Breakout or Bust: Could Joique Bell Prove To Be More Than Just A FLEX Option In 2014?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Everyone expected Reggie Bush to play a big role in his first season in Detroit, which he did, with 1,512 total yards and 7 TD. What people didn’t expect was for Joique Bell to also play a major role in the offense

Not only did he get 166 carries (which he took for 650 yards and 8 TD and was the bigger surprise), but he also reinforced that he is a valuable option catching the football. Targeted 68 times, Bell reeled in 53 catches for 547 yards which gives him 102 catches over the past two seasons.

Considering the injury history of Bush, who has played all 16 games once since his rookie season in 2006, would it really be a surprise to see Bell emerge as the better RB in Detroit?

Before we get too excited, there are a few things that are worth noting, especially in the yards per carry department. After averaging 5.0 YPC in 2012, the number fell to just 3.9 last season. That placed him 30th in the league, hardly an impressive mark.  The number was even worse in the two games he started, averaging 3.4 YPC (4.2 when coming off the bench). Just to paint the picture a little bit more:

  • Attempts 1-10 of a game: 4.3 (124 carries)
  • Attempts 11-20 of a game: 2.9 (39 carries)
  • Attempts 21+ of a game: 1.0 (3 carries)

In 2012 he rarely carried the ball more than 10 times in a game (only 5 carries registered in the attempts 11-20 of a game), so while he averaged 6.4 YPC it’s simply too small of a sample size. What we can say is that in attempts 11+ in a game over the past two seasons he’s never broken a run of more than 11 yards.

So, is it truly that he’s better suited as a PPR option and change-of-pace back? That does appear to be the case, on the surface. Recently, however, there has been some new information to come out.

Bell has not participated in any of the offseason OTAs or minicamps, to date, as he apparently is still feeling the effects of a knee injury sustained last season. Recently quoted by Michael Rothstein of ESPN (click here for the article) Bell said:

“Just (a) nagging injury,” Bell said. “Something just nagging, nothing that will prevent me (from playing). I had it all last season, so you guys didn’t even really notice. But it’s something we just trying to get rid of before next season. So it’s just being smart.

“I could practice right now if they really wanted me to, but it’s up to them when they want to put me back in.”

It’s possible that the injury helped limit his production, though the fact that it’s still an issue is also a concern. At this point we would consider Bell a definite handcuff for Bush and a viable FLEX option in PPR formats. His struggles with the more carries he gets is a bit of a concern, however, and it does limit his potential appeal.

Source – ESPN

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  1. Andy says:

    If you can only choose one of them Bush or Bell in draft day, who will you choose?
    I have not seen your RB ranking this season yet, can you tell me R Bush, CY2K and T Richardson, who should i pick?in order good to ok.
    Thanks for your advice,

  2. Scott says:

    I’m not from this site, But I do Fantasy. With that being said…

    Personally, I would draft them in this order:

    1. Reggie Bush

    2. Trent Richardson

    3. Chris Johnson

    and would obviously draft Reggie Bush over J. Bell…. But if you could grab Reggie Bush AND J. Bell, you would be in good shape!

  3. As Scott said, I’d go Bush first but ideally would own both. As for the order of the three you posted, I’d go:


    Richardson is the younger back, so if it’s a keeper league he would leapfrog Johnson, but I’m having a hard time trusting him at this point,

  4. jay dee miller says:

    I really like that you ranked Bush inside your top 10. And in the ppr format once the season starts you see just how valuable reggie becomes. Frankly you could rank Bush as high as 5th after charles, mccoy, forte and peterson, Bush is just that good in ppr.

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