A lot of people are on the eve of their fantasy drafts this weekend. As such, a lot of eyes have turned toward the recent injury news on Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. Since hurting his foot early in the Monday night game against the Washington Redskins, there have been mixed reports.
Fears of the dreaded Lisfranc were mixed with news of minor and major foot sprains.
Earlier today the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describes Bell’s right foot injury as a “small ligament tear,” and expects Bell to miss, “up to six weeks.”
So how does this impact your strategy when it comes to drafting Bell?
I don’t think he’s going to show up in the week six game against the New York Jets and start ripping off runs like the second coming of Eric Dickerson.
We have to temper emotions and expectations with the cold light of reality.
Bell is still a rookie running back who’s taken four NFL snaps. He’s playing behind an offensive line that blocks slightly better than Casper the friendly ghost. He is a big bodied runner with 4.56 speed, and he uses his ability to plant and push to move the pile. None of these things are helped by a slow to heal foot sprain, or a recently healed ligament tear.
Add to this the fact that Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman will have a long time to entrench themselves in a back field role, and this all smells like the dreaded running back by committee that dooms most players fantasy success. When you also consider that rookies naturally struggle with pass protection, it also wipes him out of any third down opportunities.
I think Bell will be a great sleeper for 2014, because he’ll be brought along slowly in a committee, and be given the time to learn. He’s a great stash player in keeper and dynasty leagues. In a seasonal league, however, I wouldn’t touch him with anything sooner than my third to last pick.
Dwyer is probably the best pick of the three; I would grab him in the 11th or 12th round to serve as a high end No. 9 running back who can plug into your starting lineup in the early weeks if one of your starters has an early bye.
Eric Beuning is a Fantasy Football writer for RantSports.com.