Michael Bush: Looking Ahead to Bears RB's 2013 Draft Value

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IINovember 25, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 25: Michael Bush #29 and Chris Spencer #67 of the Chicago Bears celebrate a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on November 25, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Win or lose, there is always next season for fantasy football owners, and it is never too early to start searching for a draft-day gem. With his latest performance, Chicago Bears’ running back Michael Bush showed signs that he may be a fantasy stud in 2013.

The Bears are a historically hard-nosed football team, and a powerful runner like Bush seemed like he would be an excellent fit for the team after signing as a free agent this offseason.

Bush’s fantasy football owners were hoping for him to become a force near the goal line and vulture Matt Forte’s touchdowns, but his value this year has mainly been as a handcuff for the Bears’ starter.

Bush split time with Forte in three games early this season and started when Forte missed the team’s game against the St. Louis Rams. Bush received double-digit carries in all four of these contests, but since then, he has faded into the background. 

Today’s game against the Minnesota Vikings was the first time this season Bush received 20 or more carries. Forte was injured in the NFC North showdown, as The Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs noted. This opened the door for Bush’s two-touchdown performance. 

Despite fluctuating playing time, Bush has now reached the end zone five times this season. 

Bush may get more chances to prove himself going forward this season, depending on the Forte’s health, but the Bears have not shown this year that they like the idea of splitting carries when their starter in fully healthy.

This is a significant hit to Bush’s fantasy value. His average draft position this year in ESPN leagues was 85.8, making him a seventh-round pick in 12-team leagues.

If Bush explodes in Chicago’s remaining games this season, then fantasy owners would obviously be wise to take him earlier than this next year. But considering Bush’s production as a Bear, this is unlikely.

In four of the six games in which he has received double-digit rushing attempts, Bush has averaged 3.1 yards per carry or fewer.

Ultimately, he has not been impressive when given a significant amount of opportunities this year, and the Bears have been all too willing to rely heavily on Forte. 

Bush will retain value as an insurance policy for Forte, but fantasy owners should not look for him to be a large part of the offense next year. 

At this point, a seventh-round pick for Bush would be too high, and fantasy owners should not start to look at Bush until at least round nine or 10 in 2013.