The second-year back simply doesn't get enough touches behind starter Mikel Leshoure to be relied on week-to-week in most leagues and formats. However, that doesn't mean Bell hasn't become a hot waiver-wire name after an eye-catching performance in Week 9.
In a blowout win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bell rushed for 73 yards and a score and caught three passes for 36 yards—by far his best fantasy performance of the season. He's been one of the most-added running backs on the waiver wire since Sunday.
In addition to his production a week ago, fantasy owners can also see that Bell's role has become more defined in recent weeks.
According to the Tim Twentyman of the Lions official website, Bell has established himself as Detroit's go-to back on third downs and obvious passing downs.
Per offensive coordinator Scott Linehan:
Well, one of the things is Joique's proven to be a real effective receiver out of the backfield since we haven't had Jahvid, in those situations when we're in obvious passing situations. Joique has really come through for us in two-minute and situations where we're getting good matchups on our running backs.
This development is an encouraging sign, especially in the Lions' pass-heavy offense. But Bell is still second-fiddle behind Leshoure for carries, and his production as the receiving back hasn't added up to fantasy relevance.
Bell has been held under 80 total yards in seven of his eight games this season and only twice has he received 10 or more total touches. His highest in both (106 total yards, 16 touches) came in Sunday's win over the Jaguars while the Lions were in blow-out mode in the fourth quarter.
Bell also isn't vulturing away touchdowns near the goal line, which he really needs to be fantasy relevant in his situation.
Overall, Bell is a realistic fantasy option in only the deepest of standard leagues. His value is higher in points-per-reception leagues, but only slightly. There simply isn't enough touches and production to warrant fantasy consideration.