Le’Veon Bell used to be a consistent early first round draft pick with matching high-end fantasy production. Now he’s being drafted in the third/fourth round. Is he worth it?
Running back Le’Veon Bell enjoyed years of amazing top-3 performances in Pittsburgh as an early first round fantasy draft pick. He was an annual front-runner to end each season as the #1 fantasy scorer and usually came very close, similar to today’s standouts like Christian McCaffrey or Saquon Barkley.
However, after holding out of the entire 2018 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers finally traded him to the New York Jets. Despite not playing for a year and joining a new offense for the first time in his career, he was still being drafted in the first round because he’s that good.
How did it turn out? Not good.
Bell suffered a dramatic decline in all relevant metrics. He managed only 789 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns from 245 attempts, while receiving 66 of 78 targets for just 461 yards and a single touchdown. In fantasy terms, he averaged 12.1 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in half PPR – his worst rate EVER – and disappointingly finished as the overall RB21.
As a result of his career-low numbers, Bell now has an ADP of #44 (expert consensus ranking #52), going as the 22nd RB on Yahoo and 18th RB on ESPN. However, per Fantasy Football Calculator, Bell’s average ADP in mock drafts is #30.
Despite his deteriorating efficiency with the Jets and the proclaimed denigration from fantasy analysts & experts, Bell’s name and past accomplishments are still driving the general public to hold him in higher regard and draft him one to two rounds earlier than necessary.
Most of Bell’s supporters claim he was still shaking off the cobwebs from skipping the prior season and experienced growing pains from learning a new offense with a new team. With another year to build chemistry with a fully healthy young quarterback in Sam Darnold, he should improve his stats and should maintain his high target share with only the eternal Frank Gore competing for snaps.
But no matter how much Bell can improve on his own game, he will still be a fantasy bust at his current ADP simply because of one man…Jets’ head coach Adam Gase.