Signing with the Detroit Lions kept Reggie Bush in the good graces of fantasy football owners in 2013, as he topped 200 carries for third straight season, rushed for over 1,000 yards for the second time in his career and had more than 50 receptions (54) for the first time since 2008. Bush has now finished as a top-15 fantasy running back in each of the last three years as well, and he will maintain a prominent role in Detroit’s offense this year.
Bush has some familiarity with Lions’ offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who was on the New Orleans Saints’ offensive staff from 2007-2010 when Bush played for the Saints. A similar offensive system to what the Saints run should be coming to Detroit, which means Bush and Joique Bell will both see plenty of playing time and touches with Theo Riddick also possibly in the mix.
Bell only had double-digit carries in five games last season, and he is virtually certain to see a lot more carries this year. Bell also inexplicably had fewer carries in the red zone than Bush last year (24 vs. 30), including nearly the same amount inside the 10-yard line (11 for Bell; 10 for Bush). I expect that balance to shift dramatically toward Bell this year when the Lions approach scoring territory.
It’s worth noting that Bush is 29 years old with a significant injury history prior to 2011, so a decline may be in store this year even in a best-case scenario. Bush’s role could be predominantly on passing downs, similar to how Darren Sproles was used by the Saints in recent years, which gives him nice (if inconsistent) potential in PPR leagues. But for where Bush is being drafted, as a RB2 in the third round, I want more than a potential Sproles clone that is not necessarily a reliable every-week starter if that role materializes.