Le'Veon Bell and Fantasy managers are hoping his second year with the Jets will go better than the first. He's still someone to consider as a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues, and he will likely be drafted no later than Round 4 in all formats, with his value higher in PPR. In 2019, his first season in New York, Bell struggled. He had career lows in yards per carry (3.2) and Fantasy points per game (13.5 in PPR). His four total touchdowns were also a career worst for any season he's played in more than six games. The Jets improved their offensive line this offseason, but Bell might lose touches to Frank Gore and potentially rookie Lamical Perine. The good thing is Bell still had 311 total touches in 2019, and hopefully that will remain the range he's in again this season. Don't think of Bell as an elite Fantasy option again, but there is bounce-back potential for him in 2020. Round 4 is the perfect spot to gamble on Bell this year.
Coach Adam Gase said Monday that the Jets plan to take a "less is more" approach to Bell's usage in 2020, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports. "Hopefully, we can get some of the younger backs to where we can make a good one-two punch," Gase said, "to where we can really excel instead of feeling like it's just all on him all the time." Bell accounted for 311 combined carries and catches as the Jets' workhorse last season, but his efficiency (3.2 YPC) didn't nearly match his levels from 2014-17 with the Steelers. The 28-year-old's three-down skill set and fully guaranteed $13.5 million salary for 2020 no doubt locks him in as New York's top option, but it looks as though the team will count on at least one of Lamical Perine, Kenneth Dixon or Josh Adams to step up as a backfield complement to Bell, which would eat into his total touches but could boost his effectiveness.
General manager Joe Douglas said Bell hasn't been a topic of trade discussion, Ralph Vacchiano of SportsNet New York reports. This doesn't mean the Jets won't listen to offers, but it does stand to reason that they'd have a hard time trading a running back with a fully guaranteed $13 million salary for 2020. Adam Gase may never have wanted to sign Bell in the first place, but the coach did reiterate Tuesday that he's been pleased with the running back's preparation, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Gase also said it isn't a big deal if Bell decides to skip voluntary portions of the offseason program, something that drew considerable media attention last year.
Coach Adam Gase declined to comment on whether he wants Bell back with the team for 2020, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports. "[Bell]'s under contract for three years. You can ask Joe (Douglas)," Gase said. "You can ask Joe tomorrow...I'm not in charge of personnel." Bell signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets in March, two months before the team fired former general manager Mike Maccagnan. There have been reports ever since about Gase being annoyed by the contract, though he's repeatedly praised Bell for his professionalism and effort level. The 27-year-old finished 2019 with career-worst marks for yards per carry (3.2), rushing yards per game (52.6) and total yards per game (83.3), rarely finding room to run behind a putrid offensive line. Gase and general manager Joe Douglas may not be fans of the original signing, but that doesn't necessarily mean Bell will end up with a different team, as it won't be easy to work out a trade for a running back with a $13 million salary fully guaranteed (per overthecap.com) for 2020. The contract doesn't have any guarantees beyond next season.
Bell rushed 16 times for 41 yards and caught all five of his targets for 36 yards in Sunday's 13-6 win over Buffalo. Bell finishes his first season in New York with 789 rushing yards on 245 carries for a career-low average of 3.2 yards per carry. He was involved as a receiver with 66 catches for 461 yards, but Bell didn't demonstrate much explosiveness -- his longest play from scrimmage went only 23 yards and he scored just four total touchdowns. Despite his pedestrian production following a year off, there are reasons for optimism heading into the second year of Bell's four-year deal with the Jets. The team finished the season 6-2 in the second half after going 1-7 in the first half, and it's unlikely the Jets will add any significant backfield competition for Bell given his hefty salary.
Bell rushed 25 times for 72 yards and caught all four of his targets for another 21 yards in Sunday's 16-10 win over the Steelers. Bell got all the touches he could handle in a defensive-minded affair against his former team, as his 25 carries were the most he's received as a member of the Jets. He's averaged an underwhelming 3.3 yards per carry in 2019, but his volume should give him a decent floor as the Jets look to keep playing spoiler when they travel to Buffalo in Week 17. Bell has 748 yards on the ground and 425 more as a receiver but just four total touchdowns with one game left in the season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/20||San Francisco 49ers||3||12.16|
|6||10/18||@Los Angeles Chargers||22||18.88|
|8||11/01||@Kansas City Chiefs||23||20.37|
|9||11/10||New England Patriots||2||11.94|
|13||12/06||Las Vegas Raiders||15||17.38|
|15||12/20||@Los Angeles Rams||18||18.00|
|17||01/03||@New England Patriots||2||11.94|
|3 Year Avg||189||693||4||50||372||1||134|