2021 Fantasy Football: Le'Veon Bell could actually have value with Ravens

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Le'Veon Bell could actually have fantasy value with Ravens originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Under normal circumstances, a free-agent signing in the days leading up to Week 1 wouldn't be on many fantasy owners' radars. 

However, nothing about Baltimore's running back situation is normal. After losing J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill to season-ending injuries, the Ravens brought two-time All-Pro Le'Veon Bell onto their practice squad to potentially provide some depth behind Gus Edwards. 

If he ultimately makes the jump to the active roster, Bell could actually provide some fantasy value, particularly in PPR formats. 

The Ravens didn't have any pass-catching threats out of the backfield before signing Bell, as Edwards typically contributes in the run game exclusively. He has just 18 catches in three years for 194 yards, while Bell has racked up 394 receptions for 3,259 yards throughout his career. 

Assuming Edwards doesn't develop terrific hands and route-running ability overnight, Bell could have a role on third downs as a release valve for Lamar Jackson in the passing game. 

Now, the Ravens haven't exactly utilized running backs in their passing attack much since Jackson took over as the starting quarterback. Inside receivers and tight ends have dominated the target share in Greg Roman's offense. Personnel could have something to do with that, as Edwards, Mark Ingram and Dobbins (even though he's flashed as a pass-catcher) are more downhill runners than anything else. 

Bell could provide a new wrinkle to the offense, though. He's not the same runner he was, but his receiving skills were what separated him from other top backs in the league during his prime. He didn't have a ton of opportunity last year with the Chiefs and the Jets were an absolute disaster under Adam Gase for the year-plus Bell was in New York. 

The Ravens could provide a chance for Bell to rehab his value in the NFL, while Bell himself could give Baltimore's offense a look it hasn't shown defenses before. There's no reason to run to the waiver wire to claim Bell right now, but he's definitely a player to keep an eye on as the season progresses.