That sound you heard at halftime of the Saints game on Sunday came from Reggie Bush fantasy owners. Bush had completed what was a solid first half, putting up 55 yards on the ground. The problem came on a final punt return to close out the second quarter. Bush tore the meniscus in his right knee, and will be out for about a month.
The Saints have already reported that Bush will not travel with the team to London for their game against San Diego. Others have noted Bush will visit Dr. Andrews and have arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus as soon as today.
Regardless, this injury has fantasy impact on several levels.
Q: How do I replace Bush?
A: Unfortunately, you'll struggle. Bush is a dynamic offensive threat that has been among the top ten players through seven weeks of the season. His production is going to be nearly impossible to duplicate. That said, many teams drafted Bush as an RB2, and are getting the benefit of his putting up numbers better than that.
If you look at it from that perspective, there are options. First and foremost, his handcuff, Deuce McAllister, is only 73 percent owned. He should be the first option. There is no doubt that, initially, McAllister's work load will increase because of his new-found primary back position. Deuce has the ability to put up RB2-type numbers, and has shown that in the past.
The second option is out of the Le'Ron McClain-Tim Hightower mold. Early in the season, we saw Pierre Thomas pilfering goal line touchdowns away from Bush. Thomas is available in almost all formats. In touchdown-heavy leagues, Thomas' value could be greater than McAllister's in the long run. If Deuce is already owned in your league, look his direction.
Need other running backs? Look to Hightower, Warrick Dunn, Cedric Benson, Sammy Morris, and Kevin Faulk initially. Morris and Faulk will be handling the Patriots' duties as long as Maroney is having issues. Benson got the start this weekend, and looked solid in his limited carries. Given the Bengals' quarterback situation, there will be a lot of running in Cincinnati.
Hightower is a touchdown-heavy guy, but he's slowly taking away James' carries in Arizona. Dunn is in an all-out timeshare with Graham in Tampa, but is getting enough carries to be a viable option for fantasy owners.
For teams that have the ability to use Bush as a flex option, there are many good receivers still getting looks that are available on waivers.
In recent weeks, we've seen Donnie Avery emerge. There are also players such as Greg Camarillo, Antwaan Randle El, Anthony Gonzalez, Kevin Walter, and Patrick Crayton available in many leagues.
Whatever you do, do not drop Bush. He'll be back and healthy in time for the playoffs. He'll be around to help you then. Make the move elsewhere as your team needs dictate.