2013 Fantasy Football Profile and Projection: Lions RB Reggie Bush
Before signing with the Dolphins in 2011, one of the biggest knocks on Bush was his durability.
From 2007 to 2011, Bush played in a total of only 44 games. Not only did he miss 20 games during that four-year stretch, he never played more than 14 games in any of those seasons.
With the Dolphins, however, Bush has been durable as he missed only one game in two seasons. For the first time since his rookie season (2006), Bush played a full 16-game season last year.
In addition to his better health, Bush demonstrated an improved ability to run in between the tackles during his stint with the Dolphins.
Over the past two seasons, he recorded his first-ever 1,000-yard season and carried the ball a total of 443 times for 2,072 yards and 12 touchdowns. Bush averaged 4.68 yards per carry as the Dolphins' featured back.
As improved as he was running the ball, the Dolphins underutilized Bush as a receiver.
Except for 34 receptions when he played a career-low eight games in 2010, Bush had the two lowest reception totals of his career with the Dolphins. In fact, his 78 receptions in the past two seasons were less than his output with the Saints as a rookie (88).
While he may not have 88 receptions this year, coach Jim Schwartz said (via Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com) that "Bush could potentially catch 60-70-80 passes" in 2013.
No team throws the ball as much as the Lions.
In fact, Matthew Stafford set the NFL single-season record for most pass attempts (727) last year. With defenses focusing on slowing down Calvin Johnson, Bush should be the recipient of many check downs. Last year, the team's backs combined for a total of 144 targets.
Although Mikel Leshoure will be in the mix for carries especially near the goal line, I would expect Bush to lead the team in carries and come relatively close to the 200 carries he has reached in each of the past two seasons.
One of my concerns is that Bush may be used as the team's punt returner. If so, there would be greater exposure to injury and in turn less of a chance that he plays in 16 games in consecutive seasons for the first time in his career.
Provided he stays healthy for another full season, however, Bush has the potential to be a low-end RB1 in point-per-reception (PPR) formats.
Fantasy Strength of Schedule
Based on the cumulative fantasy points allowed by their opponents from Week 1 to 16, Bush and his fellow Lions' running backs have the league's fourth-most difficult schedule in both standard-scoring and PPR leagues.
Projection: (Rushing) 185 Att., 842 Yards, Four TDs; (Receiving) 75 Receptions, 563 Yards, Three TDs