With Sam Darnold returning to the lineup, the fantasy outlook was trending upwards for New York Jets RB Le’Veon Bell. But just when the offense was starting to find its stride, the Patriots come to town.
Bell will face one of the league’s stingiest defenses on Monday night at Met Life Stadium, putting a damper on his fantasy prospects. The New England Patriots are ranked third in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 73.7 yards per game on the ground.
So far this season, Bell has scored 54.5 fantasy points, ranking as the 26th best running back in the NFL. According to ESPN Fantasy Football, Bell is projected to score 13 points, predicting 66 rushing yards on 17 carries and adding five receptions for 37 yards. It would be an uptick from recent production, as Bell is only averaging 8.8 fantasy points per game over the last three weeks.
Read below for our take on whether or not you should keep Bell into your fantasy football starting lineup.
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The Last Time Bell Faced the Patriots
The last time the Jets faced the Patriots, New York had a third-stringer starting under center. New England rolled to a 30-14 victory back on September 22 as the Jets were forced to start Luke Falk at quarterback.
With the offense hamstrung by injuries, Bell was bottled up by the stout Patriots defense, gaining just 35 rushing yards on 18 carries and adding just four receptions for 28 yards. The 6.3 fantasy points Bell accrued against New England is Bell’s lowest output of the season thus far.
The Jets were held scoreless on offense during the game but were able to find the end zone in the second half thanks to their defense. A fumble and interception return for touchdowns were the only two scores of the game for Gangreen. It capped off a strange day for fantasy players and gamblers alike, as the Jets covered the massive 17.5-point spread thanks to the late scores.
Darnold Steadies The Ship For Gangreen
It should come as no surprise that Bell scored his first touchdown of the season last Sunday in Darnold’s first game back from injury. The touchdown came late in the first quarter when Bell took the handoff from Darnold and plunged into the end zone from two yards out.
The score was the beginning of what turned out to be an inspired effort on both sides of the ball by the Jets, who held on to defeat Dallas Cowboys 24-22. It was the first win of the season for New York. Bell racked up 11.3 fantasy points in the game, his highest-scoring game since week 1.
Le’Veon Bell in Week 7: Start or Sit?
This is not a great matchup for Bell, not only are the Patriots third in the NFL in rushing defense, but they also lead the league in scoring defense, allowing just 8.0 points per game. Having Darnold back under center and having the home crowd at Met Life behind him, I expect Bell to surpass the measley 6.3 fantasy points he mustered the last time these two teams met four weeks ago, but I do not expect Bell find the end zone on Monday night.
Prediction: 7.5 fantasy points (45 yards rushing, 2 receptions, 20 yards receiving)
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith