Rumor has it, most likely started by Le'Veon Bell himself, that the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to hand LeGarrette Blount the goalline carries this season. The Steelers also added Dri Archer via the NFL Draft out of Kent State. Can Le'Veon Bell match his rookie numbers (13 games) of 244 carries for 860 yards, plus 45 receptions 399 yards and 8 TDs?
The Steelers finished 28th in the NFL in rushing yards in 2013 with just 86 yards per game. They started the season by gaining just 31 yards on 15 carries against the Tennessee Titans. LaRod Stephens-Howling led the team in yards with 19, Issac Redman led the team in carries with 7. The following week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Felix Jones led the team with 10 carries for 37 yards. The team rushed for 44 yards on 16 carries. After two weeks the Steelers had gained just 68 yards on 31 carries.
Week 3 featured Jonathan Dwyer against the Chicago Bears, and he mustard just 39 yards on 12 carries. Jones added 34 yards on 7 carries and the team totaled 80 rushing yards on 21 attempts, raising their season total to 148 yards on 52 carries and no touchdowns.
Insert Le'Veon Bell in a Week 4 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, and even though the Steelers fell to 0-4 before their BYE week, Bell rushed for the Steelers first 2 rushing TDs on the season, picking up 57 yards on 16 carries. The team gained just 77 yards on 21 carries.
BYE Week Totals - 0-4, 73 carries, 225 yards, 2 TDs
Bell averaged 18 carries a game last season and it was not until Week 16 that he rushed for 100 yards, doing it against the Green Bay Packers on a season high 26 carries. He did finish the season strong, gaining 405 yards over the Steelers last 5 games on 101 carries, good enough for 4 YPC, and scored 4 touchdowns.
Le'Veon Bell was a Top 10 RB to finish the fantasy football season.
Ben Roethlisberger is sans Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery this season and will have to rely even more heavily on Antonio Brown, while building chemistry with Lance Moore and Markus Wheaton. It would behoove the Steelers to lean on the run game in 2014.
Pittsburgh added LaGarrette Blount and Dri Archer this offseason, and while the bulk of the carries will still be Bell's, the goalline touches might go to Blount and those 43 receptions out of the backfield could end up in 5'8 Archer's hands.
Blount scored 7 touchdowns on just 153 attempts for the New England Patriots last season, including 4 in the Pats final two contests.
Archer enters the NFL as a change of pace back, and will even lineup as a WR this season. He could be a pain in the side of Bell owners.
Bell is currently being drafted near the middle to end of the 2nd rounds in fantasy football drafts, a top 20 overall pick as well as a top 10 RB. PPR players should not be as worried about Archer as standard format leagues should worry about Blount!