Le'Veon Bell's touchdown upside in New
York is in question but he should remain a safe RB1 in 2019.
The year-long saga of LeíVeon
Bell mercifully came to an end at midnight on March 13, coinciding
with the release of Bellís rap album. While Bell ended up with more
guaranteed money from the Jets, he clearly underestimated how wise
the league has become to the devaluation of the running back position.
We know you canít build a team around a running back, but rather
a running back is essentially the final piece of the puzzle. The
good news for Jets fans is they at least have hope that Sam
Darnold is their franchise quarterback.
But enough about real life football. Letís get to the fantasy
impact. There a few things we need to look at when an elite running
back joins a new team. Iím not suggesting this is necessarily
the most important factor, but the first thing I look at is projected
volume. Bell has absolutely no volume concerns on the Jets. As
a subset of the volume question, I also look at whether there
is an incumbent running back that will either see his value vaporized
or remain a thorn in the side of the elite RB. Isaiah Crowell
is due $2 million on Friday and could be released. Neither Elijah McGuire nor Trenton Cannon are of any concern.
Absent Bell having signed somewhere like Indianapolis or San Francisco,
where itís unlikely Marlon Mack and Jerick McKinnon would
be completely irrelevant, heís not the type of player that
comes off the field for a specialist. To quote one of his former
teammates, ďyou donít sign me to sit me.Ē Bell
will touch the ball as many times as he can and is immune to game
The next thing to look at his offensive situation. We know the
opportunity will be there in spades, but how good is this Jets
offense going to be? It all comes down to Sam Darnold. The biggest
concerns for Bell will be his touchdown upside in what will certainly
be a less efficient offense than what heís accustomed to
and whether the Jets can sustain drives. In 2018, the Jets ranked
29th in overall offense DVOA. Bell can compile stats, even on
a bad team, but he will need those touchdowns to be truly elite.
There are also serious concerns about Bellís running style
and how it will mesh outside of the Steelers elite run blocking
offensive line. The Jets offensive line ranked dead last in adjusted
line yards and stuff percentage last season. That does not bode
well for Bellís patient running style. On the Steelers,
he waited for the hole to open up before bursting through it.
If he does the same thing on the Jets, much to his chagrin, the
hole may never materialize. It remains to be seen if the Jets
improve their offensive line this offseason, but one thing we
know for sure is that no running back is immune to a bad offensive
line. Weíve seen it with Todd Gurley. Weíve seen it
with David Johnson. If the Jets canít block for Bell, all
of the talent in the world simply is not going to matter.
With all that being said, Bell remains an incredibly safe selection
in fantasy drafts. Heís undoubtedly an RB1 and will be valued
as such. I expect him to go around the one/two turn in fantasy
drafts. He will certainly be behind Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley,
Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara. After those four guys,
you can begin to make the case for Bell in the same area as Melvin
Gordon, Todd Gurley, James Conner, David Johnson, and Nick Chubb.
Itís way too soon to say definitively where Iíd take
him, but we can all agree that it will be nice to see him back
on the field.