It’s been a bad day for running backs and early bird fantasy drafters; two of the big name running backs seem to be in some hot water.
Le’Veon Bell could be missing a four game suspension due to violating the leagues substance abuse policy. There were rumblings of a possible suspension on the horizon earlier in preseason, but despite Bell’s assertion that he hadn’t missed or failed any drug tests, his suspension is now one step closer to being official. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported “For the past several weeks, the Steelers had known [Bell] wouldn’t be on the field when the season began”. According to Dan Graziano (ESPN) the violation resulted from a missed drug test, not a failed one which may help Bell’s appeal case. However, it’s uphill climb. Just last April Bell received a three game ban for violating the substance abuse police after an arrest for a DUI and marijuana possession. Bell, for what it’s worth, accepted his punishment easily and seemed contrite at the time. His suspension was later reduced to two games. With this being his second brush with the drug policy it’s unlikely he’ll see a reduction in his suspension. More worrisome for Bell owners, if this is indeed his second strike, his third could see him sidelined for an entire season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have consistently fielded one of the most impressive and efficient offenses in the league, and the show isn’t going to stop with Bell sidelined. DeAngelo Williams is next in line for Steelers. Williams made the most of his time as starter last season, rushing for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns in Bell’s absence, so all is not lost for the Steelers rushing game. Williams, who was already an attractive handcuff for Bell will be seeing a huge spike in ADP if Bell’s suspension is confirmed. Williams ADP is currently in the seventh round. It could easily go as high as the third or fourth round in some leagues. In this case the more expensive tag is warranted. Williams is not a must-have handcuff worth overpaying for.
When on the field Bell is an absolute fantasy monster. In 2014 he finished with 1,361 yards, eight touchdowns, and a 4.7 YPC average. In 2015 he managed 556 yards, three touchdowns, and a 4.9 YPC average even though he only played 6 games due to injury and suspension. He’s also a passing threat, just last season he caught 24 passes for 136 yards, and he added 854 passing yards on 83 receptions, and three touchdowns to his already ridiculous numbers in 2014.
Let’s hope for his sake and the sake of his fantasy owners Bell gets his act together.