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Dynasty Dilemma: Reggie Bush

During our recent series of “Dynasty Dilemmas,” we’ve focused on two players in Mike Williams and Jonathan Stewart who either had disappointing seasons or circumstances arise in the offseason that have raised some element of doubt in regards to their future value in dynasty leagues.  We turn our attention to a different kind of dilemma today – one that takes a look at a player who had everything go right for him last year and as a result, posted the best year of his career.

Hello Reggie Bush!

Bush was a sensation at USC and was widely regarded as the best running back prospect to come out in decades. After all, in his two years as a Trojan, he recorded 343 carries for 2,648 yards (yes, that’s an average of almost 8 yards per carry), 80 receptions for another 987 yards and scored a total of 31 touchdowns.  Again, in TWO years.  Add on his special teams contribution and you had a Heisman trophy winner if you ever saw one.

It seems like so long ago, but this was Reggie Bush in his heyday at USC:

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It seemed that it was a foregone conclusion that the Texans were going to take Bush with the #1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, but they chose to take Mario Williams instead. That left the City of New Orleans jumping for joy as Bush fell to them with the second pick. The pick of Williams by the Texans came a lot of criticism early on because they were seemingly passing on a once in a generation running back. However, we’d soon see the Texans really did know what they were doing.

Bush’s early career with New Orleans was very hit and miss, making the Texans look like geniuses as Williams developed into a major force. In his rookie season, Bush posted 565 rushing yards on 155 carries (a disappointing 3.6 yards per carry average) and scored six touchdowns. He also raised a lot of eyebrows as it seemed he lacked the confidence to run up the middle. His saving grace was his ability in the passing game – he caught 88 passes for 742 yards and scored two more touchdowns. Unfortunately, that reception total he posted as a rookie remains his career best.

The next four years were filled with flashes of great ability and multiple injuries as he continued to develop into what no dynasty owner had planned on – he was simply mediocre. He hit rock bottom in 2010 when he had just 150 rushing yards and 208 receiving yards in eight games before getting hurt yet again.

After the Saints drafted Mark Ingram last season, Bush became very expendable. After all, the Saints had their eyes on Darren Sproles and really no longer needed his services. On July 29th, Bush was traded to the Miami Dolphins and again, his owners hoped to see something great from him.

Surprisingly, he delivered this time.

Bush was a monster last season in Miami, racking up his first 1,000 yard season as he posted 1,086 yards on 216 carries – good for five yards per carry. In addition, he tied his career high with six rushing touchdowns and added 43 catches for another 296 yards and one touchdown in a total of 15 games.

What’s even more impressive about Reggie’s breakout campaign has to be his final four games. After being truly given the ability to be a featured back in the league, he was able to record an amazing 519 rushing yards, 59 receiving yards and score two more touchdowns all in the span of about a month. His rushing average skyrocketed to 6.3 – an insane number for a running back over that long of a stretch. To make it even more amazing, Bush started hitting holes in the middle with authority.

So, now what?

With Bush, there is no doubt a dynasty dilemma on our hands. Was it a fluke?  A mirage? An evil tease? What happens next year? Let’s take a look at two schools of thought.

First, you have to look at the negative side of this.

Bush was granted his opportunity because of an injury to young rookie Daniel Thomas. Now, there’s no doubt Thomas wasn’t good for the first part of the season, but he really began to progress last year as the season went on. Thomas is going to be fully healthy going into next year and figures to take some of the carries away from Bush.

The coaching staff is also brand new. While there’s little doubt they see the potential in Bush, it’s nearly impossible to say definitively how much they’re going to be willing to use him. Can he really be counted on as a featured back with his history of injuries? They have to be asking themselves that very question.

The Dolphins also failed to land any significant free agents and actually sent their best offensive weapon in the form of Brandon Marshall to Chicago. Defenses are likely going to stack the box against Bush or Thomas, knowing the threat of the pass has diminished greatly.

You also have to factor in Bush’s checkered history. We’ve seen flashes like this before (though not for this extended period of time), then found ourselves very disappointed in what happens next. Will he stay healthy? Can he do it again? Will Daniel Thomas take away a lot of his value? These are all relevant questions when you consider his value.

Next, you simply can’t deny the positives.

Bush seemed to finally “get it” last year. He’ll never be a fantastic between the tackles runner, but he at least seemed willing to do it last year and it produced great results. He showed improved confidence and was durable enough to withstand handling 250 touches with relative ease (though he did have a minor knee injury that kept him out of the last week). He worked hard in the offseason and finally saw it pay off.

When you take a look at the last month of the season, Bush was a RB1 in most leagues. In fact, you can make a case that he was the RB2 of the year based on his production in relation to his average draft position.

While the Dolphins didn’t land anyone else in free agency, you could make the case that it makes Bush even that much more important to their team.  As the only truly dynamic weapon on offense, the new coaching staff would be foolish not to use him in as many ways possible.

Bush may seem older, but he’s still just 27 as well. The light bulb for a running back rarely just flips on at this age, but he could have 4-5 really good seasons left in him. They could be in Miami or elsewhere, but a player with his talent would have no problem finding himself a home in the future if he keeps this level of production going.

If I’m in a dynasty league, it’s pretty simple.  I’m looking to trade Bush for a player of near equal value at the moment who carries less risk. If I can find a top 25 running back who has youth and upside going for him, I’d consider it.

However, Bush’s breakout season can’t just be discounted, as it seems to be by many dynasty league owners. If you’re trying to “sell high” right now, just make sure you’re getting something useful in return. If you feel like you just need to give him away and get something for him, it could likely be a mistake. Besides, owners in your league will catch on to that and they’ll be like sharks in the water. If I can’t find a deal that works, I’m going to have some guts and hold on to him, hoping his value spikes up even further.  After all, that’s not out of the realm of possibility, either.

I like Bush as an RB3 next year, with the upside for much, much more. Could he break your heart? Absolutlely.  In fact, it might be likely based on his past history. In the end, you just have to ask yourself if he could he be a big contributor to you winning your league? He might just do that, too.

The Reggie Bush dynasty dilemma is one that’s very complicated and mysterious – that’s what makes it so fun.

So, do you have some guts?

Ken Kelly
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BB Wayne
10 years ago

Someone dropped him in our league last year right before his second half breakout. To say the least, the sharks were circling right when waivers opened. Missed him by seconds! The key with Bush this year is will he be a willing pass protector? Dolphins got worse and Ds will stack the box. Whoever the new QB will play humpty dumpty with quick drops and short routes. I see Bush with less rushing yards and more receiving yards. Could be a PPR monster out of RB position.

Mike
10 years ago

I have Bush as my RB4 in a 16 team PPR/IDP dynasty league (Matthews, Forte, and Sproles in front of him).

I also have Isaac Redman, Evan Royster, Mikel Leshoure, and Shane Vereen for bench depth.

I’d like to move Bush for a pick this year…what is a realistic pick to get for him in return?

I tried for 1.04 and got turned down.

DLF_KenK
Reply to  Mike
10 years ago

That’s a tough call depending on your league format. However, he went right in between the 1.06 and 1.07 in the recent IDP Draft we’ve highlighted on the site – that seems about right.

I’m not so sure you have a RB4 to replace him or your roster, though. There’s no assurance you’ll get that in the draft.

StevieMo
10 years ago

I think he had a career year and for the most part will be mediocre and prone to injury, particularly on the Dolphins. He’s a RB4 at best, in my view.

Josh G
10 years ago

Insanely difficult to rank and predict.

Miserable and disappointing his entire career until this past season. Yet Daniel Thomas was out much of the season as well. Now they have Thomas back, but Brandon Marshall is gone.

I just dont like the question marks, and would try to stay away.

Coach
10 years ago

I have no interest in acquiring him. He was good last year but i just don’t think it is sustainable.

10 years ago

I sold Reggie for a 2013 1st, 2013 2nd, and Brandon Marshall in a QB, RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex PPR league… I have booku depth at RB so I figured this was a move I could make especially sending him to an inner division rival.

Sensei_John_Kreese
Reply to  @chriscrane27
10 years ago

Do you play with 8 year olds?

Boomer
Reply to  Sensei_John_Kreese
10 years ago

I would have taken a 2013 1st alone. You look at a ceiling-floor comparison give me the draft pick. At least there’s a chance the pick can be a sustainable starter. Unless you’re playing full PPR Bush is flex quality and as much as most of us dislike Daniel Thomas, he will get better and eat some of Bush’s numbers.

Warren
Reply to  @chriscrane27
10 years ago

At gunpoint? That’s armed robbery.

Matt
Reply to  @chriscrane27
10 years ago

No way that trade should have been allowed.

10 years ago

Also its funny how y’all have highlighted ALL my players in one particular league: Stew (2nd overall pick), Bush (6th overall), Tampa Mike (8th overall)… Stew and Mike are still Skeezer Pleezers unlike Mr. Bush

StevieMo
10 years ago

I think there are certain players who will have an odd good year, but the health of a great dynasty team is predicated on taking measurable risks as opposed to huge flyers on guys who might have one good season out of five. It’s OK if you pass on him and he does well for another guy, but the science is not to roll the dice hugely if you can get a guy much more likely to do it year after year. It’s what separates great teams from mediocre teams.

Cyrus
Reply to  StevieMo
10 years ago

Agreed completely, but if he can be had for cheap, I would welcome that upside.

I got him for very little a year ago in a dynasty and am thrilled to have him. I know several owners will trade him to get someone younger or more consistent– I plan on targeting him if I can get him for the right price.

I won’t give up a RB I know is top 24, but the question becomes who do we know is top 24? I have Mendy too– is he good or bad? There are around 10 clearcut RB’s everyone wants and then it gets muddy fast.

Greg G.
10 years ago

Great point, I also prefer to acquire players who demonstrate consistency. It takes a while for me to be completely sold on a guy. When it comes to rookies, I typically look for guys with good character, excellent work ethic, and opportunity. If I hear coaches and teammates talking a kid up, I take notice. I also look for end of the year trends to get a jump on the next year. Titus Young is a player im high on. Stafford really started to target him late in the year and the coaches want to get him more involved (possibly kickoffs as well). It’s not like he wasn’t already seeing an increase in targets. Stafford likes him, he plays opposite Megatron in a pass happy offense, and has a chance to do some great things. He had a solid year despite missing camp due to injury and lockout. Imagine what he will do next year with the experience and offseason working with the Staff-Infection!!!! (sic)

StevieMo
Reply to  Greg G.
10 years ago

Young looked great last 6 games.

Jake
10 years ago

I traded him mid-season for what is now the #6 OVR pick, Reggie Wayne, and CJ Spiller.

I’m liking the deal!

Sensei_John_Kreese
Reply to  Jake
10 years ago

And given the evident stupidity of your league mates, i’d say that there’s a real good chance you’ll land Trent Richardson at 6.

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