Le'Veon Bell ended his 2015 season early by tearing his medial collateral ligament (MCL) against the Cincinnati Bengals. He is going under a very conservative rehabilitation plan that will hopefully put him on target to fully participate in the pre-season and start in week 1 of the NFL regular season. Bell has been far from automatic, as he hyperextended his knee in Week 16 of the 2014 season. He also missed the first 2 games of 2015 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, and the week 8 MCL tear to end his season. Bell averaged 4.9 yards per carry for the 6 games that he played in last season. Bell's rehabilitation includes blood-flow restriction, for the purpose of strengthening his core leg muscles.
Bell played in only 6 games due to injury and suspension and finished the season with 113 carries for 556 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 24 receptions for 136 yards and no touchdowns. If Bell and QB Ben Roethlisberger both stay healthy and play 16 games; Bell will be the best running back in fantasy football.
Bell is easily the No. 1 running back in fantasy when healthy. He's an electric runner, pass catcher and on a team that moves the ball well and scores a lot of points. The trouble so far in his career has been injuries and a suspension. I'm in no way worried about another suspension, but of course, another injury is always a possibility. Bell's upside should drown out any talk of injuries though.
His numbers speak for themselves. Over the last two seasons, through 22 games, he's run the ball 403 times for 1,917 yards (4.76 yards per carry) for 11 touchdowns and has 107 receptions for 990 yards and three touchdowns. So on average, he's putting up 132.1 total yards and .5 touchdowns on 18.3 carries and 4.9 receptions per game.
Will his injury slow him down? I suppose there is a chance of that happening, but Bell's become a very good runner without using top speed, and with the Steelers' offense, we saw DeAngelo Williams, who is in his 60s, do extremely well this season.