Detroit Lion fans and Fantasy owners around the world sat up and took notice when Reggie Bush landed with the Detroit Lions this offseason. An already high-powered Detroit offense now has one of the most explosive and dynamic players in the game in its backfield.
Naturally, our initial inclination is to assume Bush will pile up all sorts of yard and fantasy points. After we step back and clear our heads, however, you’ll see that Bush to Detroit is much bigger for the Lions than for his fantasy value.
First and foremost, you have to understand that the presence of Mikel Leshoure in Detroit’s backfield is going to limit Bush’s touches. Leshoure will likely get most carries in short-yardage situations. I also wouldn’t expect Bush to carry the ball too often on first down. I would say eight carries a game is an accurate prediction of what Bush will contribute to Detroit’s running game.
His real value will come in the passing game. I expect Bush to either be in the slot or the backfield every time Detroit lines up in the shotgun. I’d also expect him on the field during 2/3 of Detroit’s snaps. He’ll play the role of both security net and decoy in Detroit’s offense, while having some plays specifically designed for him.
To get a better understanding of what Bush will bring to Detroit’s offense, I’d suggest looking at Jahvid Best’s stats from 2010. That year, Best had 555 yards and four touchdowns on the ground while piling up 487 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
I think Bush is a better rusher, especially between the tackles than Best. I just don’t know that he’ll put up the same number of carries as Best did in 2010. That said, I would not put 4.5 yards per carry out of the question, which if you multiply that by the eight carries a game I predict Bush will get leaves him with 576 yards. Because of Leshoure’s goal-line prowess, I would not expect Bush to score more than 4 touchdowns on the ground.
In terms of being a receiving threat, the lack of a healthy and consistent No. 3 receiver in Detroit’s offense bodes well for Bush’s production. I think 60 receptions at an average of nine yards per catch is a reasonable projection for 2013, yielding 540 yards. Because of what Bush can do in space, I think he’ll find the endzone on at least six of those receptions.
Nobody can predict health, but barring injury, my final stat line for Reggie Bush during the 2013 NFL season is as follows: 128 carries for 576 yard and 4 TDs; 60 receptions for 540 yards and 6 TDS.
For fantasy owners, this means a solid No. 2 running back or flex option on your roster. For Lions fans, it means another prolific offensive threat to help Detroit compete in what is continuing to evolve into the NFL’s most explosive offensive division.
BY J.P. SCOTT ON MAY 28, 2013