As we gear up to the start of the NFL season, Football Absurdity is going to bring you a comprehensive breakdown of every notable player that will be available in fantasy football drafts. We only look at the past three seasons for a player. Le’Veon Bell held out of the 2018 season to get his big payday… Which didn’t exactly work out for him as he planned? Can we figure for a 2020 bounce back season from Le’Veon Bell, or is he on the downslope of his career?
Le’Veon Bell ADP and AAV:
Standard Scoring ADP: RB19, 42 overall
PPR Scoring ADP: RB18, 34 overall
Average Auction Value: $15
Le’Veon Bell Statistics:
Le’Veon Bell Overview:
2019 was difficult for Le’Veon Bell and the Jets. We expected some sort of step back for him after a year off, but we didn’t expect such a precipitous drop from the former top-three fantasy pick. Bell went from 1,291 rushing yards (and 655 receiving) in 2017 to 1,250 rushing only. Most of this has to do with Bell’s usage, as Le’Veon Bell posted under 21 touches per game for the first time in his career (his prior two seasons he had between 27 and 28 per game, or a nearly 25% drop in touches.
Le’Veon Bell’s touches weren’t the only things that decreased. His yards per reception were the lowest of any full season of his career, and his yards per carry (3.2) was the worst since his rookie year’s 3.5 yards per carry. Between 2013 and 2019, Bell averaged 4.5 yards per carry. So, Bell had a lower workload and was less efficient with it. No wonder he was so terrible last year. Are better days on the horizon?
The Jets had the second-worst run-blocking offensive line last season, but they did some work to beef up the line (drafted Mekhi Becton and Cameron Clark and signed George Fant, Greg Van Roten and Connor McGovern). Pro Football Focus named their OL one of the most improved unitsthis offseason. The biggest problem with 2019 Le’Veon Bell was that his playstyle behind a terrible offensive line turned patience from a virtue into a liability, as he was constantly blasted behind the line of scrimmage. However, given that Bell had just one breakaway run, ranked #37 in juke rate, and created less than a yard per touch (#80), this looks like a harbinger of things to come more than a slight downtick.
Le’Veon Bell Draft Strategy:
I’m not super excited for Le’Veon Bell in 2020. I thought that I was, but a production reduction across the board in concordance with a touch reduction across the board has me extremely itchy for Le’Veon Bell at his ADP and AAV in 2020. That having been said, after all of those bad feelings, Bell still finished as a top-20 running back last year. And he’s going as… a top-20 RB in 2020. That feels like Le’Veon Bell’s floor this year, and a touchdown correction is all he needs to knock himself up into the top-fifteen. When we really think about it, what was the difference between 2019 Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell, outside of touchdowns? Not much.
Bell is going in a range where you can scoop him up as a steady Eddie RB2 if you want to get a top-flight wide receiver or one of the stud tight ends or quarterbacks. He’s fine where he is, and given his name value, he might have someone overbid on him or reach to draft him. If that happens, don’t worry, don’t fret. But most of all: don’t be the one who does it.
Best Case Scenario:
The Jets’ offensive line rework brings fun and profit to the Jets running game. The offense clicks on all cylinders and we see the old Le’Veon Bell again.
Worst Case Scenario:
He can’t have fewer fantasy points than 2018, can he?
[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com and airyards.com]