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In Part 1 of this series, I suggested that Reggie Bush would be a solid substitute for LeSean McCoy in 2013 (in part because of his lower ADP), and I also said that I wouldn’t be surprised if some people considered Reggie Bush, by the end of 2013, to be the season’s fantasy MVP. Additionally, I looked at RotoViz’s Similarity Scores App (one of the premier fantasy tools on the internet) to see how players comparable to McCoy and Bush had performed in the past.

In Part 2, I looked at RotoViz’s multi-year dynasty projections for RBs, noting that (based on these projections) Bush may be the better player not only in 2013 but in 2014-2018 as well. Furthermore, I considered McCoy and Bush’s 2011 and 2012 performances and suggested that, with his superior per touch efficiency, Bush could likely earn a few more touches in Detroit’s explosive offense without seeing his efficiency decrease dramatically. In particular, I think this is so because of some of the RBs we’ve seen in Detroit the last few years.

In this piece, I want to look at Detroit’s RBs of the last few years (specifically 2012) to gain some insight into what Bush could do in 2013.

Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell, 2012

While LeSean McCoy probably doesn’t have the ability to accumulate many more touches per game in 2013 (can Shady handle more than 21 touches on a weekly basis?), especially since 1) his reception total might decrease in Chip Kelly’s system and 2) Bryce Brown might steal some of his carries and goal-line opportunities, I believe that Reggie Bush (comparatively) has room for his weekly touches to grow.

Here are three tables showing what the Lions non-FB RBs have done since 2010.

2010 Lions non-FB RBs

Rushing

Receiving

Name

Att

Yds

TD

Y/A

Rec

Yds

Y/R

TD

Jahvid Best

171

555

4

3.2

58

487

8.4

2

Maurice Morris

90

336

5

3.7

25

170

6.8

0

Kevin Smith

34

133

0

3.9

11

123

11.2

0

Aaron Brown

17

58

0

3.4

8

45

5.6

0

Totals

312

1082

9

3.55

102

825

8

2

Per Game Avg

19.5

67.625

0.5625

3.55

6.375

51.5625

8

0.125

Partially Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/28/2013.

2011 Lions non-FB RBs

Rushing

Receiving

Name

Att

Yds

TD

Y/A

Rec

Yds

Y/R

TD

Jahvid Best

84

390

2

4.6

27

287

10.6

1

Maurice Morris

80

316

1

4

26

230

8.8

1

Kevin Smith

72

356

4

4.9

22

179

8.1

3

Keiland Williams

58

195

2

3.4

8

62

7.8

0

Jerome Harrison

14

41

0

2.9

1

3

3

0

Aaron Brown

1

0

0

0

1

9

9

0

Totals

309

1298

9

3.3

85

770

7.883333

5

Per Game Avg

19.3125

81.125

0.5625

3.3

5.3125

48.125

7.883333

0.3125

Partially Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/28/2013.

2012 Lions non-FB RBs

Rushing

Receiving

Name

Att

Yds

TD

Y/A

Rec

Yds

Y/R

TD

Mikel Leshoure

215

798

9

3.7

34

214

6.3

0

Joique Bell

82

414

3

5

52

485

9.3

0

Kevin Smith

37

134

1

3.6

10

79

7.9

1

Keiland Williams

2

3

0

1.5

2

9

4.5

0

Totals

336

1349

13

3.45

98

787

7

1

Per Game Avg

21

84.3125

0.8125

3.45

6.125

49.1875

7

0.0625

Partially Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/28/2013.

Based on the Lions offense of the past three years, about 20 rushes and 6 receptions are available for all of the RBs. Even if Bush lost a couple of rushes each game in 2013, he could easily gain a couple of receptions per game—and those touches are worth more not only in PPR leagues but in all leagues, since more yardage is gained per touch. Additionally, after seeing Mikel LeShoure in “action” last year (3.7 ypc in 2012), I expect to see him lose many first- and second-down touches to Bush and perhaps even Joique Bell (5.0 ypc in 2012), who in turn could also lose many third-down touches to Bush.

Here’s a way of looking at Reggie Bush’s potential in 2013. During the last two years, Bush has managed 216 and 227 carries. In 2012, Mikel LeShoure as Detroit’s lead rusher amassed 215 carries in 14 games. Additionally, Bush has managed rushing 6 TDs per year each of the last two seasons, and in 2012 LeShoure rushed for 9 scores. I think we can say that Bush has a legitimate shot of accruing 215 carries and 6 TDs in 2013. Furthermore, Bush averaged 4.9 receptions per game (almost 60 per season, including games missed) in his first five years in the league, during which he was blessed to play in a passing-centered offense with Drew Brees, and last year he still managed 35 receptions. Meanwhile, the sluggish LeShoure almost matched Bush in 2012 with 34 receptions, and he was largely outplayed as a receiver by Joique Bell, who despite not starting a single game snared 52 receptions in a supplementary role. Finally, Bush has averaged 2.1 receiving TDs per year across his career, and the Lions offense has distributed 2.67 TDs per year in the last three seasons to RBs (usually to RBs who are adept receivers). I think we can say that Bush has a legitimate shot of catching 52 passes and 2 receiving TDs in 2013.

In other words, Bush has a chance of capturing in 2013 a significant portion of LeShoure and Bell’s 2012 production. Look at it this way: Last year, Bush had a positional ranking of #14, LeShoure #20, and Bell #29. Bush is coming to Detroit because those guys, though productive, couldn’t do the job in a way that satisfied management, which leads me to believe that Bush has a chance of replacing both guys in their primary capacities (LeShoure as a rusher and Bell as a receiver). If two top-30 RBs cede production to a top-15 guy, how high could that lead RB’s positional ranking ultimately be? Don’t be surprised if Reggie Bush is a top-10 RB in 2013.

Last year Bush averaged 4.3 yards per carry while rushing 227 times, and his career rushing average is also 4.3 ypc. If Bush rushes 215 times with a 4.3 rushing average he will accumulate 925 rushing yards in 2013. If we throw 6 rushing TDs into the mix, that’s 128.5 fantasy pts. from Bush’s rushing production. And what about his receiving production? Last year Bush averaged 8.3 yards per reception. In 2010, Best averaged 8.4 ypr with 58 receptions. In 2011, Detroit’s three best receiving RBs (Best, Morris, and Smith all separately had more than 20 receptions) combined to produce 696 receiving yards on 75 catches for an average of 9.28 ypr. And in 2012, Bell averaged 9.3 ypr with 52 receptions. If Bush catches 52 passes with an 8.3 receiving average he will accrue 432 receiving yards in 2013, and if we add 2 receiving TDs, that’s 55.2 fantasy pts. in standard leagues and 107.2 fantasy pts. in PPR leagues. If you put all of that production together, I think that in 2013 Bush could amass 183.7 pts. in standard leagues and 235 pts. in PPR leagues.

In 2012, those points would’ve made Bush the #12 RB in standard leagues, and he would’ve ranked even higher in PPR leagues. And here are a few things to keep in mind when one looks at how Bush and the Lions RBs have performed across their careers and how Bush could do in 2013: 1) Bush has the ready opportunity to catch more than 52 passes; 2) he could capture more than 6 of Detroit’s 13 rushing TDs; 3) he could rush for more than his career average 4.3 yards per carry; and 4) he could do better than average 8.3 yards per reception. In 2013, Reggie Bush has an abundance of upside.

And what exactly is that upside? I’ll explore that question in Part 4.

 

 

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