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Disaster Recovery Week 8: Le'Veon Bell


Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should be panicking at all about their value moving forward.

This season we'll be focusing on one dud a week. There will be two major qualifiers for this player: the player must have performed well below expectations without an injury, and the player needs to be considered a must-start in most formats.

Le'Veon Bell was the subject of many trade rumors this week. But the trade deadline came and went, and Bell remains a member of the New York Jets, where he has failed to produce quality fantasy numbers this season. Week 8 was Bell's worst performance of the entire season.

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For Whom The Bell Tolls

Le'Veon Bell's Week 8 stat line: nine rushes for 23 yards, three catches for 12 yards on five targets. 

To say Le'veon Bell's debut season with the Jets has been a fantasy disaster is an understatement.

Bell has been a fantasy phenom for the duration of his career when he's been on the field. Through the first seven games of Bell's 2017 season, he put up 898 total yards and four touchdowns. Bell has just 536 yards and two touchdowns in his first seven games with the Jets.

For the most part, the blame doesn't fall on Bell. He's been saddled in an absolutely abysmal Jets offense. The Jets are bad with Sam Darnold and were even worse without him. Statistically, the Jets have the worst offense in the NFL. They rank either dead last or second-to-last in points-per-game, passing yards-per-game, rushing yards-per-game, and total yards-per-game. Their coalition of bad quarterbacks have thrown 11 interceptions this season.

When an offense is this bad, it's hard to expect anybody to put up numbers, even a player of Bell's caliber. It's not like the Jets aren't trying to give Bell the ball. He's a three-down back who's played on over 90% of the team's snaps. He's the only player running the football for the Jets and is second on the team in receptions. He's second on the team in touchdowns behind Ryan Griffin, who scored two of his three touchdowns this season last week.

The Jets simply aren't putting up yards or points. Bell accounts for a good chunk of the team's statistics in both categories. The problem for fantasy owners is that number is so low it hasn't produced much.

Still, anyone paying attention knows that the Jets' upcoming schedule is ridiculously easy. The team has had a rough go of it early on, facing just two opponents with a losing record so far this season. Seven of their next eight games are against teams with a losing record.

Bell's upcoming schedule has been beaten to death for weeks. Everyone has been advising owners to buy low on Bell while there was still time. If you own him, there's absolutely no way you should part with him now. The Jets aren't just facing off against bad teams. The best team they play over the next six weeks is Oakland. They get Miami twice. They get the Giants, Redskins, and Bengals. All these teams are terrible, and all of them have terrible defenses.

Bell should feast over this stretch of games. But many considered Jacksonville to be the start of what should be Bell's reign of terror. The Jaguars are a much better team than all of New York's upcoming opponents besides Oakland, but they still aren't a great team. Maybe the 2019 New York Jets truly can't be saved? Maybe this is a dumpster fire on the scale of Miami, Cincinnati, and Washington. Maybe Bell will never find holes to run through and will continue to put up awful numbers. It's certainly possible, but as a Bell owner, I'm betting on the three-time All-Pro.

The Jets' upcoming schedule is just too juicy to quit just yet. Miami can't stop a nosebleed. Are you really going to bench or trade Bell with Miami next on the schedule? You simply cannot do it. Bell owners should be cautiously optimistic that he'll feast during this upcoming stretch, but there needs to be a heavy emphasis on the word "cautious."

Regardless, the simple truth is that the Jets have, somehow, more talent than five of their next six opponents, and even the sixth could be debated. If the offense is ever going to figure it out, the time is now. I'm betting on them.

Panic Meter: 2/5

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