Cover Photo: T
The Le'Veon Bell holdout continues. Heading into the Steelers bye week, it appeared Bell would report. He did not. Then it seemed like he would report to the Steelers after the trade deadline at the end of October once he was sure he would still be on the Steelers for the remainder of the season.
Well, the trade deadline has passed and Bell still isn't at the facility.
As the #Steelers get ready to begin meetings for another Wednesday of a work week, RB Le’Veon Bell is not present. He wasn’t going to show up before the trade deadline, ensuring he’d remain on the team... but he didn’t show up after, either. Still James Conner’s show.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 31, 2018
If it's true that Bell never had any intention of showing up before the trade deadline, then this is just day one of his real holdout. But he only has about two more weeks of leverage before he absolutely has to show up.
Le’Veon Bell is back on the clock. Staying away from the Steelers as the trade deadline passed means Bell has exactly two weeks to report. If he doesn’t show by Nov. 13, he can’t play this season. Bell fully intends to suit up in 2018 but he hasn’t told the Steelers of his plans.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 30, 2018
The Tuesday following Week 10 is the final date that Bell can join the Steelers and still get paid for his efforts this year. It's also the last day he can show up and become a free agent next season. Given that he wants to get a new deal starting in 2019 he'll almost certainly show up on or slightly before November 13.
However, he's not there for Week 9, which means that James Conner is still the No. 1 running back in Pittsburgh and a top fantasy option. Conner is fresh off a 35.7 point outing against the Browns, rushing for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns while catching 5 passes for 66 yards. It was Conner's third 30+ point game of the year. It was also his third straight game with two rushing touchdowns.
The #Steelers, w/ James Conner as their starting RB, are averaging 8 more ppg and have a higher 3rd down % (43.2 to 36.0) and higher red zone % (75.0 to 42.3) than they had thru 7 games last year w/ Le’Veon Bell at RB. How is Conner’s production affecting Bell’s perceived value? pic.twitter.com/rxNh6cCUh9— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) October 31, 2018
While the Ravens pose a tough matchup for Conner and the Steelers, Conner will at least still be getting all the touches out of the backfield with Bell out. So up until Bell reports, Conner remains one of the best fantasy options in the NFL.
When Bell returns, we'll just have to wait and see how the Steelers decide to handle the starting running back job. But if Conner keeps playing this way, he'll continue to earn touches, regardless of who's on the Steelers roster.
Get $5 with your first deposit on FanDuel. Join Now.
Ian McCafferty is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ian McCafferty also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username itmccaff. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.