Steelers Fantasy Football: Le'Veon Bell heads into 2014 with high ranking

Gregory Shamus

Rotoworld's Evan Silva puts Bell in his top 20 overall, but may be missing a piece or two that could land Bell into the top 10.

One year (13 games really) has boosted the stock of Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.

Bell, the Steelers' yards from scrimmage as a rookie record holder, was ranked No. 17 overall by Rotoworld's Evan Silva in terms of Fantasy Football production.

17. Le'Veon Bell -- I didn't like Bell on college tape, but I understand his real-life NFL value much better after one year. He's big enough to block edge rushers in pass protection. He's an excellent receiver. Bell's YPC average may never be prolific, but he's a chain-moving offense sustainer and excels in short-yardage situations. For the first time in a long time, Pittsburgh has continuity on the offensive line, and a running back capable of handling heavy workloads. LeGarrette Blount is only expected to see 5-8 carries per game. Still only 22 years old, the arrow is pointing up on Le'Veon.

Silva may be praising his receiving ability, but seems to discount the value of that as a production metric. I'm not entirely sure the description of excelling in short-yardage situations is merited at this point in his career, but the value he can bring from a yardage perspective in the receiving game shouldn't be ignored here.

Apply his targets over a 16-game season, he's a 55-catch running back. At roughly nine yards a pop, you're looking at an additional 500 yards through the air. And that's based on 13 games of him as a rookie.

Bell has a legitimate shot to crack 1,600 yards from scrimmage, and with a more consistent offensive line as well as a focus in the red zone, he could top 10 touchdowns as well.

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