Fantasy Bell Cow: Le’Veon

Le’Veon Bell is the best damn running back in the game right now. Period. Here’s why you must draft or trade for him by any means necessary.

From a fake football perspective, Le’Veon is pure fantasy gold — this you should already know. I’ve been lucky enough to have him on my team (Luck of Lucien) the past two seasons in my Pace University league. Le’Veon is the type of player that may get you a measly 15-yards in the first quarter due to game flow, then go off for another 200-yards and three touchdowns for the remainder of the game. No matter how he does it, at the end of the day, owning Le’Veon ALWAYS pays the bills. I can honestly say that I easily won at least five games last season due to his production alone.

Speaking of last season, many fantasy owners balked at Le’Veon’s draft position due to his four game suspension to start the season. What a mistake. With a player like Le’Veon, the rules are simple — you draft him no matter the situation or you do an early 3-for-1 trade to get the guy on your team pronto. Those are the rules. Memorize them, take a picture of them, write them on the back of your hand or get a tattoo, then return as the most respected owner in your league. You can do it!

First and foremost, Le’Veon has great vision — hands down the best in the game among position players. While most backs take what the defense gives and that’s it, Le’Veon pauses during the middle of a play (like a video game), analyzes his options and hits the hole. If not for a touchdown score, his extra effort on any given cut will typically net a good ten extra yards (4.9 YPC if we want to be statistically correct).

As if being the most gifted runner in football isn’t enough, last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers started lining Le’Veon up at wide receiver. We’re not just talking dump-off passes out of the backfield here, but actually lining the dude up across from Antonio Brown. Truth be told, Le’Veon is just as good a receiver as he is a running back, and probably better at the position than most true wide receivers. In 2014, Le’Veon almost notched 1,000 yards as a receiver (out of the backfield) and had he not been suspended in 2016 could have quite possibly done it again in a different fashion.

Here’s the kicker. With Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant on the corners, defenses can’t cheat, which leaves the middle open to Le’Veon all day. If stone-hands Sammy Coates gets in on the action, then all the better. Additionally, Big Ben Roethlisberger is smart enough to make good use of his tight ends to keep the defenses honest. Toss in the fact that this is a contract year for Le’Veon Bell and you have a successful fantasy recipe. For that reason alone, we can all expect Le’Veon to show up big.

If I’m lucky enough to have a Top-2 draft pick, I’ll certainly choose Le’Veon Bell over David Johnson should the opportunity present itself. If not, then I also won’t hesitate to do a mega-deal to get him. This is exactly the point of this writing. For all intents and purposes, Le’Veon is no sleeper fantasy player and you’ll only get him if you have a top pick. The recommendation here is to simply do an early pounce on him via trade before he even steps foot on the field for the 2017 NFL season — otherwise it may be too late.

(This article was originally published on July 25, 2017)