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Every week for the rest of the preseason, we’re going to debate two players in our rankings that we disagree on. The goal is to help you make a decision you might be struggling with on Draft Day.
To help break the tie, we’re using the Google Assistant, which is here to help with your Fantasy advice this season. You can talk to CBS Sports on your Google Assistant to get up-to-date projections to solve every tough decision.
And that’s what we did. Just start with, “Hey Google, talk to CBS Sports,” and you’ll have the answer you need.
For this week, Dave Richard and I are debating the No. 2 Fantasy running back in non-PPR leagues between Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott. Bell is my guy, and Richard is taking Elliott. But clearly we like both.
Here’s our arguments, and then you can see what the Google Assistant decided.
Eisenberg’s case for Bell
I’m not sure this would be a debate if Bell were with the Steelers this preseason instead of holding out during training camp because of his contract. He’s clearly the No. 2 running back in non-PPR leagues behind Todd Gurley, and you can argue he’s the No. 1 option in PPR based on his role in the passing game.
But we’re talking non-PPR here, and Bell scored double digits in Fantasy points in this format in 11 of the 15 games he played in 2017. And this was after a slow start for his first two games, which was likely the result of last year’s holdout.
Going back to 2016, Bell has averaged 17.4 Fantasy points in a non-PPR league in his past 27 games, and he should continue to produce at that level again this season. He’s a candidate for 75-plus catches, which he’s done in three of the past four years, and he should get around 300 carries.
I’m not concerned about his workload since he’s just 26, and he should be motivated for another big year in trying to prove he deserves a long-term contract. Pittsburgh should be explosive on offense — the Steelers were No. 8 in total points in 2017 (25.4 per game) and No. 3 in total yards (377.9 per game) — and has a stout offensive line.
If I were to pick third in a non-PPR league, give me Elliott all day. But that’s only after Gurley and Bell come off the board.
Richard’s case for Elliott
If you like consistent, explosive running backs coming off of sub-300 touch seasons, you will love Elliott. Through two seasons, he’s averaging 4.6 yards per run, 10.9 yards per catch and a touchdown per game.
That, as we say in the industry, is good.
He’s the centerpiece of an evolving Dallas offense, working behind one of the league’s top offensive lines. His schedule is fair, but his workload (24.9 touches per game) will give him oodles of chances to put up numbers.
And it’s numbers he’s put up — in 25 career games he’s failed to deliver 10 or more Fantasy points once. Once! He’s productive and safe, a rare combo in Fantasy Football. Take him at No. 2 overall.
The Google Assistant says …
“Take Le’Veon Bell. He is projected to be the No. 2 running back in standard leagues and No. 1 in PPR leagues. Ezekiel Elliott is projected to be the No. 4 running back in both standard and PPR leagues.”
So what sleepers should you snatch in your Fantasy Football draft? And which huge running backs do you need to jump all over? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara’s huge breakout last season and find out.