Fantasy Football 2014: Joique Bell is a Must-Draft Backup

By Bill Pivetz
Joique Bell
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions had one of the best offenses in the league in 2013. The Lions averaged 392.1 yards and 24.7 points per game, good for sixth and 13th, respectively. It’s easy when you have a receiver like Calvin Johnson catching every ball within a 10-yard radius. However, the revamped running game played a big part as well.

Reggie Bush signed with the Lions after two successful years with the Miami Dolphins. He finished with his second 1,000-rushing yard season. Most of his success came from the help of his backup, Joique Bell.

Bell, who played in his second season in 2013, rushed 166 times for 650 yards and eight touchdowns. He was also an intricate part of the passing game. Bell finished with 53 receptions for 547 yards, the second most on the team. Bell started two games while Bush was dealing with minor injuries. In those games, he rushed 43 times for 132 yards and two scores and caught eight passes for 127 yards.

In standard fantasy leagues, Bell was ranked as the 16th-best running back with 151 points, just ahead of Zac Stacy.

Bell is entering the 2014 offseason as a restricted free agent. He is allowed to negotiate with any team that would be interested.The difference, though, between restricted and unrestricted is that the Lions would be allowed to match any offer Bell receives. And, to be perfectly honest, the Lions would be mistaken not to keep Bell.

Bell was a big part of Bush’s and the team’s success in 2013. If Bush goes down with an injury and misses multiple weeks, which has been known to happen, Bell would be able to fill in and the Lions wouldn’t miss a beat. He would become a top-15 running back almost immediately.

Wherever Bell signs, he will be a great fit and a good fantasy option. Still, his value would be at its highest if he remains with the Lions. He gets more playing time on passing downs and goal-line situations. He is the highest-ranked handcuff you can draft in 2014.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy sports writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Piv1127.

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