September 26, 2022


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Le’Veon Bell Fantasy Outlook: How does his signing impact the Chiefs offense?

7 min read
I am about to say something I never thought I was going to say –...

I am about to say something I never thought I was going to say – the Kansas City Chiefs got better by signing Le’Veon Bell. After being released from the New York Jets in what was the worst kept secret in the NFL, Bell signed with the Chiefs after listening to offers from the Bills and Dolphins. For fantasy football managers, the implications of the Chiefs signing Le’Veon Bell are massive as we now need to re-evaluate the Chiefs’ roster and see how Bell can impact those around him.

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Le’Veon Bell was deciding between Miami and Kansas City

Sources had confirmed to PFN’s NFL Insider Benjamin Allbright that Bell was deciding between the Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills, and the Miami Dolphins. And then, it was down to the Chiefs and Dolphins.

It was relatively well known that Bell wanted to go to a contender; however, Miami entered the mix thanks to him already owning a house in South Florida and the increased compensation that would likely come along with it from Miami.

In the end, he signed with the Chiefs and this is another example of their spoil of riches. Not only do they have players like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and the rookie RB1 on the year, but they now have one of the best running backs we have seen in the last decade.

Granted, this is not the 2013-2017 version of Bell the Chiefs are getting, who averaged a staggering 1,600 total yards and nine touchdowns during that time frame. The Chiefs and fantasy managers are getting a player who has relatively little usage over the past three years from both by choice (2018 holdout) and the Jets misusing his talents.

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Bell rushed for 863 yards and three touchdowns while averaging just 3.3 yards per carry in less than two years with the Jets. He also caught 69 passes for 500 yards and one touchdown. Bell, who has missed three games due to injury this season, has just 22 touches for 113 all-purpose yards in two games.

He went from averaging 130 all-purpose yards to just 80.2 per game in his 17 games with the Jets. Let that sink in. The former fantasy star went from being the consensus RB1 for several years to a player who was relegated to the bench of fantasy managers. Now, if Bell were to become a member of the Chiefs, he could regain some of his former value on one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. 

How does Le’Veon Bell impact the rest running backs on the Chiefs roster for fantasy?

There is nowhere else to start here than looking at the running back position for the Chiefs. Imagine being a fantasy manager with Clyde Edwards-Helaire on your team. You were thrilled with him dodging any committee approach with Damien Williams, but now, you have to deal with Le’Veon Bell stealing carries. 

Since Damien Williams opted out of the season, the only backs behind Edwards-Helaire were Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, and DeAndre Washington. Williams and Thompson have accounted for less than 70 rushing yards through five games. Washington hasn’t had a rushing attempt for the Chiefs yet. It has been the CEH show all season as he is currently on pace for 1,650 total yards in 2020.

The addition of Bell muddies the water so much for Edwards-Helaire and his fantasy value. You don’t bring in a talent like Bell and not plan on using him. Even for Andy Reid, who has been traditionally a coach who relies on a single running back, the talent is too good to pass up and not give 10-12 touches per game. For Edwards-Helaire, who is averaging 19.7 touchers per game, this could be very problematic. 

Sitting at RB12 on the year in PPR formats, Edwards-Helaire could easily have a top-6 season if his redzone efficiency wasn’t so poor. From inside the 10-yard line, he has rushed the ball ten times for -1 yards. From inside the 5-yard line, he has seven carries for an astounding -3 yards on the season. This is 2019 Nick Chubb level of inefficiency. 

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While we would love to see him convert even two of these into touchdowns, at least we have the volume to hang our hat on as eventually, Edwards-Helaire would fall into the endzone at some point. Bell’s addition could quickly take away close to half of these touches, limiting both of their ceilings.

What if I have Clyde Edwards-Helaire in a dynasty league? A redraft league?

If you currently roster Cylde Edwards-Helaire in dynasty, this changes nothing. Bell would be a rental piece for a team looking to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, and we need to maintain a multi-year view on players. If you don’t have him, see if the current manager is panicked and try to acquire him. It is not very often you get the chance to add the RB1/RB2 of that season when it does not involve an injury. 

As for redraft, things have changed. Edwards-Helaire will not be the 20 touches per game player that he was just last week and will come back to the 14-16 per game range. Granted, in an offense like the Chiefs have, that’s more than enough to be useful. Currently sitting as the RB12 in PPR, that was almost his floor. Now, I think it is virtually his ceiling thanks to Bell’s addition in the offense.

I would not be panic selling; I think that window has passed. But until we have a good idea of what the team plans on doing with both Bell and Edwards-Helaire, it is best to hold for right now.

Will the addition of Le’Veon Bell impact the fantasy value of the Chiefs’ wide receivers?

If there is one area where I see Bell stepping into the Chiefs’ offense, it is in the receiving game. From 2014 to 2017, Bell was not just one of the pass pass-catching running backs; he was one of the best pass-catchers in the entire NFL. 

  • 2014 – 105 targets, 83 receptions, 854 yards, and three touchdowns (16 games)
  • 2015 – 26 targets, 24 receptions, 136 yards (6 games) 
  • 2016 – 94 targets, 75 receptions, 616 yards, and two touchdowns (12 games)
  • 2017- 106 targets, 85 receptions, 655 yards, and two touchdowns (15 games)

From 2014 to 2017, Bell was either in the slot or out wide on 12.98{a85b79e9d5d3e303e0c934e23835a4225f89957b1908a0bf3709bfd198df4224} of his snaps. You can’t tell me Reid isn’t planning on utilizing Bell the same, if not more, to keep both him and their 2020 first-round pick on the field as often as possible.

Andy Reid can take Bell and line him up in the slot every play if he wanted, knowing the talent he has, and honestly, that wouldn’t surprise me. How does a defense even hope to stop this team? Bell is one of the best route running RBs we have seen and could thrive in this role. While I don’t think there is an individual wide receiver that this would impact directly, I could see him being a staple in the passing game. 

We know in fantasy that targets and receptions are worth substantially more than carries. Even in limited work, Le’Veon could have a weekly double-digit fantasy floor out of the gates. 

What is Le’Veon Bell’s value in fantasy as a member of the Chiefs?

Now that Le’Veon Bell has signed with the Chiefs, this would be the highest his fantasy value has been since 2017 when he was still on the Pittsburgh Steelers. We have seen time and time again what players do when they get away from Adam Gase, but none of them have landed in a situation like what Le’Veon Bell could find himself in with the Chiefs. 

Even as the Chiefs’ RB2 on the depth chart, Le’Veon Bell’s fantasy value will likely be between low-end RB2/flex value moving forward. The Chiefs offense is too powerful, and Bell is too skilled to ignore. Anyone who could see 10-12 touches in this offense needs to be rostered and started each week in fantasy. If anything were to happen to Edwards-Helaire, Bell would be a top-six running back in fantasy football.

Want more fantasy football analysis and news?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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