Le'Veon Bell expected to lead Steelers RBs in fantasy value

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Rookie Le'Veon Bell will be starting the Steelers' second preseason game this week and should get every opportunity to earn the feature back role in Week 1. We break down the fantasy implications.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been looking for a consistent running game for several years now. After letting Rashard Mendenhall go in the offseason, they drafted Le'Veon Bell out of Michigan State in the second round to be their new feature back. Bell lit up training camp and the team is hoping he can play all three downs as a rookie.

More Steelers coverage at Behind The Steel Curtain

There is still some competition for the role, however. The Steelers held Bell out of the preseason opener against the New York Giants as a precaution, giving the other backs on the roster a chance to show something.

Isaac Redman got the start, but was barely a factor, getting two carries for seven yards before making way for the second team. Redman had 410 yards and two touchdowns on just 3.7 yards per carry last season.

LaRod Stephens-Howling was next, and he ended up leading the team with 40 rushing yards on seven carries. Stephens-Howling replaced Redman on passing downs, and his special teams value may help him keep a roster spot.

Jonathan Dwyer took over for Stephens-Howling. Dwyer led the Steelers with 623 yards last season, but his roster spot may be in jeopardy after the team signed Stephens-Howling and drafted Bell. He managed 15 yards on six carries and had two receptions.

In short, nobody had a convincing performance on Saturday. Bell returned to practice Monday and is expected to get the start against the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Fantasy impact: If Bell performs as well in preseason as he did in camp, this running back competition could be over well before the regular season starts. He has a good chance to lead all rookie running backs in fantasy points and is a solid RB2 candidate. Redman is the current favorite to be his main handcuff.

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