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Fantasy football owners would be wise to start Chicago Bears running back Michael Bush vs. the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.
The Dallas Cowboys enter their Monday night matchup vs. the Chicago Bears as the league's best team at defending the pass, giving up an average of only 137 yards per game through the air. For fantasy owners relying on a big day from either Jay Cutler or Brandon Marshall to push you over the hump in Week 4, this makes for a scary proposition. Dallas' pass rush has been on-point through the first three weeks of the new season, and the secondary they worked so diligently to overhaul has been impressive thus far. Given how poorly Chicago's offensive line has played, it's likely going to be hard to throw on the Cowboys tonight. But could the Chicago Bears find success running the ball?
It's certainly possible, even if Chicago could be without star running back Matt Forte. Forte is listed as a game-time decision after spraining his ankle in a Week 2 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field. Forte sat out the Bears' Week 3 win over the St. Louis Rams, and the Bears didn't really miss him. New Bear Michael Bush was up for the task, finishing with 55 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. His presence is certainly a calming one for Chicago coach Lovie Smith, and it should be for fantasy owners, too.
Bush was signed this offseason after the 2011 Bears were done-in by poor play from reserve tailback Marion Barber once Forte went down vs. the Chiefs on December 4. Bush, who shined splitting carries with Darren McFadden as a member of the Oakland Raiders for years, was given a lucrative four-year contract to add a powerful supplement to the Chicago running game and act as insurance for Forte, who has a history of injury problems.
Bush isn't completely healthy himself after injuring his shoulder in the win over St. Louis, but you can count on him to play on Monday whether Forte goes or not. Bush has already established himself as Chicago's goal line back, making him a strong fantasy start tonight regardless of Forte's status. If Forte is in a limited role or ruled out completely, it's not unreasonable to expect a big game from Bush. Chicago's offensive line is better at run blocking than pass blocking, and big, physical backs like Bush have given Dallas trouble in the past.
Dallas has given up 113 yards per game on the ground this season, which ranks No. 17 in the NFL. It won't be easy for Chicago to throw the ball tonight, but Bush and the running game could find some success. Bush is a quality start on Monday Night Football.