Fantasy Football: Why You Should Draft Joique Bell in 2014

By Meng Song
Joique Bell Detroit Lions
Getty Images

I keep seeing Joique Bell falling to the mid to late rounds in many mock drafts this year, and I don’t understand it. Did no one else watch the same Detroit Lions games that I watched last year? Bell is a guy who is being severely underrated right now by fantasy football players as a whole.

Last season, Reggie Bush scored 174 points in standard scoring leagues while Bell scored 151 points. For you non-math majors out there, Bush only outscored Bell by 23 points. And yet as of today, Bush’s ADP is in the third round while Bell is being drafted on average in the seventh round. Am I the only one who thinks this is crazy? Here’s what their stats looked like in 2013.

2013 Detroit Lions RB Stats

Bell had one more total TD than Bush, and Bush had about 300 more rushing yards than Bell. I expect their point totals this year to again be very close together. Bush may be first on the depth chart for the Lions, but why does that matter?

To those arguing that Bell may not see the same usage this year, I ask this. Detroit gave Bell a three-year, $9.3 million contract in March. Why would you pay a RB like Bell that much money to keep on the roster if he’s to serve only as a backup to Bush? The answer is that you don’t. I fully expect the Lions to utilize Bell even more this season. Regardless of how the depth chart reads, Bell is just as integral to the Lions’ offense as Bush.

There are two reasons why I’m not worried about Bell’s continued production in 2014. First, Bush has never been the most durable RB. He’s only played two full seasons in his entire NFL career, and he’s two years older than Bell. Bell has the opportunity to start if Bush misses time in 2014. In the two games in which Bush did not play last year, Bell averaged 66 rushing yards and 64 receiving yards, and he scored a TD in each game.

Even if Bush does remain healthy and start all 16 games this season, Bell will still be productive. Bell has already taken much of the goal-line work from Bush. Moreover, Bell’s two best performances in 2013 were against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 and the New York Giants in Week 16. In those two weeks, Bush started and was active throughout both games, but Bell still managed to put up RB1 numbers.

In my 2014 RB rankings, Bush and Bell are more or less interchangeable. Do yourself a favor. Skip out on Bush in the third round, grab another stud player and draft Bell a few rounds later. You’ll get similar, if not better production out of Bell at a much lower price.

Meng Song is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @ms0ng, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your Google+ network.

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