Le’Veon Bell to Kansas City…What Now for Fantasy?
Le’Veon Bell had a choice to make…
1) Sign with a team where he could/would be promised to walk in as the main guy.
2) Sign with a contender, regardless of opportunity for touches, and go for a ring.
Which would you choose…if you were him?
Keep in mind, if you were him you’ve already booked $57M+ in payment just from football salary, not counting everything else.
Do you try to turn your career around and put up numbers as a starter/savior somewhere to try to get another decent deal in 2021…or just go for a ‘fun’/winning-a-possible-Super Bowl season?
Le’Veon went for the ‘fun’. And I use that word purposefully.
The Chiefs paid him just $679K in his new one-year deal to join them…he can make $1M more in incentives. It’s all chump change to him. The Chiefs basically got him for free. Most any team would have given him that deal, just to be a backup/depth for them. The Chiefs had nothing to lose. It’s smart for them. No mega-commitment of money, etc. If Bell is an issue in any way – they cut him and are out a pittance this year.
Le’Veon could’ve gone to Miami or Chicago, taken over the backfield Week 7-8 and tried to show how good he still is. He could’ve gone for numbers. Instead, he went for ‘fun’.
If you’ve made $57M+ in a football career…why go grind away behind a bad O-Line in Miami to finish (8-8) and miss the playoffs, or go play with Chicago and go (9-7) and get whacked in the playoffs. Why go grind, take a lot of hits, take on a ‘savior’ role…when you could do the alternative and just go have ‘fun’?
What is this ‘fun’ I keep referring to?
‘Fun’ is the opposite of everything I just said about Miami and Chicago for Bell…no grinding/not taking a lot of hits and with more space to run (because of Mahomes), and not taking on a ‘savior’ role with a team where Bell would be the big ‘get’. Bell is just a small piece of the puzzle in KC…and he’s happy about that. He wants that, you would assume by his choice.
If Bell wanted the opposite, like what an Adrian Peterson or Phillip Lindsay (for examples) would likely want to do in order to prove something to themselves, chase career numbers, prove to their critics, positioning for future contracts, etc. Bell is not that interested in any of that. He has no reason to.
Bell goes to KC to collect nice money, have ‘fun’, AND not take as many hits or have huge expectations to carry the offense. In his line of work…at his age…it’s the smart thing to do. The contract Bell signed does not show that he’s expected to be a starter, savior, or anything. He comes ‘to help’. Whatever that means. Likely a nice role, but not THEE role.
Bell doesn’t have to hurry up and get up to speed with the offense. He doesn’t need to be forced into playing Week 7 because his ragtag Bears or Dolphins team needs to win NOW. Bell chose the smart, rich person’s work environment – he’s going to KC to be a part, not a savior or focus. He has made enough money in his life, produced at a high level enough that he can make such decisions. He doesn’t need to prove anything to anybody.
Why is this important to believe in what I’m theorizing on Bell (if I’m right?) for Fantasy valuation assessment? Because it means Bell is not in any race to be ‘the man’ in KC. He’s likely going to find it fun/cool to be a backup/’6th man’/split role back. Keeps him fresh. Less hits/less toll. A sideline view to watch Patrick Mahomes work…a lot of winning with less workload demand.
I doubt Bell demanded to be the starter in his initial discussions…if he did ask that the Chiefs would have ‘passed’ or Bell would have ‘passed’ for where he could be more the focal point. You have to believe Bell was just interested in a role with a winner PLUS a reduced workload and reduced pressure on himself -- and he got the ultimate employment for someone in his shoes.
So, if Bell is going to be a ‘cog’ for KC…what’s a ‘cog’ worth for fantasy? Not as much as many people think this week.
The dream many people have is – Bell misses Week 6, learns the playbook, plays a little bit Week 7, then heavier Week 8…and by Week 9 he’s 2018 Kareem Hunt. Actually, many people assume Bell is suddenly the Bell from 5+ years ago and will be a better Kareem Hunt by Week 7-8.
For Fantasy, you want to sell Le’Veon Bell to those people…those ‘believers…those ‘dreamers’ ASAP -- before words from coaches on their real plans ruin the trade value (they don’t have to say anything this week because Bell cannot play this week).
If Bell is just there in KC to help, then barring a Clyde Edwards-Helaire injury, the projection of his future is:
Bell will sit out Week 6.
Playing sparingly Week 7.
Might get a few extra touches Week 8 versus the Jets.
Has a Week 9 bye.
By Week 10 he’ll be more fully up to speed and he’ll be splitting time and touches with CEH, probably like Leonard Fournette does with Ronald Jones…meaning, one week you’ll think he’s taking over, the next he barely plays and breaks your FF heart, then gets hot had the next (while on your FF bench), and then so and so forth – like LeSean McCoy last year with KC, like Leonard Fournette this year with TB.
Also, keep in mind: it’s not a given that this very second, this moment in time…that 2020 Le’Veon Bell is better/more talented than 2020 Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He might be, but it’s not by a huge distance.
What is Bell FF-worth if you won’t know for five weeks if he’s ‘taking over’ or what his touch count is going to be? What is Bell worth getting 8-12 carries and 2-3 targets per game? Or what is he worth getting 5-10 carries but used as a slick receiver option and sees 5+ targets? I think Bell as a Kareem Hunt late 2019 season with CLE is the natural upside for Le’Veon…not the 2018 Hunt that rules the world. Fully taking over the KC backfield would only happen in an emergency, which is why it was smart for KC to add the cheap RB insurance. Bell is a better Super Bowl emergency plan than Darwin Thompson…this, we can all agree on.
The path to Bell as the clear starter racking up crazy RB1 numbers in KC for FF is a narrow path. If it happens it will probably be several weeks from now before it comes to some type of fruition. If you need to FF-win now…you may not have that kind of time to wait and see if it comes true.
I think the daydream of ‘what might be’ is Bell’s true FF-value to you today – to sell the great upside, magical story version of Bell.
I’m definitely not a ‘buyer’ of Bell unless I’m like the Chiefs’ franchise and I’m doing great in the standings and I can afford to just sit and wait and afford to be wrong. If I’m the CEH owner, I have an interest…but remember/note that when Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette were healthy this season, and someone FF-owned both – it was a nightmare to figure out who to play, who was going to see what carries. Together they are frustrating RB2s. The only power in having them together is hoping one goes down to have the other arise to aa then RB1 hopeful (like RoJo the last 2 weeks).
Bell landing in KC is better for the Kansas City Chiefs football team than it is your Fantasy team, in my opinion.
If you believe my theory, and it’s a theory, then you must move Bell before this FF week ends and people start thinking about this more, asking more questions of the KC coaches, and then one bad phrase like “We’re going to phase Bell in over the next few weeks,” and the value gets chopped in half versus the sugar plum fairy thoughts many have now.
Ride your own theory – but after two days of contemplating it and finally seeing his contract…I think he’s a ‘sell high’ (not sell at all costs/toxic…be smart).