Le'Veon Bell, Sam Darnold's Fantasy Outlook After RB Joins Jets

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14:  Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jaguars defeat Pittsburgh 45-42.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

With one mixtape (NSFW language), the New York Jets have a fantasy football difference-maker on the offense.

Running back Le'Veon Bell revealed he will sign with the AFC East team on the mixtape he dropped Tuesday night:

mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL

I’m rappin In my haven Don’t call me a Raven Was a Steeler Here’s my feeler Going to the Met Cause I’m a Jet

ESPN's Adam Schefter noted his deal will be for four years and $52.5 million.   

Bell's return to the field is welcome news for fantasy players, who didn't have the three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro available during the 2018 campaign as he sat out because of a contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Still, the Michigan State product isn't someone who should be the No. 1 pick in 2019 fantasy drafts. Durability concerns exist after he sat out an entire season and played just six games in 2015, and he will be operating behind an offensive line Football Outsiders ranked dead last in run blocking last year.

Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara should all go ahead of Bell come draft day, if only because their potential numbers feature less variability.

Still, Bell is one of the best running backs in the league, and his ability to impact the game on the ground and through the air makes him a lethal fantasy weapon. He surpassed 1,200 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in three of his first five professional seasons.

That type of production means he is worth a first-round pick, even amid all the uncertainty.

Just make sure it's not a pick early in the first round.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Le’Veon Bell will sign with the New York Jets, per @AdamSchefter https://t.co/TIzathShhL

Le'Veon Bell @LeVeonBell

I’m back in the green baby, let’s get it

Meanwhile, this signing is nothing but good news for those who want to take a fantasy flier on the second-year quarterback.

He flashed his potential at times but struggled overall as a rookie, completing 57.7 percent of his passes for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Poor offensive line play didn't help, nor did a wide receiver group that only featured one player with more than 500 receiving yards—Robby Anderson (752).

Bell gives Darnold an elite option out of the backfield on passing downs. He can serve as a safety valve and help the quarterback avoid interceptions, and his ability to turn screen passes into chunks of yardage will be a source of significant fantasy points. His presence also means opposing defenses will commit more players to the box and open up downfield passing lanes.

Darnold is still not someone worth starting in fantasy circles until he proves otherwise, but he boasts a much higher ceiling after this signing.