The Kansas City Chiefs have signed Le’Veon Bell, which is not good news for fantasy managers who have Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Le’Veon Bell was not unemployed long after being cut by the New York Jets this week, and he landed in a great situation. The Kansas City Chiefs have signed him to a one-year, incentive-laden deal to bolster their running back depth.
The Chiefs drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of April’s draft, and Damien Williams’ decision to opt-out made the rookie out of LSU the No. 1 running back in the league’s best offense.
Edwards-Helaire has been a workhorse, with 81 carries and 27 targets (17 receptions) as he has had at least 70 total yards in all five games. He has not reached 65 rushing yards in a game since Week 1, but he’s still RB12 in full-PPR through Week 5 (RB15 in standard, RB13 in half-PPR).
A lot has been made of Edwards-Helaire’s goal line struggles, as he has rushed for -1 yards with zero touchdowns on nine carries in goal-to-go situations. The deeper data is also not good, but positive correction seems possible.
Bell has to go through COVID-19 protocols, so he won’t be playing next Monday night against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills enter Week 6 in the top half of the league in fantasy points allowed to running backs (19.9 per game; Yahoo! 0.5-point PPR scoring). But the workload Edwards-Helaire is seeing, over 77 percent of Kansas City’s running back opportunities thus far-carries and targets, sets a high floor for him for at least one more week.
Are Le’Veon Bell and Clyde Edwards-Helaire both sell-highs in fantasy?
Even in a dreadful full season with the Jets in 2019, Bell still had 66 receptions and topped 1,200 total yards. When he takes the field for the Chiefs, surely Week 7 against the Denver Broncos, he is an immediate threat to Edwards-Helaire’s passing game role. In the four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he played at least 12 games, Bell had at least seven rushing touchdowns with double-digit total touchdowns twice.
Bell will be a possible weekly flex play for those who have kept him on a fantasy roster. However, the ceiling isn’t high in a split that may still tilt a bit toward Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire’s upside will be lower, with his goal-line chances set to dwindle and a chunk of passing game work going Bell’s way. Assuming Bell shows that the Jets’ version of him was mostly a product of that situation, of course. I like to favor the guy getting the goal-line work in a backfield split. But that work may be split pretty equally, instead of Edwards-Helaire getting most of it behind an offensive line that has struggled in the run game and just lost guard Kelechi Osemele.
The buzz around Bell going to the Chiefs may create a sell-high opportunity for his fantasy managers. Edwards-Helaire now looks more like a RB2 for fantasy, with a weekly floor below that once Bell gets up to speed. A good showing in Week 6, against a Bills’ defense that has underachieved so far, would bolster an opportunity to sell high on Edwards-Helaire.
Bell chose an opportunity to win over everything to sign with the Chiefs. If nothing else, he has created an instant buzz-kill for Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy managers.