Le’Veon Bell has been suspended for the first 3 games in 2015 for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. So what might his absence at the beginning of the 2015 season mean for your fantasy team?
Bell gives his owners an advantage over the opposition on a weekly basis. In other words, I want Bell on my team because he’s more likely than most fantasy players to win my week by outproducing anyone else’s RB1. He’s a generational talent in a very thin position. Running backs are in short supply, and feature backs like Bell are even tougher to find.
Bell finished 2nd in overall fantasy points among running backs in 2014, behind only DeMarco Murray (who ran behind a far better offensive line). At the end of the 2014 season, Bell was widely projected to be the #1 overall pick in 2015 fantasy drafts. But after today’s news, you may be wondering where to draft him.
Given how productive and talented Bell is, you should still feel confident drafting him in RD1 as a top-10 pick. However, because he’s out for a quarter of the regular fantasy season in most leagues, the suspension moves Bell to the middle or end of RD1, instead of 1st overall.
I would draft these running backs ahead of Le’Veon Bell in 2015 based on their production and injury history, leading me to believe that they may miss 1-2 games but missing 3 games (duration of Bell’s suspension) is unlikely: Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch.
I would still draft these running backs after Le’Veon Bell based on injury history and/or changes in their team situation leading to a potential dip in production, making them worth less than Bell, even with the suspension: Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray, Jeremy Hill, C.J. Anderson.
If you do draft Bell, be sure to handcuff him with DeAngelo Williams. Williams has been signed by the Steelers to serve as Bell’s backup and will likely be the lead back for the Steelers until Bell returns. I like Williams as a RB2 for the duration of Bell’s 3-game suspension.