With Christian Ponder held out of practice due to a rib injury, Matt Cassel will draw the start vs. the Steelers in London. Cassel will join Mike Glennon and quite possibly Matt Flynn, as QBs making their first starts of the season.
Inheriting an 0-3 team, Cassel will just have to prove he is a more viable option for the team going forward. Cassel was signed as insurance this past off-season for the inconsistent Ponder. Cassel comes off a season in which he largely struggled, passing for 1,796 yards, 6 TDs and 12 INTs in just 9 games last year with the Chiefs.
The Vikings have had a tough time replacing Percy Harvin, but for Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, and Cordarrelle Patterson, a change under center might just be the jump-start they need.
Joique Bell – “I’d like to throw a shout-out to the big homie Reggie Bush for donating to the Joique Bell touchdown club.” Bell wasted no time embarking on his Mike Tolbert-esque role from a couple years ago, as he vultured 2 Goal line TDs away from Bush. It appears the Lions are set to roll out Bell in goal line sets, leaving Mikel LeShoure empty-handed. Don’t forget the Lions chuck it more than just about anybody in the NFL, as Bell added 5 receptions for 67 yards in his impressive Week 1 performance.
Jonathan Dwyer – In 12+ team leagues, Dwyer’s actually not a bad pickup this week. Just over a week ago, the Steelers pulled the plug on Dwyer, as he made his rounds to the Giants and Patriots camps for tryouts. After losing LaRod Stephens-Howling for the season to a torn ACL (and Maurkice Pouncey), the Steelers wasted no time in bringing Dwyer back. With Issac Redman totaling a meager 16 yards on 10 touches, look for Dwyer to get a crack at the workload until Le’Veon Bell returns from injury. With the Steelers o-line in shambles, don’t expect more than a low-end flex play, as Dwyer is owned in just 10% of leagues.
After drafting Le’Veon Bell in seven of my current ten leagues, it’s no secret that I’m high on the guy. It’s also no secret that my moniker is the Heistman and now I’m letting the cat of the bag:
Le’Veon Bell gets some reps at Steelers training camp.
Le’Veon Bell is the biggest heist in current fantasy drafts.
Currently ranked 95th overall in ESPN leagues and 98th in Yahoo leagues, Bell could wind up flexing hard for savvy (shout out to Marc Savard) fantasy owners.
Not too shabby for a Rookie RB expected to shoulder the load for a competitive AFC team who emphasizes the running game.
Watching Bell play at Michigan State, I wasn’t overly impressed. Rather it was Giovani Bernard who caught my attention as the most impressive all-around back in college football last year. But there’s a lot to love about Le’Veon Bell, including his recent injury that seemed to cripple fantasy owners who had drafts prior to two weeks ago.
I know what you’re probably thinking – I’m just as bad as those insensitive Chiefs fans for when they cheered Matt Cassel getting injured. It’s just that since the news of Bell’s injury, it has made him more toxic than the radiation waves from Seabrook, New Hampshire. Except, Bell’s aroma resembles something more along the lines of Blake Lively’s perfume and not the power plant fumes from a historically incestual New England town.
In the NFL, it’s as much about the organization you’re drafted by as it is the opportunities you get or talent you have, and Bell is the beneficiary of all three.
The Steelers are a team looking to re-shape their identity. Coming up one drive short of a Super Bowl victory with backup Center Doug Legursky filling in for injured Maurkice Pouncey is a strong testament to the Steelers aptitude for running the ball. It’s no secret that the Steelers will look to revert back to their ground and pound offense this year, especially with the departure of Mike Wallace. The organization, led by GM Kevin Colbert, happens to be one of the best evaluators of talent, which is important when considering Guard David DeCastro will return this season after missing nearly all of last season with ACL and MCL injuries.
A few weeks ago, I was salivating over the prospects of landing Bell as my RB2 or Flex. Most owners aren’t recognizing there’s a diamond in the rough between rounds 8-10, whereas I’m drinking the Kool-Aid like it’s a fifth of fireball. Many owners closed the door on Bell’s rookie campaign, once Bell had apparently suffered what was originally diagnosed as a dreaded Lisfranc injury.
The initial conclusion was that Bell would miss 6-8 weeks. It was his fantasy death wish for prospective owners – but not for me. Monitoring Bell’s situation closely, it turns out the injury was considered more serious than it actually is. Speaking on the injury yesterday, Mike Tomlin reiterated his optimism with Bell’s progress, even hinting at Bell being able to participate in practice on a limited basis. Hearing the chances Bell returns around week two or three has been music to my ears.
As Yahoo! Sports’ Brad Evans pointed out back in July, if you give him a shot, your fantasy team could end up getting “Saved by the Bell.”