Yet one could argue that improves the running back’s fantasy football outlook for the remainder of 2020.
Sure, the uncertainty stinks for those who own Bell. Not only is it unclear where he’ll sign, assuming he signs somewhere this season. There’s also no telling what his next team’s depth chart will look like, what he’ll face in terms of roster competition and whether he’ll be able to carve out a role significant enough to make him start-worthy in most formats.
Even if Bell lands in an enticing situation, where touches should be plentiful, fantasy owners will have to take a wait-and-see approach before inserting him into their weekly lineups. An adjustment period is inevitable, with Bell needing to learn a new offense on the fly.
Maybe that storm is too much for you to weather, particularly if your team is in desperation mode and you can’t afford to be patient. But we’d advise against dropping Bell from your fantasy squad right now, especially if you have the roster flexibility.
The running back market is difficult to navigate, as oftentimes you must think ahead rather than simply react to developments — injuries, releases, trades, suspensions, etc. — across the NFL. Otherwise, you’ll be at the mercy of the waiver wire, which in some leagues can be a barren wasteland for plug-and-play RBs.
Bell’s potential for fantasy relevance — perhaps as an RB2 or flex option — remains intact even as he temporarily toils on the NFL’s open market. And the reality is his next situation almost certainly won’t be worse than his most recent. The Jets’ offense is awful, no matter how you slice it, and his questionable usage within that outfit seriously capped his ceiling.
Now, will the 28-year-old turn back the clock and morph into the All-Pro he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers? Don’t bank on it. He hasn’t been a bona fide fantasy stud since 2017.
But consider Devonta Freeman, 28, just totaled 17 carries for 60 yards with a touchdown while adding two catches for 27 yards in Week 5, three weeks after signing with the offensively inept Giants.
Not eye-popping, obviously. But similar production seems reasonable — maybe even on the low end — for a player of Bell’s caliber moving forward based on situation/matchup, and that’s not someone you want to just throw away despite his current trip to NFL free agency.