Is the “Bell Cow” worth your golden ticket?
Le’veon Bell was an absolute beast in 2014. We’ll spare you the stats. Anyone who drafted Bell in 2014 more than likely made the fantasy football playoffs and/or won their league.
He was that good.
A playoff knee injury forced Bell out for the rest of the season in 2014, followed by a MCL & PCL tear in week 8 of the 2015 season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
We all know the talent is there. But coming off of two serious knee injuries, should you draft Le’veon Bell with your first pick in the 2016 fantasy football season?
“I want to change the game.” pic.twitter.com/FGXHInkUvz
— Le’Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) May 23, 2015
Le’veon Bell was arrested in 2014 for suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession. LeGarette Blount was accompanying at the time. The NFL and Czar Roger Goodell of course, acted quickly, issuing a three game suspension for Bell in 2015.
Talk about a blow to the fantasy nation.
It turned out that after an appeal of the suspension, Le’veon Bell was only suspended for two games instead of three in 2015. Backup DeAngelo Williams filled in nicely in Bell’s absence:
DeAngelo Williams 2015 Season
Week 1: 21 Rushes, 127 Yards, 0 TD
Week 2: 20 Rushes, 71 Yards, 3 TD
When Le’veon Bell returned from suspension, he started slow, but started to regain form. In the next 6 games, he rushed for 113 carries, 556 yards, and 3 touchdowns. He also managed to gain 26 receptions, for 135 yards. He looked to be on pace for another great season, until it was cut short by injury.
Bell suffered an MCL & PCL tear, which would end his season and he would also need surgery to repair his knee. DeAngelo Williams finished the remainder of the season, and filled in quite nicely.
Bell underwent surgery and continues to rehab for the upcoming 2016 season. Here are a few posts from Bell’s social media accounts demonstrating his rehab process:
A video posted by LeVeon Bell (@steelerrb26) on
As the 2016 fantasy football season approaches, one of the most pressing questions for fantasy owners is:
Should I draft Le’veon Bell in the first round?
With a little less then 100 days left until kickoff, it’s a question that is torturing the fantasy universe. It’s highly likely that Bell will be drafted in the first round, but depending on your draft position, he may fall to you.
Do you pull the trigger?
It’s a brutal decision to make in less than a minute thirty, but you should be prepared prior to draft. Here’s the only scenario in which your confident enough to select Bell:
You SHOULD draft him if he falls to you past the 5th pick.
If you’re sitting in the fifth position or later and Bell is still available, draft him! More than likely Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr. and potentially Todd Gurley will go prior to Bell, so it’s an absolute steal.
You SHOULD draft him as the #1 RB Off The Board In PPR
In a standard fantasy football league, it’s more than OK to select another running back based on age, volume, or injury history. With a points per reception league, Le’veon Bell is in a tier of his own. He consistently catches passes out of the backfield, and is a crucial part of the Steeler’s offense.
Research is crucial for mid-round picks.
Knowing Bell’s injury past, you have to perform your due diligence and thoroughly research a mid-round draft pick that will be easily replaced if Bell gets injured. He may be part of of an RBBC (running back by committee), but it will keep you competitive through the remaining fantasy football season.
Side Note: Do Not Overdraft a running back to solidify a placeholder. Have a few mid-round running backs in mind that you think can make a decent impact off the bench.
Don’t forget about the handcuffs.
Handcuffs are crucial in any draft strategy blueprint, but it couldn’t be any more apparent with Bell owners. If you’re drafting Bell, make sure to pick up DeAngelo Williams (ex-Carolina Panther) in the late rounds. He has proved he can be more than viable fit for the Steelers.
Conclusion: There’s no disadvantage in selecting Bell
You’re getting one hell of a fantasy football player. Is there injury concern? Sure. But what player in the NFL isn’t at risk of an injury at any time.