Despite not yet being 30 years old, Le’Veon Bell has been labeled as “washed up” by some fans. Hey, maybe they are right, maybe they are not. It seems like forever that Bell was a consensus top three pick in fantasy football, back when he was a pass-catching dynamo that could also comfortably break 1,000 rushing yards per season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
We are now three years removed from Bell’s last 1,000-yard season in the ground, before he fell out of favor with not one, but two organizations.
But the “washed up” 28-year-old running back can be the X factor in your championship week matchup. Bell has the potential to win you your fantasy football league.
Since signing with the Kansas City Chiefs after playing two games with the New York Jets this season, Bell has acted as the change-of-pace back to starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The latter was having a tremendous season, with 803 rushing yards, 4.4 YPC, and four scores.
However, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, CEH will likely miss the regular season’s final two weeks, opening up most of the workload for Bell to carry the load, and your team, in the finals.
Per Rotoworld, Edwards-Helaire was bent awkwardly on a fourth-quarter tackle in the Chiefs’ game against the New Orleans Saints and had to be helped to the locker room. He wasn’t able to put weight on his injured leg. It’s being described as a leg/hip ailment.
In Kansas City’s victory this past weekend, Bell handled 15 carries and turned them in 62 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a 14-yard pass. In other words, he had 76 yards and a score against one of the toughest run defenses in the league and in a limited snap count.
Of course, playing in a superb, diverse offense like the Chiefs helps Bell’s cause and prospects to produce matchup-changing numbers on Weeks 16 and 17. He will have lots of room to run against defenses keying on trying to stop (or somewhat limit) Patrick Mahomes and his collection of aerial weapons.
The fact that Bell will likely be the lead back this weekend against the Falcons makes him an automatic start in my view. Of course, he will not handle all the workload by himself, as Darrel Williams is also expected to see his snaps and touches rise. But Bell is the man to own in this backfield as your fantasy season comes to an end.
While he isn’t mid-2010s Le’Veon Bell, he still has some juice in his legs, with a not-so-terrible 4.0 YPC in 2020. I see him as a high-upside RB2 for the rest of the season with a reasonable floor, since he will have his carries and likely some targets, as well, and he has the potential to score multiple touchdowns.
Against the Falcons, I can see Bell delivering between 80-90 total yards with multiple scores, positioning him as a cheap, yet high-upside alternative as you build your lineup with the first-place trophy in mind.