Despite the fact that Reggie Bush stole the 2005 Heisman Trophy from the clutches of Vince Young, I have long been a believer in his talent. Not even his sub-4.0 yards-per-carry with the New Orleans Saints could force me to relinquish hope of his eventual breakthrough. Prior to the Miami Dolphins’ season opener in 2011, I sent out the following tweet:
Bush then made me look far from brilliant during the first four games of the 2011 season; he managed to total only 119 yards on 40 carries for a sparkling 2.98 YPC. Thankfully, there was still plenty more games to be played; over his next eleven games, Bush posted a gaudy 5.49 YPC en route to averaging nearly 88 rushing yards per game. He went on set a career high in rushing yards that season, breaking the one thousand yards threshold for the first time in his career.
Entering the 2012 season, Bush was undervalued again; according to MyFantasyLeague.com, he was the 21st running back drafted with an ADP of 53.86. He went on to finish 14th among running backs in total fantasy points even though the Dolphins’ coaching staff was afflicted with a love for Daniel Thomas.
After missing 20 games during his five-year tenure with the Saints, Bush managed to suit up for all but one game during his two seasons with Miami – he set career highs for rushing carries in each of those years. I have absolutely no fears that he is injury prone.
Reggie Bush celebrated his 28th birthday on March 2nd and then reached a four-year agreement worth up to $16 million ($5 guaranteed) to play for the Detroit Lions on March 13th. He joins an offense that has totaled more offensive yards over the past two seasons than all but two teams – the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots.
Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole reported that Detroit plans to utilize Bush as a “three-down back” and Bush described playing for the Lions as a “running back’s dream.” Why might Reggie be so excited? Well, perhaps the success that Jahvid Best had in his short-lived career had something to do about that. Before being sidelined by a concussion on 2011, Best experienced a lot of success during the Lions’ first six games:
Best was on pace for over 1800 total yards, a number that has only been eclipsed by Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin over the past two seasons. Darren Sproles led all running backs in receiving yards in each of those years with totals of 710 and 667 yards; totals that Best would have rivaled if healthy. For those of you who think that is too small of a sample size, the following table extrapolates Best’s statistics in his career starts – a total of that happens to be 16 games:
In the 16 games that Best started, he accounted for exactly 1500 total yards and 7 touchdowns. However, his rushing totals were held in check by a low YPC. Using Bush’s career 4.3 YPC, the same number of carries would have translated to 935 rushing yards. Bush has also tallied at least 73 receptions twice in his career, making that number more than attainable. By affording Bush with the same opportunity that Best was, he could approach 1600 total yards; that will undoubtedly place him as a solid RB1 even with a limited touchdown total and is why Bush is seething with potential.
Perhaps Mikel Leshoure will have a substantial role though; even if the Lions only grant Bush 170 carries and he only manages to reach 60 receptions – which would be a somewhat pessimistic projection – he could still account for nearly 1200 total yards according to his career averages. Bush is currently being drafted as the 21st running back with an ADP of 40.3 at FantasyFootballCalculator.com. Only 18 running backs managed to surpass 1200 total yards in 2012, so even in an imperfect scenario, Bush can still produce the yardage totals of a mid-range RB2 and is arguably being undervalued. That type of risk versus reward is why Reggie Bush a prime target of mine entering the 2013 fantasy football season.