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A Fantasy Nightmare Starring Le’Veon Bell

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be just like last season, when Le’Veon Bell ended his holdout over the Steelers using the franchise tag on him and reported in time to play Week 1.

Except this season Bell didn’t report to the team and hasn’t signed his tag. And now it looks like he might be making a business decision that could wreck the fantasy seasons of his owners.

Bell and the Steelers have not been able to agree on a new, long-term contract, with the main points of contention being money and Bell’s workload. His agent Adisa Bakari said Wednesday on ESPN that Bell is “going to do the things necessary to protect his value long-term.” That may very well mean missing a huge chunk of time or even the entire season.

Let that sink in.

So, Bell owners, now what?

Add Bell’s backup

You’re not dropping Bell, so don’t even think about it. But you should definitely remove him from your lineup and add his backup James Conner, who had a strong preseason. The second-year pro out of Pittsburgh rushed nineteen times for 100 yards and a touchdown while averaging over five yards per carry. He will be the man while Bell is out but is shockingly only owned in 55% of Yahoo! leagues, so make adding him your first priority.

Seek out a San Francisco RB

When Jerrick McKinnon was lost for the season last week, it put San Francisco running backs Matt Breida and Alfred Morris in the spotlight. They’ll both have a crack at the starting role and will both hold weekly fantasy value, but in terms of the best add rest-of-season I prefer Morris. If you can’t get Conner, add one of these guys.

Facilitate a trade

Approach a trade with caution, as most owners probably won’t be willing to give you a fair deal based on Bell’s current outlook. Don’t unload him just to do it, as by this time next week he might have decided to return. There may be an owner with a stacked roster who is willing to give you a ridiculous haul for Bell, but only consider trades that will actually make your squad better.

 

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