Matt Forte: Projecting Michael Bush's Fantasy Stats While Replacing Bears RB

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2012

Sep 13, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) hands the football to running back Michael Bush (29) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.  The Packers defeated the Bears 23-10.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

There are a lot of Matt Forte owners out there concerned about their fantasy football team after it was learned he won't play in Week 3 against the St. Louis Rams.

And then there are those owners who handcuffed him with his backup, Michael Bush. Those owners aren't sweating this week in the least.

That's because Bush is in the Ben Tate league of extraordinary backup running backs. Yes, Andre Brown is being considered for admission into the league after Thursday night. But Bush is already a chartered member.

For one, Bush already had a huge Week 1 despite Forte being in the lineup, finishing with 16.2 fantasy points after rushing for two touchdowns. But you also have to consider what he did as the starter for the Oakland Raiders last year after Darren McFadden went down to injury in Week 7.

In 10 games as the main man in Oakland, Bush finished with 1,158 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. That was good for 14.5 fantasy points a week—hardly a shabby mark.

No, Bush won't be as much of a threat in the passing game as Forte is when healthy. Few backs in the NFL are on Forte's level as a receiver. And while his rushing numbers are hardly shabby (111 yards and a touchdown in two games), Forte's 89 receiving yards kept him a strong RB1 for owners.

But Bush was already entrenched as the team's goal line back, so it's unlikely he'll see touchdowns taken away from him, often the case with Forte. And after watching Jay Cutler get sacked seven times and throw four interceptions a week ago, the Bears would probably be wise to run early and often.

The Rams have given up 37.8 fantasy points to opposing running backs after two weeks, so Bush should get his. And given that St. Louis has given up 259 rushing yards (20th in the NFL), he should be able to get his on the ground.

I'm projecting Bush will finish with 115 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on Sunday, good for a healthy 17.5 fantasy points. His run in the extraordinary league of backup running backs will continue in a big way.


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