When it comes to rushing the ball, Bush set career highs in carries (216) and rushing yards (1,086) and tied his career high in rushing touchdowns (six). He ranked 11th in the league in rushing and finished with nearly double his previous career high of 585 yards (2007).
In his final four games (Weeks 13 to 16), no running back had more rushing yards than Bush (519), as he reached the 100-yard milestone all four weeks. The only other running backs to finish with at least 400 yards during that stretch were Baltimore's Ray Rice (451), Houston's Arian Foster (419) and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch (412).
If you go back to Bush's first 100-yard game of the year (Week 8), the only running back to have more rushing yards than Bush (854) was Lynch (879). To be fair, some of the other backs near the top of that list, like Foster, had their bye week during that span.
Earlier this offseason, Bush made news with comments that his goal for 2012 is the "rushing title."
“I want the rushing title,” said Bush, according to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “This offseason I’ve been working towards that goal. Just being effective like I was this past season.
“Every time I rush the ball I want four yards,” said Bush. ”I’m keeping my focus simple and small, but at same time helping my team progress.”
Last season, Bush had only 216 carries, which ranked him 17th in the league in that category.
Before his 103-yard performance in Week 8, Bush had no more than 13 carries in any game last season and averaged exactly 10 carries over those six games. In the final nine games, he averaged 17.3 carries per game and had all three of his games with 20-something carries in the final four weeks.
As a receiver, however, he finished with the second-lowest numbers of his career: 43 receptions for 296 yards and a touchdown. On a per-game basis, Bush set a career low in receiving yards per game (19.7). He set career-high numbers in receiving as a rookie with 88 receptions for 742 yards.
Just before the start of free agency in March, the Dolphins traded their leading receiver Brandon Marshall to the Bears. More recently, they released 34-year-old Chad Johnson, who was listed as a starter on the depth chart.
Considering the lack of talent and depth at wide receiver on the Dolphins, however, I expect them to involve their backs, and especially Bush, more often in the passing game this year.
In the past two seasons, the team has drafted running backs Daniel Thomas (Round 2, 2011) and Lamar Miller (Round 4, 2012) and both of those backs have the potential to steal touches from Bush.
With any running back, it is a challenge to stay healthy due to the pounding their body takes on a weekly basis. Last season was only the second time out of six seasons that Bush did not miss at least two games. In his career, he has averaged 12.5 games per season.
(Strength of) Schedule
Based on the cumulative fantasy points allowed to running backs last year by all of the Dolphins' opponents this year, Bush and the Dolphins' RBs have the 12th-most favorable schedule from a fantasy perspective. That said, they have one of three least favorable schedules in the fantasy postseason (Weeks 14-16). They face the 49ers, Jaguars and Bills in Weeks 14, 15 and 16, respectively.
Based on ADP data from Yahoo!, Bush is the 21st running back off the board with an average overall pick of 71.1. Bush is unlikely to win the rushing title, but it seems likely that he'll set new career highs in yards from scrimmage this year if he can stay healthy. As noted above, he has struggled to stay healthy for a full season in the past, but he should be the focal point of the team's offense and have a chance to deliver for owners who draft him as a low-end RB2 or flex.
Bush is 27 years old and has struggled to stay healthy, but he doesn't have a ton of mileage (740 career carries) on the tires. With two other young backs on the roster, Bush is still a low-end RB2, and I like him a little more in redraft leagues. In both redraft and dynasty leagues, Bush is better in a point-per-reception (PPR) format compared to standard-scoring leagues.
Projection: (Rushing) 850 Yards and 4 TDs; (Receiving) 55 Receptions, 455 Yards, 2 TDs
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