Fantasy Football: Le'Veon Bell will avoid the sophomore slump

      July 3, 2014 @ 09:15:47 PDT


RB Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell the bell cow in Pittsburgh

If Lisfranc foot issues hadn't slowed Le'Veon Bell's rookie season, he surely would have gone over 1,000 yards rushing and would be more expensive heading into his sophomore campaign. Be happy he'll be a relative bargain for what could be an explosive second year.

Bell, 22, has the goods to be a three-down back in the NFL, and he'll surely be the Pittsburgh Steelers' bell cow in the backfield. In four of his final five games, Bell had 4.1 yards per carry or better and scored four touchdowns in five games, showing how good he really can be when his lower half is completely healthy.

Don't mind the additions of LeGarrette Blount and Dri Archer too much. Blount wasn't signed as a free agent with the intentions of threatening Bell for significant touches - he'll mainly be there to give Bell a breather, when needed.

Archer, the team's third-round pick out of Kent State, will have a unique role because of his speed and shiftiness, but he's unlikely to cut into Bell's carries much, if at all. If you're worried about Blount and Archer negatively affecting Bell's value, don't be.

Many things point to 2014 being a breakout season for the young rusher, including the fact that he's above average at catching the ball out of the backfield. Also, Bell will be happy about the return of Maurkice Pouncey and the move to a zone-blocking scheme with the addition of new offensive line coach Mike Munchak. The blocking scheme should mesh perfectly with Bell's running style.

While you may not view Bell as a first-round running back in standard or point-per-reception formats, the reality is he's probably a safer pick than some of the other runners that may go above him, like maybe even Marshawn Lynch (gasp!), Doug Martin or Zac Stacy.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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