Le’Veon Bell did not live up to lofty expectations in his first year with the New York Jets. Will the former Pittsburgh Steelers running back bounce back?
After spending a year out of football, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell signed on with the New York Jets in 2019 NFL free agency. He did not play in 2018 after a highly publicized feud with the Steelers overall his contract situation. Not wanting to get slapped with the franchise tag again led him to hitting his unrestricted free agency last spring.
Despite being a phenomenal running back during the early part of his career in Pittsburgh, Bell did not have the same level of success during his first year with Gang Green in 2019. Will the starting running back bounce back in 2020 or is this just the player he is at this point of his NFL career?
The Fantasy Footballers reveal an interesting stat on Bell’s first season with the Jets, citing it’s not likely he will bounce back this fall. In 2019, Bell had 245 carries for 789 yards and three rushing touchdowns. There have been 565 players who have had 245 or more carries in a season in NFL history. Bell’s 52.6 rushing yards per game last year ranks 563rd among all those players.
Even though that stat is ominous, the guys still believe he has significant fantasy value, at least from a volume standpoint. Bell ended the season as the RB17, which isn’t great, given that he was drafted as a top-10 player overall in some drafts last summer. However, we have to expect the Jets’ offense to be more competent than it was a season ago. It can’t be that bad again, right?
Starting quarterback Sam Darnold isn’t coming down with mononucleosis again. This will be the offensive-minded Adam Gase’s second season as the Jets head coach. So we should expect Bell to approach closer to 1,000 yards in this Jets offensive attack, assuming the overall state of the offense improves in 2020. But where does this mean you should draft Bell this year in fantasy?
No, Bell shouldn’t be drafted as your RB1 this year by any stretch of the imagination. However, he is good enough to be your RB2 and at the very least, be a strong option for you in the flex. Bell won’t come off draft boards until the third round this year. The guy has undeniable value in the right circumstances, but you can’t treat him as the same running back he once was in Pittsburgh.