Bell rushed 27 times for 87 yards and caught all four of his targets for another four yards in Sunday's 26-9 win over the Vikings.
Bell was given a massive workloard as his side led throughout the game, but he was held to just 3.2 yards per carry by a stout Minnesota front. He was also rendered ineffective in the passing game, failing to gain yardage on three of his receptions. Bell hasn't produced a monstrous fantasy outing just yet, but the large jump in usage was a positive sign for his prospects moving forward. He will look to break out in a more favorable matchup with the Bears next week.
Bell rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries and added 15 yards on three catches in Sunday's win over the Browns.
Any hope that Bell could burst out and be his typical, dominant self on Sunday despite an offseason away from the team was extinguished early on Sunday. Bell didn't record a play of more than three yards until almost halftime and his 47 total yards were a career low. While Bell is far too talented to continue this level of play, it's fair to wonder how long fantasy owners that invested premium picks in Bell will have to wait to see much of a return on their investment.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Wednesday that he fully expects Bell to be at "full speed" for the team's Week 1 matchup with the Browns, despite missing all of training camp and the preseason, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.
Though Bell will have only practiced with the team for a week before Sunday's game arrives, he had been keeping himself conditioned during his summer-long holdout and previously indicated that he'd be ready for whatever workload Tomlin decides to give him in Week 1. Given that the Steelers should be comfortable favorites in the contest against a Browns squad that went 1-15 last season, it seems rather unlikely that Tomlin will need to lean heavily on his bellcow, but the flow of the game may ultimately dictate how many touches Bell picks up. In any event, the fact that the Steelers aren't concerned about the running back's condition following the long layoff suggests he'll be in store for his usual three-down duties right away, making him a must-play option for those that drafted him.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Bell is in "great physical condition" heading into the regular season, but noted that he doesn't have a hard and fast plan for how extensively the running back would be used in Sunday's opener against the Browns, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
After missing all of the preseason while holding out for a new contract, Bell rejoined the Steelers last Friday and signed his franchise tender three days later, putting him on track to practice this week in preparation for the opener. Bell has been keeping conditioned on his own amid the holdout and shouldn't have much trouble reintegrating into the Steelers' offense, but the lack of practice reps to date may nonetheless prompt Tomlin to be conservative with Bell's usage, especially in what projects to be a soft matchup on paper with the Browns, who are coming off a 1-15 season. Fantasy owners in season-long formats who invested an early-round pick in Bell should still feel comfortable enough keeping him active for Week 1, but the prospect of a less-than-full workload may not make the tailback worth his expensive price in DFS contests.
Bell said he's ready for any kind of workload Sunday against Cleveland, ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler reports. "30 touches, or whether it's 10 touches," said Bell. "Whatever it may be, I'm ready to go out there and get the job done."
The Steelers seemingly expect Bell to hit the ground running, as the team only kept two other running backs (James Conner and Terrell Watson) on the final roster. Neither Conner nor Watson offers much as a pass catcher, suggesting Bell will hop right into his usual role as a three-down workhorse. He had no trouble acclimating after he served a four-game suspension to start last season, piling up 178 scrimmage yards in his first appearance of the year.
|3||9/24/17||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|4||10/1/17||@ BAL||1:00 pm|
|6||10/15/17||@ KC||4:25 pm|
|8||10/29/17||@ DET||8:30 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|10||11/12/17||@ IND||1:00 pm|
|13||12/4/17||@ CIN||8:30 pm|
|16||12/25/17||@ HOU||4:30 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|