Several weeks ago, reports surfaced that Le’Veon Bell was likely to return to the Steelers ahead of their Week 8 matchup against the Browns. Well, that time has come, and Bell still isn’t with the team. Bell is reportedly going to be out for Week 8, and that will shake up fantasy football rankings everywhere. And for fantasy football owners waiting out Bell’s return, things are starting to get more tense with the fantasy playoffs rapidly approaching.
Bell’s return will likely occur soon, but when? We have the latest rumors about the situation. For more fantasy football coverage, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
Week 8 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker
When is Le’Veon Bell returning to Steelers?
When ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler originally reported that Bell was going to return to the Steelers during their Week 7 bye, there was hope among Bell’s fantasy owners that there may be time to save their fantasy seasons. However, when Week 7 passes without Bell reporting to the team, there was a bit more tension and nervousness among that group. On Monday, their worst fears were confirmed, as it appears that Bell won’t be returning to the team ahead of their Week 8 clash with the Browns.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Bell wasn’t at the Steelers facility at the start of Week 8. There’s still a chance that Bell could return to the team — and it will almost certainly happen by Week 10 at the latest so that Bell can log an accrued season and hit free agency — but it doesn’t appear that will occur this week.
WEEK 8 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora has reported that Steelers executives think that Bell is more likely to sign with the team ahead of Week 9, but La Canfora also stated that the Steelers would prefer to trade Bell. He listed the Eagles as a potential suitor but also stated that conversations between the two teams haven’t advanced much. So, the possibility of trading Bell appears to be limited at best.
Once Bell does return, it’s unclear exactly what type of role he will play in the offense. Having not seen game action since the playoffs last year, it make take Bell some time to get up to speed. And considering how well James Conner has played, he could end up splitting carries the rest of the way with the second-year man out of Pittsburgh. There is just so much uncertainty surrounding Bell, and that won’t go away any time soon.
With all of that said, Conner is going to be given a chance to carry the load again for the Steelers against the Browns in Week 8. This may be his last week as a true workhorse, but fantasy owners should just ride that out and hope for the best. He is once again highly rated in our Week 8 RB rankings, so keep using him as a top back until Bell comes back.
The truth of the matter here is that nobody besides Bell knows when he will be returning. It should happen before Week 10 so that he can become a free agent after the season, but nothing is guaranteed. We’ll keep monitoring the situation moving forward. For now, it certainly doesn’t look like he will be on the field for Week 8, but Week 9 is a definite possibility.
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