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Sep 29, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) receives congratulations from wide receiver Ryan Broyles (84) and running back Joique Bell (35) after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: Detroit Lions RB Rundown

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The Lions offense is known as a pass-first scheme, but they actually gave fantasy football owners a pair of relevant running backs last season along with the Stafford-Megatron connection. This season, the Lions backfield again appears primed to contribute two backs to most fantasy leagues which does limit the upside of both even though both do retain some significant value if utilized correctly.

The key with the Lions running backs is understanding your league’s scoring system and making sure that you understand what you are drafting and adjusting your expectations.  Owning either Reggie Bush or Joique Bell will be a frustrating experience if you expect them to be the every-down workhorse back for Detroit.

How should you look at them and where should you target them? Here’s my answers to those questions in our Detroit Lions RB Rundown. The rankings listed are from my top 80 RB which came out last week and which will be updated later this week.


Reggie Bush

RB, Detroit Lions

Regardless of scoring, Bush is best utilized as a RB2 since his production can vary from week-to-week.  Last season, Bush contributed over 1,500 total yards in just 14 games for Detroit while finding the end zone seven times. Averaging over 100 yards total per game makes him a pretty solid RB2 despite his lack of goal line work.  Bush will probably get fewer carries this season as the Lions try to keep him healthy for the whole season by limiting his inside running. In PPR leagues, Bush is a higher-end RB2 since he does catch so many passes (54 in 14 games last season).  Counting on Bush as your top back regardless of format is a risky proposition since his touchdowns are sporadic and his injury history is well-documented.  The important thing with drafting Bush is knowing what you’re getting and planning the rest of your roster to counteract his weaknesses.

Joique Bell

RB, Detroit Lions

As you can tell from his ranking, Bell isn’t that far behind Bush in terms of fantasy value.  Bell won’t be quite as involved in the passing game and doesn’t have the big-play potential of Bush, but don’t dismiss him as simply a plodding, goal line option.  Bell should get a good number of catches out of the backfield compared to most timeshare backs, and many are suggesting he could lead the Lions in carries this season.  Bell is a very nice RB3 or flex pick and could be a top-ten back in some weeks if Bush is sidelined again with an injury.  I’m high on both Bell and Bush since I think both have fantasy usefulness and can be deployed with confidence in new Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi’s backfield.  There’s been some rumors out of camp that both Bell and Bush will be on the field more together as well which should only increase the Lions’ weapons and boost their fantasy value.

Theo Riddick

RB, Detroit Lions

The third back in Detroit is second-year player Theo Riddick who has gotten some buzz this preseason as a slot option for the Lions in a Darren Sproles like role.  Since he has also dealt with an injury during camp, it’s probably best to wait and see if Riddick can carve out that roll for himself before rostering him, but he definitely deserves watching in PPR leagues as the season gets underway.

This post is part of a series detailing the backfield situation for each NFL team from a fantasy football perspective. Check out my top 80 rankings and click here for the full series.

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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football Detroit Lions Fantasy Football Preview Fantasy Football RB Joique Bell RB Rankings RB Rundown Reggie Bush Theo Riddick

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