an every-down back and won't be able to lead an effective ground game. He was decent filling in for the oft-injured Darren McFadden in Oakland, but hardly spectacular.

Whatever yardage Bush will be able to gain between the 20-yard lines won't be enough to make up for the loss of goal-line production.

Owners who have Bush on their teams already shouldn't get overly excited about his prospects. Owners with a high waiver priority shouldn't pick him up expecting him to be a productive back.

There will be some solid use for Bush if Forte is gone for any length of time, though. Owners might be able to trade him to an uninformed owner that expects him to pick up where Forte has left off.

Hopefully Forte's injury isn't serious and he'll be back on the field when the Bears host the St. Louis Rams next Sunday.


UPDATE: Friday, September 14th at 11:50 a.m. ET by Darin Pike

The Chicago Bears have announced that Forte will likely miss at least four weeks with a high ankle sprain.

Matt Forte has high ankle sprain; Michael Bush ready to step up: on.nfl.com/BearsBackupRea… (via @nfl_atl)

— NFL (@nfl) September 14, 2012

Forte owners will be scrambling for options and that could drive up the trade value for Bush. If you own Bush and have a need elsewhere in your lineup this could be the time the squeeze some trade value.

---End of Update---