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Fallout: Reggie Bush is a Lion

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Over the last two seasons, Reggie Bush proved a point.

He's not just a satellite back, a quick guy around the edge that dates celebrities and looks pretty. The Dolphins asked him to be a feature back, to run between the tackles, to take hits and keep on chugging. Bush passed the test impressively, missing just one game over the last two years while averaging 4.67 yards per carry and scoring 12 touchdowns.

But just because I can take my wife to Broadway shows every weekend doesn't mean that's what I'm on this planet for. And just because Bush proved he can be a "workhorse" kind of back doesn't mean that's what he is best suited for either.

Bush's skill set is ideal for the Lions' offense. In each of the last two years, they have led the entire NFL in pass attempts per game. Last year, the 46.3 chucks a day were a whopping 4.4 more than the second-place Saints. The Lions use the short pass as an extension of the running game.

“Definitely where we are, he definitely would be the missing piece,” guard Rob Sims said Wednesday. “With our aerial attack, and he can catch the ball the way we can out of the backfield and some of the other running game stuff we got in place, I think it’s tailor-made for him.”

Bush might not have the long speed of Jahvid Best, but they're similar players that we can expect to be used similarly. Remember that before Best's ill-fated concussion in Week 6 of the 2011 season, the Lions were 5-0. Best was getting 18.5 total touches and 4.5 catches per game.

As a pass-catching back in the league's most pass-happy offense, Bush is a good bet to push for 75 receptions. He's also been promised the "full-time" job, meaning another 200 totes on the ground. And with the safeties playing in Panama because they're afraid of Calvin Johnson, another year of 4.6 YPC or more wouldn't surprise.

The rest of the fallout:

* Mikel Leshoure bounced back well from his Achilles' tear last season, but still managed just 3.71 yards per carry. He's a short-yardage and goal-line pounder that will only have value as in touchdown-heavy formats.

* Did you know Joique Bell ranked second among running backs last year with 52 catches? Bush will eat up just about all of those, leaving Bell out of the mix.

* Upgrade Matthew Stafford: Look no further for a bounce-back candidate at the ultra-deep quarterback position. Pat Daugherty detailed Stafford here and noted that a playmaker like Bush could go a long way toward keeping the Lions' offense away from predictability. When Best was on the field for those first six games of 2011, Stafford threw 15 touchdowns and four interceptions.

"It's a running back's dream," Bush said during his introductory press conference. "The first thing we talked about, we're watching film, seeing those safeties deep ... it's a running back's dream. We have to be able to run the ball in that situation. That's part of the reason I wanted to come here and be part of a balanced attack and take the pressure off Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford."

* Lamar Miller is this year's sleeper that isn't a sleeper: By the time fantasy drafts roll around in August, even the Buddy Nix of your league is going to know who Lamar Miller is. That doesn't mean he won't be good. The free-spending Dolphins were fine with letting Bush walk because they're confident in Miller's ability to step into a suddenly exciting offense. He was impressive in spot duty last year, breaking off 4.9 yards per carry on 51 totes.

* Downgrade Calvin Johnson slightly: Anything that takes even the slightest bit of attention away from Megatron is a good thing. But if you're expecting him to get 204 targets and 122 catches again, you'll be disappointed. The Lions have to scheme to get some more balance and Bush will help them achieve that.

* Sadly, Jahvid Best is unlikely to ever play again due to his concussion issues.



Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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