Fantasy Football 2014: Detroit Lions Running Back Joique Bell Is Underrated

By Timothy Downs
Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports Images

Although we are only two short weeks removed from the Seattle Seahawks‘ win over the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, many NFL and fantasy football lovers have already begun to look ahead to what should be an incredibly interesting offseason full of plot twists and storylines that could make a soap opera jealous.

The Detroit Lions‘ 2013 season can only be classified as disappointing. The Lions had a 6-3 record by the end of Week 10 and with injuries to Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler, it seemed Detroit had the opportunity to put the division away, yet went an abysmal 1-6 down the stretch, leading to the firing of their coach Jim Schwartz.

If there was any silver lining in the Motor City in 2013, it was the emergence of second-string running back, Joique Bell. While Reggie Bush was their clear featured back, Bell performed when given the opportunity and could end up a great fantasy football option for years to come due to his prowess for production in the passing game.

While Bell was not overwhelming when given a heavy amount of carries, he also did not embarrass on his way to a 650 yard rushing season. Perhaps what hurts an argument for Bell the most is his rushing average per carry (3.9) and the fact that in the four games he was given 19-plus carries, he was unable to break 100 yards rushing topping out at 94. However, as noted earlier, Bell made an impact in the pass game with 53 receptions and 547 yards receiving. Ironically, he had no receiving touchdowns to add to his eight running scores.

Reports circulated in late January that the Lions organization is very high on Bell, and he even received praise from perhaps the most important player to the history of sport in Detroit, former running back Barry Sanders who told, “I think we’re definitely lucky to have Joique. He has a great style. Physical. And he stays within himself. He’s gotten a lot of great yards and really been an asset to the offense.”

So, what does this mean to the fantasy world? Well, it will be interesting to see just how much faith the Lions have that he can increase his yards per carry average and how many carries we can count on for Bell on a regular basis, but it is safe to say that he is a great PPR option going forward, especially if Detroit does not add to a receiving corps that relies way too heavily on Calvin Johnson to produce. The ceiling I see for Bell is an RB2 with the floor of a flex spot, making him a worth-while pick in your draft that should end up a great value in the middle rounds.

Timothy Downs is a fantasy sports writer at You can add him on Google or follow him on Twitter @tidow1212

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