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Fantasy DFS Outlook: Le’Veon Bell 2020

Le'Veon Bell Running Back NY Jets
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 29: New York Jets Running Back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs with the ball over Buffalo Bills Defensive Tackle Jordan Phillips (97) during the second half of the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills on December 29, 2019, at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Do you play DFS to earn points and win money based on performances from two years ago? Of course not. This is why I am not treating Le’Veon Bell ($5,600 DK, $6,500 FD). as if it is 2017 all over again when he gained a combined 1,946 yards while scoring 11 touchdowns. 

While Bell does enter the season as the starting running back for the New York Jets, we also have to ask ourselves how much that is truly worth? I mean the Jets don’t exactly have the best track really with anything. Not listening to the warning signs blaring the alarm urging fantasy owners to practice some caution and skepticism would just not be responsible.

These warning signs do fly in the face of the standard training camp optimism we hear this time of year. This is why we must persist and take a look hard look at Bell. Last season’s struggles (789 rushing yards, 461 receiving yards, and four combined touchdowns) are in stark contrast to his previous body of work. A deeper look into Bell’s 2019 season also doesn’t do him any favors as the running back managed just 3.2 yards per carry. Bell finished 26th in broken tackle rate and 29th in average yards after contact which is just not acceptable. None of this screams out that a resurgence is coming.  

It was a not a secret last season that Adam Gase just did not like Bell. The Jets’ head coach wasn’t in favor of the acquisition of his new starting running back, and he wasn’t shy about sharing those sentiments. Gase didn’t use what was supposed to be his new weapon in the most efficient way but even when given a chance, Bell scuffled. 

One could make the argument that Bell was the victim of circumstances. He hadn’t played the previous year, had a coach who didn’t want him or was willing to use him properly, an offensive line that was terrible and a quarterback that missed games in the beginning of the season and never truly got on track. That argument wouldn’t exactly be wrong either but then I bring you back to the metrics mentioned above. 

This off-season New York did attempt to fix the offensive line as they brought in an entirely new unit and that should only serve to benefit Bell. There is a problem with this though as without a normal off-season and any preseason games, it likely will take some time for the unit to gel. They simply need time to learn how to work together.

In the actions speak louder than words department as part of the Jets’ off-season additions, the backfield got a little more crowded. Future Hall of Famer and still useful option Frank Gore was signed and promising rookie La’Mical Perine was drafted in the fourth round. Gore and Gase have a history of success dating back to their days with the Dolphins and Perine has already had multiple big plays in training camp. 

While Perine wasn’t drafted with the expectation of being a starter at the outset, the talent is undeniable and despite the expected growing pains he will likely be factor towards the end of the season. The immediate problem for Bell is that fact that Gore has looked to be the better running back at most times this summer. This isn’t even taking into account the drama between Gase and Bell about the health of his hamstring. 

If that wasn’t enough, Gase traded for another former Miami running back in Kalen Ballege. Even if Ballage doesn’t end up making the team or playing a large role it can’t make you feel good if you are banking on Bell for this season.

As far as Week One pricing goes, Bell is reasonably priced for a starting running back ($5,600 DK, $6,500 FD). Between the two sites Bell is the 18th and 15th highest priced running back. I don’t want that to lull you into a false sense of security and lead you to blindly putting him into your lineups based on the price and name recognition. I won’t dispute the possibility of Bell turning back the clock to 2017 although against a tough Buffalo defense, it will be difficult in Week One. That difficulty should continue throughout the entire season.

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