After a year off in 2018 because of a contract dispute, Le'Veon Bell is back in the NFL, only this time it's with the Jets instead of the Steelers. We hope the change in venue and the time off don't ruin Bell's incredible Fantasy value, but you should have some caution with him on Draft Day. While it's understandable to want to draft Bell in Round 1, which will likely be his Average Draft Position, we consider him more of a Round 2 pick. He's still worth drafting in the top 15 overall selections, but Bell could struggle with the Jets. New coach Adam Gase doesn't seem thrilled to have Bell, and he doesn't have the same supporting case that made him great in Pittsburgh, which included a Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, a standout offensive line and elite weapons. The Jets are on the rise with Sam Darnold, but Bell (27) is also older and has to get back in game shape from his time off. Our hope is that Bell is the same dominant force he was prior to 2018 -- he averaged 22.7 PPR points per game in 2017 and 26.3 in 2016 -- but he might be a lesser version of himself. Just understand there's some risk with drafting him in Round 1 this season.
Bell participated in only two spring practices with the Jets, so he's still in the process of building chemistry with quarterback Sam Darnold and the rest of his new teammates, Matt Stypulkoski of NJ.com reports. Bell opted to work out on his own versus participating in voluntary OTAs, so he hasn't shared the field with his new teammates much as of yet. With training camp and the preseason still to come, the superstar running back still has plenty of time to familiarize himself with his new situation in the Big Apple after sitting out all of the 2018 season for the Steelers. Bell plays a crucial role as a receiver out of the backfield in addition to his work on the ground. Thus, getting on the same page as Darnold will be imperative for the offense to hit the ground running come Week 1.
Bell arrived at the Jets' facility and is expected to report for mandatory minicamp Tuesday, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports. Bell was absent for voluntary workouts and OTAs, as he elected to work out on his own during the offseason. It's nothing new for the 27-year-old, who employed a similar strategy while with the Steelers. Fresh off signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets in March, Bell is poised to be the centerpiece of the offense after sitting out the 2018 season.
Bell hasn't been present at the Jets' team facility since the first week of voluntary workouts, Connor Hughes of The Athletic reports. This doesn't seem to be a point of contention, as Bell likely informed the Jets of his plan when he signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract last month. He's always preferred to work out on his own during the offseason -- something that may have played a role in his inability to secure a long-term contract with Pittsburgh. In any case, the 27-year-old has plenty of time to get in shape and learn coach Adam Gase's playbook before rejoining his teammates for OTAs in May or mandatory minicamp in June. Gase said he'll be cautious about overworking his star runner, but it will be tough to take Bell off the field for more than a breather when the backfield alternatives are Ty Montgomery, Elijah McGuire, Trenton Cannon and De'Angelo Henderson.
Coach Adam Gase said the Jets will cater the offense around Bell in 2019, Randy Lange of the team's official site reports. "We'll easily be able to adapt to what Le'Veon does in the run game," Gase mentioned. "It's just going to take more of the chemistry part of line, him, quarterback, receivers, tight ends, everybody just getting used to playing with each other. And the run schemes that he's really good at, we'd be fools to not to do those." After holding out last season, Bell finally wrested himself free of the Steelers, and despite missing out on the $14.5 franchise tender, netted a four-year, $52.5 million contract from the Jets during the legal tampering period in mid-March. He immediately becomes the focus of the entire Jets offense behind signal-caller Sam Darnold, who showed promise in 13 starts as a rookie. Bell himself is just 27 years old, but he also had the most touches (1,252) and snaps (2,932) among running backs between 2014 and 2018. Gase addressed the high usage, saying, "We'll keep an eye on that." During the aforementioned stretch, Bell averaged 409 touches for 2,200 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns per 16 games, so there's little doubt he'll be among the first handful of players selected during draft season.
Bell agreed to a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Earlier Tuesday the Jets gave Bell a deadline to decide if he would sign with them, and Bell finally came to terms with $13.125 million per year. Bell held out the entire 2018 season despite having a $14.54 million tender on the table, but this deal gives the versatile back more long-term security even though it's at a lower annual rate. Bell averaged 141.8 scrimmage yards per game over his last two campaigns, but he hasn't played an NFL snap since the 2017 season. He'll be the clear-cut No. 1 running back for the Jets, and his receiving abilities -- and mere presence -- will boost Sam Darnold's value moving forward.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/22||@New England Patriots||8||16.00|
|7||10/22||New England Patriots||8||16.00|
|10||11/10||New York Giants||23||19.88|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||194||853||5||53||424||1||161|