Fantasy Instant Debate: Who's the No. 1 overall pick?

Now that we've seen a couple weeks of preseason football, who's your No. 1 overall fantasy pick?

  • Alex Gelhar NFL Media Writer/Editor
  • A Lacy number

While I have Le'Veon Bell first in my rankings, I'm sure some my colleagues will argue passionately for him below, so let me make a case for Eddie Lacy instead. Lacy has finished sixth in fantasy scoring among RBs in each of his first two seasons, posting over 1,100 rushing yards each year with an average of 12 total touchdowns per season. In 2014, Lacy drastically improved as a receiver, scoring four touchdowns on receptions, while increasing his yards per reception from 7.3 to 10.2. I already thought there you could make a case to draft Lacy No. 1 overall prior to the Jordy Nelson injury, but now I think that case got a tad stronger.

With Nelson sidelined, Lacy becomes the second-most important skill position player on the team behind Randall Cobb. Most of Nelson's 151 targets will be split amongst Davante Adams, Jeff Janis, and Richard Rodgers, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Lacy notch over 50 catches in 2015 as well. His added emphasis in the passing game, as well as his already strong rushing game (he's looked somehow bigger and quicker in the preseason), could push Lacy to the top of the fantasy scoring mountain for his position. We've had a different running back lead the league in fantasy scoring in each of the last six years. What's to say Lacy can't make it seven in a row, as one of the most talented and crucial pieces in the league's highest-scoring offense from 2014? His low floor makes him a safe pick at No. 1 overall, but his high ceiling should have owners feeling good about calling his name first.

  • Marcas Grant NFL Media Fantasy Editor
  • Ring the Bell

Early in the offseason, I targeted Le'Veon Bell as the top overall fantasy pick. Due to some of the uncertainty surrounding Bell's then-three-game suspension -- combined with the return of Adrian Peterson to the practice field -- I moved Bell down a couple of spots. However, once we received the clarity of knowing that the ban would be reduced to just two games, I felt comfortable moving Bell back to the top of the list. There are certainly question marks with just about every running back that could go in the top five, but Bell comes with the fewest uncertainties. He's the youngest of the group, has the least wear-and-tear and doesn't have any real challengers for extra carries. Plus, Bell plays in an offense that could be among the most potent in the NFL this season.

  • Matt Franciscovich NFL Media Associate Fantasy Editor
  • For whom the Bell tolls

Despite his two game suspension to start the season, and the loss of Pittsburgh's starting center Maurkice Pouncey to an ankle injury that will likely require surgery, my first overall pick is still Le'Veon Bell. Bell is arguably the most dangerous dual-threat running back in the NFL, and his 2014 campaign proved it as he racked up over 2,200 yards from scrimmage. The only thing that might have left (greedy) fantasy owners wanting more a season ago was Bell's touchdown drought: He didn't score at all from Week 2 through Week 6 and didn't score a rushing touchdown from Week 2 through Week 10.

Bell recently said, "Last year wasn't even close to being my best," and that he feels "quicker" and "a lot more explosive now." If all that is true, and by all means it very well could be, there's no question that the Michigan State product is worth the No. 1 overall pick. He also said that the Steelers plan on using him in more receiver packages this season, so it's not out of the question to expect at least another 1,200 rush yards and over 1,000 receiving yards from Bell in 2015. Throw in somewhere around 10 touchdowns and you're looking at likely the most valuable running back in all of fantasy.

  • Matt Harmon NFL Media Associate Fantasy Editor
  • Bell still the one

It's always been Le'Veon Bell for me, even when he was slated to miss three games with a suspension. What we saw from Bell last season was frankly an insane ceiling. The pace he maintained over the second half of the season was a historically ridiculous run in PPR leagues. I want that trump card advantage over the field when it comes to my RB1. I have confidence in myself that I can compile a team that can withstand the loss of Bell for now only two games. If anything, seeing DeAngelo Williams looking spry and healthy in the preseason has only hardened my stance on Bell as the top pick. Williams is an obvious target to get through the Bell-less weeks, but you could also opt for a strong early season pick that might fade down the stretch, such as Rashad Jennings and Tre Mason. Fantasy football is a weekly game, and less about season-long point totals. As such, losing Bell for a portion of the season is less important than securing a weekly trump card at the game's most important position. You can sacrifice two games for that.

  • Adam Rank NFL Media Writer
  • Leather and Lacy

Oh man, I hate the pressure of the first overall selection. As I see it, there are four running backs at the top worthy of being the top pick (Lev Bell, Eddie Lacy, AD and Jamaal Chuck). I'd rather sit at the four hole and let somebody take the pressure off of me. This didn't work out too well for me last year when you consider I had the fourth pick and landed Peterson. Knowing my luck this year, somebody would grab Antonio Brown in front of me and leave me with another pickle.

But if I had to pick one guy, I'd go for Lacy. I was rather smitten with him headed into the season. I even flirted with the idea to make him the top selection but couldn't quite do that. But my perspective changed once Jordy Nelson went down. The immediate talk surrounded which Packers receiver would step up. But we shouldn't overlook how Lacy evolved as a pass catcher last year. I'm not saying he's going to have 80 receptions, but he will have enough to surge past Bell as the top guy.

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