Le’Veon Bell’s Updated Fantasy Outlook After Reportedly Signing Ravens Contract

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AP Photo/Steve Luciano

The Baltimore Ravens have added free-agent running back Le’Veon Bell to their practice squad, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The expectation is that Bell will join the 53-man roster when he’s ready.

Bell joins a Ravens team that has lost two running backs to season-ending injuries. J.K. Dobbins, who was slated to lead the backfield, suffered a torn ACL during the preseason.

Last Thursday, Justice Hill, who was set to back up Gus Edwards on the running back depth chart following Dobbins’ injury, suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon.

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Now Bell is being added to the mix as the Ravens look to regroup at the position.

Currently, Edwards is listed as the starter on the Ravens’ depth chart, and Ty’Son Williams is the backup. 

Look for Edwards to remain the starter regardless of Bell’s addition. He’s the most experienced Ravens running back by far as he enters his fourth NFL season. Edwards has also proven to be reliable, durable and efficient, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He’s notably gained at least 5.0 yards per rush in each of his three seasons.

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Edwards isn’t much of a pass-catching threat, but he’s the clear No. 1 back and should remain so this season.

Williams is in his second NFL season. He spent much of last year on the Ravens’ practice squad and did not register a touch.

Williams went undrafted in 2020. He rushed for 4.8 yards per carry over four collegiate seasons with South Carolina and BYU. His last season, 2019, saw him gain 311 yards from scrimmage and score three touchdowns in four games.

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He’s a big unknown in the Ravens’ backfield but will start the year as their backup.

Bell could eventually take over as RB2. He was a fantastic fantasy asset during his Pittsburgh Steelers stint. He had a 16-game average of 2,063 total yards and 11 touchdowns during that time, per Pro Football Reference.

He held out of the 2018 season due to a contract dispute before inking a deal with the New York Jets.

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Bell has not found the same success since. He gained 4.3 yards per carry and 5.2 yards per touch for Pittsburgh but just 3.4 yards per attempt and 4.2 yards per touch since then.

Bell spent the 2020 season with the Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, who signed the three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro after Gang Green released him. He played sparingly for the Chiefs in the regular season behind starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire before only getting two touches in the playoffs.

Now Bell gets another shot with the Ravens, but for fantasy purposes, there’s simply too much unknown here to rely on him, even on the bench.

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For starters, he isn’t beginning the season on the 53-man roster. Plus, even when he joins, he’ll be RB2 at best. In addition, Bell has not fared well over the last two seasons, so his efficiency is an issue. He simply won’t be getting upwards of 400-plus touches like he did in Pittsburgh.

In sum, Bell is worth a late-round flier at best and probably left undrafted overall. If the Ravens’ situation changes and Bell becomes part of a committee with Edwards, then he could be worth a waiver-wire pick, however.

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