It took five and a half seasons, two teams, one forfeited Heisman Trophy, and a Kardashian, but Reggie Bush seems to have finally developed into the elite NFL talent he was touted as when he came out of USC.
After an electrifying 172 yards rushing and two touchdowns (plus 25 yards receiving) against the Silver and Black this weekend, Bush is looking like one of the early fantasy steals of this season. Running with authority behind an offensive line anchored by Jake Long, Mike Pouncey, and Chris Farley-lookalike Richie Incognito, the former Saint is currently second in the league in total yards from scrimmage with 312. In standard scoring leagues, he has netted his owners 43.2 points over two games, putting him in fifth place overall.
While this may seem like just a flash in the pan against a weak defense, Bush has been trending on this upswing since last December. Since Week 13 of last season, Bush has amassed 760 yards rushing, 130 yards receiving and four touchdowns (113 fantasy points). The most important statistic, though, is that he is touching the ball an average of 23 times per game over that span. Clearly, Miami is making Bush the centerpiece of its offense, and he is having no trouble repaying them for their trust.
With his next two matchups against the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals, though, Bush may have a couple of slow weeks in store for owners. However, with the amount of faith Miami is putting in him, fantasy owners can do the same.
Speaking of Bush, owners of Chicago running back Michael Bush should be counting their pennies this morning after Matt Forte went down with an ankle injury in Thursday night’s game against the Pack. While there are conflicting reports on the severity of Forte’s injury, Bush at least becomes a quality RB2 start this week against a struggling St. Louis defense. Beware, however, of Bush’s unsexy 3.7 yards per carry up to this point; this could be why the Bears brought Kahlil Bell back for insurance. Still, Bush was already the undisputed goal line back, and with more carries in line for at least the coming week, he is a great commodity in the fantasy world of thin running backs.
Other thoughts from the weekend…
Sell high on RG3. Are you one of the lucky Bob Griff owners who has had the luxury of stashing him on the bench the last two weeks while he racks up points? If so, see what you can get for him in a trade right now, as some QB-needy owners will be clamoring for the rookie phenom. Or, sit on him and let his value fatten up even more. With word that Washington has lost starting outside linebacker Brain Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker for the season, the ‘Skins are going to be in a lot of shootouts, a perfect situation for RG3 to pad his stats.
Don’t worry about DMC. Sure, Darren McFadden had a measly 22 yards yesterday, but Miami has a stout run defense, and the Oakland back is still picking up the club’s new zone blocking scheme. Give him a couple more weeks before you get antsy and try to pawn him off on someone else.
Cut bait on CJ0K. Tennessee running back Chris Johnson appears to be a shell of his former self. With a weak offensive line and a one-dimensional offense relying on a second year QB, Johnson isn’t hitting holes with any authority. Maybe he’ll bounce back, but with less than 100 total yards to his name, now is the time to float him as trade bait to a gullible owner who is still buying him based on name alone.
RB Andre Brown, New York Giants Apparently Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has not forgotten about David Wilson’s Week 1 case of fumbilitis (or his 1:50ish fumble to carry ratio throughout college), because when starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw went down with a neck injury yesterday, it was Brown, not Wilson, who toted the rock. With 71 yards and a touchdown in New York’s come from behind victory against the Bucs, the little-known back from North Carolina State looks like the new toy to own in this high-powered offense.
TE Dante Rosario, San Diego Chargers Filling in for the oft-injured Antonio Gates yesterday, it was as if Rosario was wearing number 85, as Phillip Rivers found the journeyman tight end for three – yes, three! – scores. Gates’ health is an annual affair at this point, so stashing Rosario on your bench may prove fruitful.
RB Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams In a league where running backs are often injured or working by committee, finding a diamond in the rough is like, well, finding a diamond in the rough. St. Louis’ Richardson may be the back we’re hoping for. After Steven Jackson left yesterday’s game with a groin injury, Richardson entered and supplied the Rams with 102 total yards, making him worth a waiver flier until Jackson’s health status is fully determined.
WR Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals Someone has to be open when Larry Fitzgerald is blanketed by defenders, and so far Roberts has been that man. Sure, he was only targeted once by Kevin Kolb yesterday, but look for that relationship to grow as defenses take away Kolb’s safety net and he looks for more red zone options.
WR Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins As much as I hate to give Miami’s tepid offense (aside from Bush) much attention, when you are targeted 12 times and haul in 9 catches for 111 yards from a rookie QB, it is time to take notice.