Bell vs DJ: ADP Faceoff

ADP Faceoff

ADP Faceoffs 2019: Primed for a Rebound?

Le’veon Bell (NYJ) ADP 1.08 vs David Johnson (Ari) ADP 1.05 (according to Fantasy Football Calculator)

Two years ago, this may as well have been a debate for who to take with the top pick in PPR leagues. Heck, I had this debate last year with my number 3 overall pick. I guess only on a technicality, I chose right when I snagged DJ instead of Bell, as Bell didn’t play, but wow did I feel stupid at the end of the year watching Saquon go at 7. Live and learn, I guess.

This year I got lucky, as we added some new blood to our league. At the end of the selection process I ended up with 5th, instead of 12th like I should have. (Did anyone catch that subtle Championship Flex? I got a ring and everything.)

Anyway, here I sit, with the same conundrum for my 5th pick. Lets dig up the past a bit before we look onto next season:

  Le’veon Bell David Johnson
2018 *no games played, holdout with Steelers* 258 Rushes-940 yards 7 TDs- 3.6 YPC 76 targets-50 receptions 446 yards- 3 TDs
2017 321 rushes-1291 yards 9 TDs- 4.0 YPC       **First Team All-Pro** 106 targets- 85 receptions 655 yards- 2 TDs *Sat out with a wrist injury*
2016 261 rushes-1268 yards 7 TDs – 4.9 YPC   94 targets- 75 receptions 616 yards- 2 TDs 291 rushes-1239 yards 16 TDs– 4.2 YPC     **First Team All-Pro** 120 targets- 80 receptions 879 yards- 4 TDs
2015 113 rushes-556 yards 3 TDs – 4.9 YPC   26 targets – 24 receptions 136 yards 125 rushes- 581 yards 8 TDs– 4.6 YPC    57 targets – 36 receptions 457 yards- 4 TDs
2014 290 rushes/1361 yards 8 TDs/ 4.7 YPC   ** First Team All-Pro** 105 Targets- 83 receptions 854 yards – 3 TDs **Drafted in 2015**

So there are a few things that immediately jump out at me. The first one being that Bell is leading the way in yards per carry every single year they both played. Johnson however seems to be slightly ahead in terms of TDs.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that while Bell has (2) First Team All-Pro Awards, as compared to Johnson (1), Bell has been in the league since 2013, whereas Johnson was a rookie in 2015. Since Johnson entered the league, they each have one. Another interesting pattern I noticed was that Bell has not won a First Team All-Pro award in a year where Johnson played for all 16 games.

Overall as far as past achievements are concerned, I would have to give a slight edge to Bell. While Johnson has demonstrated that he can put up astronomical numbers when he is dominant, he fell flat last year under a bad offense, whereas Bell has been more consistently dominant over the years. The higher floor with Bell appears like a safer bet to me.

However, we cannot rely solely on past statistics to determine our choices for the upcoming season. (I’m looking at you, Dad.) We also have to determine who is in the better situation in the upcoming season. The following are five factors I chose to focus on that I think will make the biggest impacts in determining who should be selected first among Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson:

  Le’Veon Bell David Johnson
Division AFC East: The last NFL Power rankings had this as the least competitive division in the league. Bell only has one ‘elite’ in-division run defense with the Bills, and the Patriots will always be relevant, but overall the Jets are looking like the #2 Team in the division NFC West: Oof. The NFC West might have the best collective of run defenses in the league. Honestly, I’m afraid if I said any different Aaron Donald might eat me whole. Also the Cardinals figure to be the bottom team again this year.
Coaches Adam Gase is coming from Miami, where he has had mixed reviews as an offensive play caller. For what its worth, he turned Kenyon Drake and Jay Ajayi into fantasy relevant backs, and they aren’t nearly as talented as Bell Kliff Kingsbury is one of the great unknowns around the league this year. He was brought in presumably to harness the talents of Kyler Murray, and run an air raid style that he had moderate success with in college. In theory, this could lead to Johnson hitting the 1000-1000 mark in rushing/receiving yards.
Supporting Cast Bell has some help this year in NY. The Jets added a former all pro at guard, along with Jamison Crowder at slot receiver. They also have talented but still unproven QB Sam Darnold, Bell’s success will likely be dependent on Darnold’s growth and vice versa. Cardinals offense brought in some new blood in the draft this year. A rookie QB and some new rookie WRs hope to make their names known. The main contributors besides Johnson look to be soon to be 36-year-old Larry Fitzgerald and second year wideout Christian Kirk (who is on my fantasy WR breakout watch this year). Johnson’s success is going to largely depend on the early success of Kyler Murray.
Depth Chart/Expected Usage Jets have a talented RB corp behind Bell, with Ty Motgomery from GB, followed up by Bilal Powell, Eli McGuire and Trenton Cannon. Gase has also stated that Bell will not be overused like he was in Pittsburgh, but will still be heavily leaned on The Cardinals have an alright backup in Chase Edmonds, and then TJ Logan behind him. Ultimately, David Johnson will receive the vast majority of snaps because his backups don’t have much of an NFL track record. Look for Johnson to receive fewer carries but have more receptions this year
Question Marks You can’t read one article about Lev without hearing about the year off. On top of that, the Jets had a shaky line last year and need solid production out of Sam Darnold. Reports seem to be pointing to Sam’s development going well, and the Jets have made some upgrades to the line, so all in all I believe he will be alright if he can avoid injury Does the whole team count? Nobody really knows what to expect out of Arizona this year. A first time coach, a rookie QB, and an inexperienced laden team. The Cardinals could very well take the league by storm this year, but they could just as easily end up with another consecutive first pick. What does concern me, is they seemed to have neglected the offensive line, which was atrocious last season. Be careful Johnson owners.

Overall, I have to say I think I would take Bell over Johnson this year. The biggest question mark with Bell truly seems to be his year off, which many analysts believe could end up helping his longevity. His consistent dominance over time paired with what I believe is a better situation this season provides a substantially higher floor than DJ in my opinion. With that being said, if everything works out I wouldn’t be surprised to see DJ end up as the RB1 in PPR this year. I tend to be a little more conservative with my first pick however. So the winner of this ADP Faceoff is Le’Veon Bell.

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@fred_schell

Author: @fred_schell