Fantasy impact of potential Le'Veon Bell suspension

Well, here we go again ...

One season removed from missing 10 games, including two for a suspension, Le'Veon Bell is now facing a four-game ban for skipping drug tests. Unless there's a successful appeal, Bell is no longer in the mix as the No. 1 overall running back ... Or the No. 1 overall pick in fantasy drafts.

Bell has already missed a combined 13 games in his young career. Furthermore, he's started all 16 games just once (2014).

So what's the fallout?

First off, Todd Gurley is now my new No. 1 running back and the first player in my Top 200. The suspension solidifies Antonio Brown's spot as one of the first two overall picks (I have him No. 2 in standard leagues and No. 1 in PPR formats). It also means that DeAngelo Williams has to be considered an RB1 during the length of Bell's absence.

Last season, Williams thrived in Pittsburgh's offense as the lead runner. He finished as a top-5 fantasy back despite barely touching the football for the six games Bell that was active. Now that he'll start the first four games, I can see Williams coming off the board as soon as the sixth or seventh round.

For those owners who still decide to draft Bell, Williams is also a virtual must-have handcuff to start against the Redskins, Bengals, Eagles and Chiefs.

So what's a safe spot to pick Bell?

I doubt that he will come off the board in Round 1 of a 10-team league, especially with the rise of the wide receiver position. However, I couldn't pass on him in the second stanza. I'd just have to make sure to target Williams and/or have backfield depth.

If there's a silver lining here, it's that Bell will now have a lot more time to come back from last season's knee problems. What's more, the ban almost guarantees that he'll be 100 percent when he gets back on the gridiron.

Still, the news of this suspension is disappointing for one of the league's best fantasy players.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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