After signing Le’Veon Bell to a four year, $52 million contract just one year ago, the Jets, being the Jets and always doing the Jets-iest of things, out Jets’d themselves by releasing Bell Tuesday night. Yes, Le’Veon Bell is no longer on the New York Jets.
While normally a player getting released is not great for fantasy football, I would argue that fantasy managers should be holding onto Bell with all their might and relishing this new opportunity for Bell to escape the clutches of notorious fantasy killer, Adam Gase. There’s no one in the NFL quite as adept at destroying a player’s fantasy value quite like Adam Gase.
Now a free agent, we’ll wait and see which teams are interested in Bell and where he might be playing the rest of the 2020 season. I’ve ranked a few likely landing spots in terms of how much they’d boost Bell’s fantasy value and just how much I would want to see Bell play for this team.
Let’s start with two honorable mentions.
Honorable mention: Los Angeles Rams & San Francisco 49ers
You can’t tell me that the dual threat of Le’Veon Bell wouldn’t be a sight to behold in either Sean McVay or Kyle Shanahan’s offense. It would be beautiful. I list these as honorable mentions because I highly doubt either team makes a play for Bell. McVay just got out from under Todd Gurley and now can deploy the three-headed backfield he’s always wanted, while Shanahan has a stable of running backs so deep he could field a Kentucky Derby team. Race? He has a lot of running backs. That’s my point.
There still might be some bad blood between Bell and the Steelers, however, when the Jets put Bell on the trade block last year, the Steelers did express interest in trading for him. Could we see a reunion on our hands? Mayyyyybe. James Conner has been the bell cow back for Pittsburgh but with his injury history, it makes sense to have a reliable number two back. Stranger things have happened.
Anytime a veteran offensive player hits the open market everyone has to wonder if they will join Tom Brady in a quest for a ring. The Buccaneers have been doing it with their backfield all season so far, signing LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette. However, both McCoy and Fournette are banged up, leaving just Ronald Jones in the Bucs’ backfield. Bell once was the best pass catching back in the NFL which obviously will gel nicely with Brady’s love of checking the ball down to his running backs.
The injury to Austin Ekeler has left the Chargers’ backfield some what wanting. Justin Jackson was solid against the Saints Monday night but rookie Joshua Kelley continued to struggle. I believe the old saying goes, “Give a rookie quarterback wide receivers, watch him flash potential; Give a rookie quarterback a ground game, watch him flourish all season long”. Bell would bring a veteran presence to a suddenly young backfield and help shoulder some of the offensive responsibilities.
The Bears are 4-1 and just got a big win over the Bucs on Thursday night football in Week 5. Their backfield consists of only David Montgomery with Tarik Cohen out for the season with a torn ACL. Montgomery hasn’t averaged above 3.2 yards per carry since Week 2 and is coming off back-to-back weeks of just 27 yards rushing. Not great. Bell would give Matt Nagy a do-it-all running back who could work well alongside Nick Foles as the Bears try and make some noise in the NFC.
Remember the last time Kliff Kingsbury got a running back who used to be under Adam Gase’s thumb? Remember when Kenyan Drake just started scoring touchdowns with ease last year despite having to be told the play on the line of scrimmage? Who says lightning can’t strike twice? (But really I guess it’s two different bolts of lighting hitting close to each other just a year apart STOP JUDGING ME THE REFERENCE MAKES SENSE!) Drake has gotten off to a slow start and his work the passing game has entirely gone to Chase Edmonds, and neither running back has done much on the ground to instill confidence. Kingsbury might see this as yet another opportunity to add a talented running back who can lineup all over the field and be another chess piece for his new fangled offense.
What team offers Le’Veon Bell the best fantasy value?
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