Fantasy Reaction: Le'Veon Bell suspension

Liz Loza

News broke Friday morning that Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell is reportedly facing a four-game suspension due to a missed drug test. Assuming the suspension stands, Bell would be absent for a quarter of the season. As a result, he’s dropped outside of the top-five players at the position in our consensus rankings. Going first overall in many fantasy drafts, Bell is now likely to fall to the second round.

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While the immediate take on the situation is negative, there is a silver lining. Coming off of a major knee injury (MCL and PCL) that sidelined him for the final 10 contests of last season (including postseason action), Bell now has a chance to further recover and potentially avoid any setbacks. A stud when healthy, Bell averaged 14.5 fantasy points per game in the six games he played last season and was the second overall fantasy producer at the position for that span of time.

Stepping in for Bell, DeAngelo Williams proved to be a valuable commodity for the Steelers and fake football managers. In Bell’s stead, Williams averaged nearly 18 carries per contest. He was FF’s RB1 overall from Weeks 9 through 16, closing out the season with 1,274 total yards and 11 scores. In a position to start 2016 as the team’s workhorse, the 33-year-old’s stock is, once again, on the rise. The virtual game’s most valuable handcuff, DWill’s ADP should easily jump into the sixth round.

Managers set on drafting an elite wideout in the first round would be wise to lean into Bell’s value. That strategy, however, will cost owners two roster spots, as Williams is a must-own commodity. Yet, given the growing number of platoon backfields… it’s a price worth paying.

For more fantasy reaction follow Liz on Twitter @LizLoza_FF.