Fantasy Outlook: Should Le’Veon Bell be No. 1 pick?
Le’Veon Bell, running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, ended up being “that player” in fantasy football which so many fantasy owners had the chance to draft and did not. With an average draft position (ADP) of first overall in PPR leagues and second overall in standard, those fantasy owners have a chance to redeem themselves. But would you, or should you for that matter, feel comfortable drafting Le’Veon Bell in the first round? That’s a no-brainer.
Bell was one of the most exciting players to watch in 2014. After a healthy season, there were only two games where Bell didn’t amass over 100 all-purpose yards. It should be noted that through 16 games, the second-year back did not fumble one time. His value to both the Steelers’ offense and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s production was evident when his season ended in Week 17 against the Bengals with a gruesome knee injury. Pittsburgh’s offense is not the same without Bell. Fortunately, Bell’s knee is now 100 percent healthy, and the Steelers’ offense has all of their most powerful weapons returning.
After a successful appeal on his three-game ban for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Bell will only miss Weeks 1 and 2 (DeAngelo Williams will start) before returning to his team. In PPR leagues, there is no better option than the Black and Yellow’s starting running back. While remaining the primary checkdown target in an explosive offense, the third-year back is also the main goal line back, eliminating the fear of stolen touchdowns. No matter which format your league is, Bell will produce for your team at an elite level. Take a look at Bell’s stats from 2014;
|Rushing Yards||Rushing TD||Receiving Yards||Receiving TD|
|1,361 on 290 ATT||8||854 on 83 REC||3|
Bell produced more yards off receptions alone than most running backs did altogether in his second year. Heading into his Junior year in the NFL, No. 26 looks ready to aim for new heights. His cuts are quick, his knee is fully healthy and he runs with a head full of steam. Weighing in at a burly 244 pounds, defenders either team up to bring him down or suffer the consequences. At the NFL Combine in 2013, Bell ran the 40-yard dash in a stunning 4.60 seconds, a surprising speed for a man of his size. Two years later, the Michigan State product has settled into the NFL and might have gained a step.
Our site has the Steelers’ workhorse ranked at No. 2 overall, and No. 2 in standard league formats at the running back position, despite the two-game suspension. However, in PPR leagues, Bell holds the No. 1 spot in both categories. The Steelers’ offense as a whole is a fantasy jackpot. Led by Roethlisberger and Bell, wide receivers Antonio Brown (No. 1 wide receiver overall in both formats) and Martavis Bryant (fantasy breakout in 2014) provide an aerial attack that will give defenses nightmares. This is a team that aims to put up 30 points or more every game. With that talent, it’s not an unreasonable goal. When draft day comes around, you can rest assured that even though your first-round pick will miss the first two games, your team is built for the long run. After all, some of Bell’s best performances in 2014 came late in the season.