You cannot win your fantasy football league in the first round of your draft, but you lose it with the wrong pick. Generally, you want to go with the player with the fewest red flags.
New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell is the most volatile player you can draft in the first round in 2019. Do not use your first-round pick on the former Pittsburgh Steelers star.
Here are three reasons why:
Bell departs a Steelers offense that has been incredibly efficient over the past three seasons, even without Bell in 2018. Now he will play for new Jets head coach Adam Gase, whose offenses with the Miami Dolphins over the past three years were nowhere near as good. Look at what Bell must overcome playing in Gase’s offense now.
According to Football Outsiders, the Jets ranked dead last in stuff percentage last year, the percentage of runs where the running back is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage. The Jets weren’t much better in 2017 either, ranked 29th. The Jets were also in the bottom seven teams in three other run blocking metrics.
Volume of Touches
Lastly, it’s highly unlikely Le’Veon Bell will get the same volume of touches with the Jets that he received with the Steelers.
Bell averaged 27.5 touches per game his last two seasons in Pittsburgh. However, in six seasons as an offensive coordinator or head coach, Gase has never given one of his running backs even 21 touches per game.
Gase has only given a back 18+ touches per game in three of those six seasons running an offense since 2013 (Knowshon Moreno 2013, Matt Forte 2015, Jay Ajayi 2016). The only top-five fantasy RB that didn’t average 20+ touches per game last season was New Orleans Saints star Alvin Kamara (18.3), who plays in one of the best scoring offenses in the NFL.
So even if we project Bell for 20 touches per game (which appears to be a stretch), give him his yards per carry and yards per reception averages from his last two seasons with the Steelers, and assume he stays completely healthy, he would need to score eight touchdowns to finish at what would have been a top-five fantasy RB in 2018.
The swirling rumors that Gase never wanted Bell and his big contract in the first place do not help his cause either.
Considering all that has to go right to get a return on investment for your first round pick, pass on drafting Bell in 2019. You’re paying for his best case scenario with a lot of evidence to show he’ll have to overcome a sizable list of factors to reach that fantasy ceiling.
Picking an elite wide receiver after Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, Kamara and Melvin Gordon in the first round instead of Bell will give you a lower probability of busting.
By Stephen Andress