Reggie Bush: Impact Fantasy Player or Bust?

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IApril 14, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 12:  Reggie Bush #25 of the New Orleans Saints scores a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders on October 12, 2008 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Four years ago at this time, the buzz going into the NFL Draft was whether running back Reggie Bush out of USC was going to be the next big thing in the NFL. He was a star at Southern Cal, a home-run type of running back who had just won the Heisman Trophy.

So, when the Houston Texans chose defensive end Mario Williams out of North Carolina State, everyone in the world thought Houston had lost their mind and the New Orleans Saints had won the lottery.

Analysts tried to compare the situation to Sam Bowie being picked over Michael Jordan. But, has Bush been to the NFL what Jordan was to the NBA?

Obviously, the answer is no, Bush is not Jordan, but just three years into his pro career, it's hard to really analyze if Reggie Bush is a hit or a miss as there is a lot of games left for the back to play.

However, in the world of fantasy football, a world that centers around the notion of "what have you done for me lately," it's a bit easier to critique Bush.

When Bush was drafted, almost every fantasy league probably had a guy who was so excited about his talents that they drafted him way too high.

While those owners may not have gotten the right value for Bush due to the early selection, they did get a strong rookie campaign out of the back as he recorded 1,307 total yards and eight touchdowns.

Those numbers only continued to increase the hype around the back. However, injuries have plagued Bush through his last two seasons and his recent numbers reflect that, as he has not gotten over 1,000 total yards in a season since his rookie year, leaving some owners sour over the back's potential.

The biggest problem with Reggie Bush is he doesn’t have enough bulk to run in between the tackles, which means he will never be a feature running back in the NFL.

Since he can never be that feature running back everyone covets in fantasy football, especially with running back by committee situations popping up everywhere, he won’t be an impact player in standard scoring leagues. 

Now, if your league rewards point per receptions (PPR), Bush has shown he can be a great No. 2 running back as long as he stays healthy, moving him slightly closer to impact player status.

In only 10 games last year, he recorded 52 catches and has over 200 catches in a three-year span. With Drew Brees running the Saints offense, you know Bush will get a lot of touches out of the backfield.    

Looking ahead to this season, it appears to be more of the same. Bush will more than likely not be the Saints' feature back, even with Deuce McAllister being shown the door.

That role will fall to Pierre Thomas, who will be the starter getting the bulk of the carries. And, don’t rule out the possibility of the Saints drafting a running back either.

They need a tough inside runner for the long run and Chris “Beanie” Wells fits that mold. If the Saints draft a running back, or even if they don’t, in non PPR leagues Bush has to be considered a No. 3 or 4 running back.

If you get PPR, then I still see Bush as only a No. 2 or 3 back. He will still get his touches in Sean Payton’s offense, thanks to his speed and ability to catch the ball, but those touches just won't be enough to make him a RB1.

Undoubtedly, owners will find Bush's price tag to be a bit cheaper than in previous years. However, that is because he has demonstrated that the hype initially surrounding him was over done.

The lower price though, means he's worth a gamble in PPR leagues. However, we still advise staying away in standard scoring leagues. 

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