The Baltimore Ravens signed running back Le’Veon Bell to their practice squad in a move that could have some big implications on their offense. However, another area that the Bell signing could impact is the fantasy football landscape. Any running back that comes into the Baltimore offense has a chance to contribute in a big way, even if they’re on the practice squad.
Bell has proven himself at the NFL level. Over the course of his NFL career he has almost 10,000 total yards to go along with 48 total touchdowns. While he’s not the player he once was when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he can play a role with the Ravens. That role would primarily be as a pass catcher, which is what Baltimore needed with the season-ending injuries to both J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill. With Bell likely contributing in that way for Baltimore, he has a much higher floor in points per reception (PPR) leagues as opposed to standard formats.
Before Bell can make an impact, he’ll have to show that he is a fit both on the field and off of it for the Ravens. If he can do that, he’ll likely be able to carve out a season-long role in Baltimore. However if he can’t, his time with the team might be short lived.
Bell also has a bit of upside when it comes to rushing the football. He joins the highest-volume rushing offense in the NFL, so there will be carries to go around if he can prove that he can make a positive impact with them. However, Bell will be competing with fellow running backs Gus Edwards and Ty’Son Williams for touches, which clouds his fantasy impact a bit.
Edwards is expected to receive the lion-share of the carries, and his fantasy stock doesn’t change much with Bell in the fold. The fourth-year running back is still one of the best sleepers in fantasy, and should be acquired in all formats if given the chance. Williams is the one who’s value takes a very slight hit with Bell’s addition, although for now he is still the far and away No. 2 back on the team and will most likely receive anywhere from 8-14 touches per game.
Overall, it will take some time to truly find out if Bell can be an impact player in the Ravens’ offense. Despite the fact that it might take a few weeks to see if the running back is a season-long fit in Baltimore, it’s worth taking a flyer on him if there’s an open roster spot on your bench, or if there’s a player in an IR slot. Don’t drop a high-upside player for him at this point, but he’s certainly a name to watch on the waiver wire if there’s no room on your fantasy team to roster him right now.
While Bell does have a long way to go before being considered fantasy relevant, another unfortunate injury to the Ravens’ backfield could catapult him into the No. 2 running back job in a very run-heavy offense. Even without an injury, Bell still has the chance to put up FLEX numbers, and could end the year as a RB3 or RB4 if all goes well. However, there’s the chance that it doesn’t, so don’t go all in for him just yet.