Le’Veon and Julio, Former Fantasy Football Gods

Le'Veon Bell and Julio Jones

Julio and Le’Veon were once fantasy football gods. In 15 years of playing fantasy football, I have unique memories of each player at our live preseason drafts. But time, NFL coaches, and especially fantasy managers, wait on no one. The NFL is the Not For Long for a reason.

The Sad, Strange Tale of Le’Veon Bell

The Baltimore Ravens announced yesterday that they dropped former superstar running back Le’Veon Bell, who was just signed by the Ravens in early September. Bell, 29 years old, rode to prominence as a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013. A patient runner, Bell glided behind his offensive line like directing a symphony for 5 seasons as a Steeler and amassed 5336 yards and 35 touchdowns across 62 games. An elite pass catcher, Bell added 312 catches and 2660 yards as a Steeler.

Then 2018.

It was the first year my league shifted to an auction draft and Kyle put Bell on the draft board for $67, a hefty percentage of a $200 budget. But no one chastised Kyle because Bell just came off a first team All-Pro season with 321 carries, 85 receptions, and over 1900 all-purpose yards. Stud, workhorse running backs aren’t cheap in fantasy football. Or in real life.

We all knew on this late August afternoon that Bell, embattled in a contract dispute with the Steelers, had yet to show to training camp. Imagine our surprise, and especially Kyle’s, when Le’Veon never answered the bell. He sat out the entire season. I’m still mystified as to why Kyle didn’t pick up Bell’s handcuff, James Conner, for insurance, but I obliged for $1, the sweetest buck I’ve ever spent.

Bell, however, never found success again as he enjoyed with the Steelers. He returned in 2019 to play for the Jets, compiling 789 rushing and 461 passing yards. Early in the 2020 season, the Jets released him and the Chiefs picked him for 9 lackluster games, and this year he bounced to the Ravens for 5 games. At 29, a senior citizen for an NFL running back, Bell needs a miracle or a really RB desperate team to resurface. 

I’d love a year off from work. For Le’Veon Bell, that didn’t work out so well.

Drop Julio? Say It Ain’t So

In his 11th NFL season, Julio currently sits as the 17th wide receiver on the all-time NFL career leader board and has assumed the top spots on fantasy draft boards from day one until this year. Just 2 years ago, The Waterboys ran Julio up to $77 in our auction draft. Now at 32 years old and consistently hampered by injuries over the last couple of years, fantasy football sites are committing what seems like heresy – advising fantasy managers to drop Julio. Do you mean he’s not worth a spot on my bench? I answered that question recently and decided, nope and I pushed him off my bench. He’s started 6 out of 10 games, has 21 receptions, 0 TDs, and 44.1 fantasy points. That ranks Julio as WR #75 on the year. Olamide Zaccheaus has provided fantasy managers with better production. Who?

Exactly…

Le’Veon and Julio won a lot of fantasy games for managers over the years, but time rushes on for everyone. Well, for everyone except Tom Brady, the GOAT and still a fantasy god. 

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