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Joique Bell Still Strong Fantasy Option with Reggie Bush's Return

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 08:  Joique Bell #35 of the Detroit Lions scores on a one yard run in the third quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on September 8, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IISeptember 27, 2013

Reggie Bush may be returning to the starting lineup for the Detroit Lions, but Joique Bell is still going to be a valuable running back to have in fantasy football for the rest of the NFL season.

According to Pro Football Talk, Bush was a full participant in practice Friday and is listed as probable to play against the Chicago Bears.

Even with Bush playing, fantasy owners shouldn't worry, because Bell is still going to be involved in the offense and put up his fair share of points this season.

Last week was a good sign that Bell can carry the load if/when Bush is ever injured again and forced to miss time.  He had 63 yards and a touchdown on the ground along with 69 yards and four receptions through the air.  

Reggie Bush's return isn't going to hurt Bell's production that much.
Reggie Bush's return isn't going to hurt Bell's production that much.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With Bush back, it's not like we're going to see Bell disappear.  He played plenty in the first two weeks of the season, putting up some strong fantasy numbers.  In Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings, Bell had two touchdowns and 25 yards on the ground on just six carries.  

We've seen that Bell's role in the offense is continuing to get bigger and bigger as the season progresses.  According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Bell was in on 34 percent of snaps in Week 1, then 60 and 79 percent of snaps in Week 2 and 3.  The majority of that has to do with Bush's injury, sure, but his continued productivity means that he has a shot to find the field on around 45 to 55 percent of snaps this week.

Much like Bush, Bell brings an added dimension to the running back position by being an excellent receiver, and we've seen that already through just three games.

Along with the solid rushing numbers, Bell has been able to put up an extra 16 points in standard scoring leagues in three games thanks to his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.  If you're in a points-per-reception league, that's also 14 extra points on receptions alone.

Above all else, Bell is a valuable fantasy option because of his carries in the red zone.

While Bush does a great job of making plays in open space and racking up the yards, the Lions like to use Bell closer to the end zone to get those tough yards.  This means that Bell is always a threat to go in there and pick up an easy six points, much like he did in Week 1.

For those who are fans of The League, Bell is "vulturing" Bush's red-zone carries.

At the end of the day, Bell is going to continue to get red-zone touches and make plays in both the running and passing game.  Even with Bush back, you should still keep "Joy-Kay" Bell on your team, and you should definitely have him as a flex option or even an RB2 in deeper leagues.

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