Oh hello, and welcome to a morning in which you will discover that hard decisions are hard. The list of questionable players facing game-time decisions is a lengthy one, and we’ll dive further into that shortly when we explore the actives and inactives. But one name is inducing a particularly unique throb in the collective heads of his fantasy owners.
Reggie Bush — or rather, his knee — is your kryptonite today.
This is in many respects a familiar exercise, and one that we went through last week with Brandon Lloyd. And further, one that we’ll deal with nearly ever week from now until time ends, and we all expire.
Player X is hurt, and Player X is is slated to play in a late(er) starting game. You have other options playing in the earlier games who may or may not be quite as appealing, but at least you’re certain that they’ll, you know, play. Annnd scene.
The difference this week, though, is that this morning Bush’s status and the condition of his troublesome knee that he injured last week changed a bit, eroding whatever little confidence the vast population of fantasyland already had in his playing status. Although it was known that he’ll be a game-time decision, there are different levels of concern which apply to that ominous tag. For example, Rob Gronkowski was called a game-time decision, and his odds of not playing equal my odds of flying while cradling Kate Upton, and then landing and beating Usain Bolt in a sprint off.
Bush’s situation is more iffy, even though after he practiced Friday and reports circulated that he’s likely to play, confidence increased. But here comes the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, the killer of nice things:
Pregame before today’s Dolphins game at Arizona will be interesting because the decision whether to play running back Reggie Bush will truly be made then, I’m told by a source.
I expect Bush, the Dolphins leading rusher, will try to be active for the game and in his usual starting role. But one never knows after a cross-country flight and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed how the knee he injured last week against the New York Jets will react. I told you last week Bush would miss one game at worst.
The problem, of course, is that game-time decisions don’t come until game time, as is their nature. For Bush and the Dolphins, game time today as they face off against the Cardinals in Arizona is 4:05 p.m., and although Jason La Canfora sprinkled some more confidence on Bush owners with his report later in the morning, Salguero’s words are still troubling given the late start, and the fact that we won’t hear anything definitive about Bush until around 3 p.m. ET. That’s long after the list of options in the seven early games get locked in on your bench if that’s the risky path you decide to walk.
I’m just not sure that Bush is worth that risk in this matchup, despite his 259 all-purpose yards over his last six quarters of football, and the 6.4 yards per carry he averaged during that time. He’ll be running against a Cardinals defense that’s allowing 3.9 per carry, and even if he does play he’ll likely be limited, prompting Daniel Thomas to eat into his workload.
The Cardinals’ secondary is also a factor, as the ninth-ranked unit in the league led by Patrick Peterson that’s given up only seven catches for 20 yards or more has a significant advantage over Ryan Tannehill in just his fourth career start, and the rookie quarterback has very few deep options who deserve respect. That sets up a scenario in which a running back who’s suffered yet another knee injury has the focus of a defense entirely on him, and his ability to show burst and acceleration on said wonky knee.
This might not end well for Bush, or you. If you’re in a deep league and a better option doesn’t exist on your bench, plug him in, and cross all available body parts capable of such an action. In leagues of more moderate depth, seek measures to minimize risk, and leave Bush out of your lineup.