If you were planning on drafting running back Le’Veon Bell for your 2014 fantasy football team, I want to scare you away from him at all costs.
After making his regular season debut in Week 4, Bell finished the year with an impressive rookie season. With 244 rushing attempts, 860 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns and 399 receiving yards, the 22-year-old back looks like he will provide the Pittsburgh Steelers with years of production. For fantasy football players, however, Bell may actually see a decrease in points because of the addition of LeGarrette Blount.
When I first heard that the Steelers had acquired Blount, I really didn’t think much of it. I only pictured Blount being used sparingly to give Bell a breather, and there was little chance of Bell stealing a significant amount of carries. When I reviewed Bell’s rushing statistics, however, I did become worried with what I saw.
Last season, Bell scored four of his eight rushing touchdowns on the one yard line. While these two backs share similar physical traits, it is predicated that Blount could see the majority of the carries near the goal line. The rest of Bell’s touchdowns came from runs of eight, five, four and two yards, and he probably is going to break off any 20-yard touchdown scampers anytime soon. Bell only averaged 66.2 rushing yards per game last season, so if he isn’t able to add touchdowns to the mix, his value is severely limited.
If there is a glimmer of hope for Bell, it is the fact that he is a better dual-threat back than Blount. Blount has only surpassed 100 receiving yards once in his career, and that will limit his playing time. Bell’s success in the passing game will rely more on the usage of Dri Archer than anything else though. Archer is the Steelers’ version of Giovani Bernard, and the rookie totaled 888 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns in his final two college seasons.
Spending a second-round pick on Bell is very risky. The Steelers are focused on winning games, and not on helping your fantasy football team. Whoever is making plays will get to carry the ball, and in a more uptempo offense this season, Archer could find success with screens and Blount could be solely used as touchdown vulture.
While Bell is the most overall-talented back on the team, he does have competition from other backs who may be better suited in different situations.