Pittsburgh rookie Le'Veon Bell is likely to make his regular season debut in Week 4, when the 0-3 Steelers face the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium. (You're welcome, London. Please return AP; you can keep anything else.)
The fantasy community is plenty excited to get a look at Bell, a second-round pick who's been sidelined since August by a mid-foot injury. But Bell's quarterback seems somewhat less giddy. This from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"Honestly, I have no idea with him," [Ben] Roethlisberger said. "You can't get a read on him. One day, he's practicing, one day, he's not; one day, he's going hard, the next day, he's not. I wish I could. If he was a guy like Heath Miller that you knew was busting his butt every day to get back there ... Le'Veon is a rookie, I don't know him quite well enough yet. But if he can come back and help us, we'll take him."
So that's not quite a ringing endorsement.
But really, Roethlisberger is just giving us a common (if unusually candid) take on an injured, unproven player, from the perspective of an NFL vet. And c'mon, Bell certainly can help Pittsburgh, a team that ranks next-to-last in the league in rushing (51.7 rush YPG, 3.0 YPC). No Steelers running back has visited the end zone this year. Only one of the team's 52 rush attempts has gone for more than 15 yards.
Bottom line: If Bell is anything close to healthy, he's clearly the best backfield option on Pittsburgh's roster. Back in the spring, offensive coordinator Todd Haley referred to Bell as a "three-down back" and a 30-touch sort of player, you might recall. Bell was a yards-after-contact workhorse at Michigan State a year ago, gaining 1968 scrimmage yards on a ridiculous 414 touches.
I'll stop short of calling him an upper-tier talent — I'm not quite as bullish on Bell as Cap'n Huevos — but Le'Veon's highlight reel is plenty impressive. Bell is actually unowned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment, too. It shouldn't take long for Ben to come around.