Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 7: Le'Veon Bell

Bob Martin-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers' new feature back has a favorable matchup this week versus the Ravens defense at home. We break down the fantasy implications.

Le'Veon Bell's insertion into the Steelers lineup was a much anticipated one among fantasy owners, and he has turned in a mixed bag of performances since. A two-touchdown display versus the Vikings in his NFL debut got owners excited, but they only had their hopes dashed the ensuing week after barely averaging two yards per carry.

The bruising back has also been a factor in the passing game, catching seven passes out of the backfield to pad his yardage totals. Though he has totaled a conservative output since returning, it's a massive upgrade over the product the Steelers previously displayed, ranking last in the AFC in average rushing yards per game.

Fantasy Spin: This week, Bell has the benefit of playing a Ravens defense that has been gashed on the ground in recent weeks. Though they only allowed 22 rushing yards to the Dolphins in Week 5, they were only tested 11 times despite being in a closely-contested game. Prior to then, the Ravens allowed 203 rushing yards to the Bills on the road, and most recently let Eddie Lacy average 5.2 yards per carry on the way to a total of 120 yards.

Recent teams have succeeded running the ball on the Ravens when they commit to doing so, and there's no reason to believe that the Steelers will abandon it in a game that is likely to be a slugfest. The Ravens defense is not as stout defending the run as its preceding reputation suggests, and if you remove the 22-yard shutdown of the Dolphins, they have allowed an un-Ravenlike average of 113 rushing yards per game.

Bell will likely be the biggest beneficiary when facing a front-seven in its transitional phase, and fantasy owners ought to take notice. Start him this week as a solid RB2 option, and it shouldn't be to anyone's surprise if he adds to his touchdown total.

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