"We try and give (the ball) to the guys who are going to do something with it, and I think he's going to be one of those guys who's going to force us to give him the ball more," Caldwell said last week at the NFL owners meetings. "I think you're really going to see him come along."
Caldwell expects Riddick's role to grow next season, though that could depend on what kind of tailback the team adds in April's draft. Riddick is a plus-plus pass catcher out of the backfield, but hasn't shown any kind of chops yet on the ground -- yet.
"He has all the qualities. Here's the thing -- if you're smart, if you're tough, if you're disciplined, if you have a great work ethic, there's improvement ahead. And he has all those things. So I think he's going to improve, and I think he's going to force us to get him the ball a little bit more in some situations."
Reggie Bush’s departure should give Riddick the opportunity to shine as the team's primary passing down back. He averaged 5.0 catches for 53 yards for 13.2 fantasy points in PPR formats in the five games that Bush missed last season. That's about what Fred Jackson averaged as the #17 running back in 2014. If the Lions don't add a running back early in the draft, then Riddick should be a sleeper in PPR formats.
Bush is expected to fill a third-down role since it looks like Carlos Hyde is ready to carry most of the rushing load, though Tomsula's comments indicate that Bush's presence should be a concern for Hyde owners who were excited about the young back's opportunity with Frank Gore gone. The 49ers don't typically use their running backs in the passing game, though longtime OC Greg Roman is gone and new OC Geep Chryst may have a different plan in mind.
After finishing in the top 20 for three straight seasons in PPR points per game (including #6 in 2013), Bush was #32 in that category last season. His departure should solidify Joique Bell's workload and give Theo Riddick the opportunity to shine as the team's primary passing down back. Bell finished #14 in standard formats and #13 in PPR, so he should continue to produce high-end RB2 numbers provided he stays healthy and the Lions don't make any major moves at running back. As for Riddick, he averaged 13.2 fantasy points (in PPR formats) in the five games that Bush missed last season. That's about what Fred Jackson averaged as the #17 running back in 2014.
Lions RB Joique Bell, who underwent minor offseason surgery, said everything was good from a health standpoint and that he’s started working out. He plans to be back for organized team activities (OTAs) in April, but couldn’t commit to being 100 percent for them just yet.
It sounds like he's on a path to a full recovery. Bell was the #17 RB in standard formats (#13 in PPR), while racking up 257 touches in 15 games. That works out to a 17.1-touch average. While he certainly benefited from Reggie Bush's injury-plagued season, Bell dominated the touches even when Bush was active and playing. Bell should continue to see RB1-type touches in 2015, though we'd feel better about his situation if Bush were out of the way. Bush is signed for two more seasons and is a cut candidate heading into the offseason.
Monday, December 22, 2014, 12:29pm
Reggie Bush lives. There had been doubt as to the veracity of that fact, given his inability to stay on the field, and struggles to produce during those brief flashes when he was able to play. During one seven-game stretch, he rushed for 30 yards.
Bush is a supposed deep threat who had as many ankle injuries (three) as 10-yard carries (three) in the first 15 weeks of the season. But the veteran showed some flashes of that old brilliance against Chicago.
That includes bouncing one run to the left and turning on the burners like it was 2005. He beat the Bears to the edge, dove at the pylon and scored on a 13-yard touchdown, the only first-half points for this struggling offense. He showed good vision on other carries, and caught the ball well too, hauling in six catches for 44 yards.
Joique Bell should absolutely remain the Lions' No. 1 option in the backfield, the story went on to say. But of course that's contingent on Bell being eligible to play. He was benched for one quarter Sunday due to a violation of team rules, and Bush provided some important production in his stead, lending more legitimacy to the belief the rushing game is approaching competent levels for Detroit's most important stretch of games in ages.
Sure, Reggie Bush's name is still on top of the team's unofficial depth chart, but Bell plays significantly more snaps and gets significantly more touches than his veteran teammate.
Because of poor offensive execution, the Lions played 27 percent fewer snaps than average in the team's 16-14 win against the Minnesota Vikings. Bell worked two-thirds of the plays. Bush, who continues to deal with nagging injuries played just 14 snaps, while Theo Riddick received the game's first carry, but played just one more rep the rest of the way.
The story points out the Lions are leaning on Bell for good reason. He's been running with authority in recent weeks, averaging better than four yards per carry in five of the past six games. He's also seeing an increase in pass-game production, catching a combined nine balls for 91 yards in wins over Tampa Bay and Minnesota. Bell has a very friendly matchup in Week 16 against the Bears before closing with the Packers in Week 17.
Friday, December 12, 2014, 6:26pm
Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is questionable for Week 15. Bush gained a meager 34 yards on 12 touches in Week 14, but the workload gives him some flex appeal (especially in PPR formats) against a shaky Minnesota rush defense. Joique Bell is expected to carry most of the rushing load against the Vikings. The Lions play late on Sunday.
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 6:32pm
Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. Bush gained a meager 34 yards on 12 touches in Week 14, but the workload gives him some flex appeal (especially in PPR formats) against a shaky Minnesota rush defense.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 6:25pm
Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. Detroit is just letting Bush’s ankle heal. Bush gained a meager 34 yards on 12 touches, but the workload gives him some flex appeal (especially in PPR formats) against a shaky Minnesota rush defense.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 14. Bush is expected back this week. His return pours cold water on Theo Riddick’s fantasy value. Bush will catch a few passes, but he hasn’t carried the ball more than four times since Week 5.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Lions RB Theo Riddick (toe, probable) was limited Friday after taking full reps earlier in the week and is probable for Week 14. Riddick will take a back seat to Reggie Bush, so he isn’t much of a fantasy option this week.
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 5:59pm
Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) took full practice reps again Thursday. Bush is expected back this week. His return pours cold water on Theo Riddick’s fantasy value. Bush will catch a few passes, but he hasn’t carried the ball more than four times since Week 5.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:30pm
Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) practiced fully Wednesday. Bush is expected back this week. His return pours cold water on Theo Riddick’s fantasy value. Bush will catch a few passes, but he hasn’t carried the ball more than four times since Week 5.
With Bush out yet again, Theo Riddick can be dialed up as a Sneaky Start, especially in PPR formats. In the four games that Bush has missed, Riddick has averaged 4.8 catches for 53 yards and 0.5 TD. That’s 13.1 FP in PPR formats, or about what Lamar Miller has averaged as the #12 RB this season. We’re not expecting that level of production, but he can be used as a low-end RB2 or a flex in PPR and as a RB3-type in standard. Joique Bell also gets a bump with Bush out. He has averaged 18.5 touches when Bush has been out. The Lions are not running the ball well, but the volume is there.
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