2011 was in many ways a career year for Miami Dolphins running back, Reggie Bush. The former USC star racked up a respectable 1,086 rushing yards and another 296 through the air, but his 216 rushing attempts was by far the most shocking statistic from the 203-pound running back.
The 27-year old is currently being drafted as a starter in almost every fantasy format, and even as a number one back in some circumstances. Understandably, many people are getting carried away with the fact that Bush had a career season running the ball between the tackles, but they are ignoring many other factors during their draft.
Bush racked up a ridiculous 519 rushing yards in his final four games of 2011, as he has finally started to look like a legitimate NFL running back. However, those numbers were slightly inflated, as he dropped a shocking 203 rushing yards in week 16 against a pathetic 2011 Buffalo Bills’ run defense. Without that one big game, Bush averaged a meager 63.1 yards per contest. Bush did have four consecutive 100-yard games to end the year, but the offense will be completely different in 2012, making it more difficult for Bush to repeat his insane 2011 season.
The offense will be without Pro Bowl receiver and former number one wideout, Brandon Marshall, which will only cause defenses to key more on Bush. Now there will be at least one spy on Bush on every single play, making it nearly impossible for him to escape the backfield untouched. Bush has never faired well when there has been a spy on him, because he is simply too small to be able to get around any sort of blocking.
Bush has also been plagued with injuries throughout his entire NFL career. He has missed a staggering 21 games in his last five seasons and has not played an entire 16-game season since his limited rookie campaign in 2006. Injuries can ruin a fantasy season, so why draft a guy that will automatically miss time in 2012. Bush is an electric fantasy player when healthy, but the likelihood of him going down every season causes his fantasy value to slip.
Bush also averaged a career-low 2.8 receptions per game last year, as opposed to the overwhelming 4.9 receptions he has averaged throughout the rest of his career. His 216 carries out of the backfield was a career high, but it is safe to say that the increased workload running the ball had an obvious correlation to his amount of touches in the air. Bush may have an increased role in the running game now, but it will hinder his fantasy value as an elite receiving back, which can be inexcusable in Point Per Reception (P.P.R.) leagues.
Lastly, the Dolphins still have running back Daniel Thomas on their roster to take carries away from Bush. Thomas is much better running the ball between the tackles, so it will only be a matter of time until the 233-pound back from Kansas State overtakes Bush as the every-down back in Miami. Bush may be drafted as a starter this fantasy season, but like always, is better off being drafted as a fantasy football backup.