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Fantasy Impact: Le’Veon Bell Suspension Reduced

Jul 30, 2015

Is Le'Veon Bell worthy of the No. 1 overall pick?

Is Le’Veon Bell worthy of the No. 1 overall pick?

Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell won his appeal with the NFL and his suspension was reduced from three games to two. This is huge news to fantasy owners (especially in PPR leagues), as Bell was one of the best RBs in fantasy last season with 1,361 rushing yards (eight rushing TDs) and 83 receptions (three TD receptions).

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Many viewed Bell as a potential No. 1 overall pick in this year’s fantasy drafts, but with a three-game suspension looming, his status was lowered. Now, with news of his reduced suspension and reports out of camp that Bell is looking “noticeably explosive” and in the “best shape of his life” from ESPN NFL writer Jeremy Fowler, Bell should be flying off the board within the first three picks of most fantasy drafts.

But what about the fact that we KNOW he will miss at least two games (suspension) and maybe more (injuries)? Is it still worth the risk of making him a top pick?

To answer that question, all you have to do is look at the poster child for NFL suspensions, Josh Gordon. Did owners shy away from him and miss out on his explosive limited career in the NFL? Talent is talent, and Le’Veon Bell is oozing with it. You don’t go into a draft with preconceived notions of how many games a player will miss and its effect on his fantasy production when Bell is the focal point of the Steelers’ offense. He is an every-down back and is highly involved in the passing game. Defenses won’t be able to stack the box on him either–the Steelers have too many weapons on the outside (Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton) and Bell can take a screen pass to the house on any given play.

If you are still worried about the suspension and/or injuries, make sure you pick up DeAngelo Williams in the later rounds. Williams is a more than capable backup who can carry the load for the first two games. Also, consider the fact that the Steelers’ first two opponents (New England and San Francisco) were solid against the run last season, so his production could have been a bit limited in the two games he will be missing due to suspension. Make no mistake, Bell has proven that he is worthy of being the No. 1 overall pick this year.

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Hilton Guidry is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Hilton, check out his archive and follow him @fantasygumbo.

Correspondent, NFL