Fantasy Football 2014: Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell is a Must-Have Handcuff

By Matt Southall
Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell
Howard Smith- USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell signed a three-year deal worth $9.3 million this offseason, keeping him in the city where he grew up. The move may seem questionable to those with a short memory, but it may very well be the most sensible move the Lions have made this offseason.

Reggie Bush signed a four-year deal with the team in March of 2013, and come fantasy draft day Bell was not in the picture for most fantasy owners eying the Lions’ RBs. Bush lived up to his preseason expectations, totaling 1,512 yards and finishing just outside the top 10 RBs in PPR leagues despite missing two games. Bell, on the other hand, played in all 16 regular season games for the Lions, racked up 1,197 yards from scrimmage and finished as the 17th ranked RB in PPR formats by season’s end.

Both RBs of Detroit’s (suddenly) loaded backfield played significant time in former HC Jim Schwartz’s last season with the team, and they produced almost every week despite QB Matthew Stafford putting the ball in the air almost 40 times per game.

During his time with the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins, Bush was relied upon to be the workhorse running back at one time or another and it simply never panned out. Whether it was the workload or a different set of guys blocking for him, Bush did not live up to his previous coach’s hopes. So why was 2013 Bush’s best season on paper?

The Lions just showed their cards by giving Bell a deal that ends the same year Bush’s contract expires. These two RBs complement each other very well, and the one-two punch they supply is tough to game plan against. Bell gives Bush the in-game rest he needs in order for him to succeed throughout the course of a regular season matchup and the length of an entire grueling NFL season.

Bell is a must-grab if you draft Bush in your PPR drafts in 2014. His production and fantasy contributions are consistent when Bush is healthy, and they’re explosive when Bush is on the bench.

Bell could have a repeat season and end up finishing in the top-20 among RBs in PPR formats, yet he is being drafted as the 25th RB in recent mock drafts. The Lions RB2 has a great draft-day value and will finish higher than many RBs being selected before him.

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