Not too often does an NFL team have two running backs who have produced top-10 fantasy football numbers like the Detroit Lions have. Running back Reggie Bush has acquired the fourth-most fantasy points for running backs and Joique Bell is not too far behind, slotted as the eighth-best fantasy back. Bush is no doubt a must-start every week for his owners, but what about Bell? Can you really start a backup running back on your fantasy team?
So far through two weeks in the NFL, the answer is yes you can. While the number of touches for Bell is just about half of what Bush has seen, the back has produced some solid fantasy numbers. In Week 1, Bell had only six carries for 25 yards but managed to find the end zone twice. For Week 2, Bell had only two more touches as Bush went down with a knee injury and gained himself 31 yards on the ground.
At first glance, those numbers are what you would expect from a backup running back. Only gaining a few carries whenever the top running back needs a breather, but Bell’s 27 total fantasy points are enough to rank him in the top 10 for running backs so far this season.
The running game for Bell is nothing to get excited about, but his role in the passing game has opened eyes. Through the first two weeks, Bell has 10 grabs for a total of 108 yards and if you’re in a PPR league, the 10 catches only adds to his value. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is constantly passing the ball and even broke the single-season passing attempts record last season. The passing game is a huge part of the Lions’ offense and it’s not going away this season. When Calvin Johnson draws double coverage, the check-down pass to Bell is always open and Staffford isn’t afraid of letting Bell get what he can out of a play.
With Bush’s injury in Week 2, Bell may see some added touches come Week 3. It’s early in the week, but the outlook on Bush’s injury appears to not be too serious. While this may not be what Bell’s owners are looking for, the Lions may limit him on his number of plays throughout the game, opening the door slightly for Bell to succeed.
Whether or not Bush is able to play on Sunday, Bell remains a solid fantasy option as more than likely his workload will increase. He is a backup running back, but one cannot ignore Bell’s top-10 fantasy numbers. There’s absolutely no reason to sit Bell and at worst, he’s a steal at the flex position. Arian Foster is outside the top 10 in fantasy production through two weeks, and you wouldn’t place him on the bench would you?
The Lions go into Washington this week against a struggling Washington Redskins team that ranks 30th in the league in total fantasy points given up to running backs. The Redskins let backup Green Bay Packers running back James Starks run all over them allowing 142 yards and a touchdown. If Starks can do it, the much more talented Bell can have tremendous success against the Redskins. Place Bell into your lineup and watch him pay big-time dividends to your team in Week 3.