Ask not for whom the Bell tolls

I knew it was a risk on Monday night when I drafted him. Le’Veon Bell has missed training camp for the second straight year and has not reported to the Pittsburgh Steelers five days before their season begins.

My son, the commissioner of our fantasy league, warned me against picking Bell over Todd Gurley because of this possibility. I decided to take the risk, and I now face the reality of my top player may miss games.

The Steelers reportedly offered Bell $70 million over five years (or $14 million per season). Although the offer would have given Bell the largest multi-year contract of any running back in the NFL, he turned it down.

When the contract deadline expired, the Steelers placed the franchise tag on the greedy Bell for the second straight year. Their star running back cannot return to the team until he signs the $14.54 million tender.

Bell remained away from the Steelers for the start of a team meetings Wednesday. That’s the clincher for Bell’s playing status for Week 1 against the Browns. Unless he reports by Saturday, he won’t get paid this week.

This is what I call a lose-lose-lose situation. Bell loses $855,000 per contest, the Steelers lose the services of the top back in the NFL, and I lose my No. 1 draft pick. Now, I am now pondering who to start in his place.

I have Carlos Hyde and Kerryon Johnson on my bench, and one of them will replace Bell if the latter is not in the lineup. Although Hyde is ranked higher than Johnson, I will probably start Johnson against the Jets.

Tomorrow: Preparing for your first fantasy game.



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