Fantasy Football Updates: Is Le’Veon Bell playing Week 10?

At this point, it seems that few are focused on the potential return of Le’Veon Bell to the Steelers. Pittsburgh knows that they have their RB of the future in James Conner. Bell has sat out the first nine weeks of the season to preserve his value for a future contract. He has to return at some point, though (right?), and the deadline for him to report and play this season is rapidly approaching. If Bell doesn’t report to the team by Tuesday, Nov. 13, he won’t be able to play (or get paid at all) this year. That would prevent him from gaining the accrued season he needs to hit free agency and it would drag over this drama between him and the Steelers for yet another offseason. And while all that is happening, fantasy football owners are getting anxious about his potential return about the stretch run leading up to the fantasy playoffs.

Bell’s return will likely occur soon, but when? We have the latest rumors about the situation. For more fantasy football coverage, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.

Week 10 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker

Is Le’Veon Bell playing in Week 10?

At this point, it seems highly likely that if Bell does get on the field this season, it won’t be until Week 11. The reason? The Steelers are on a short week for Week 10. They’re playing the Panthers at home on Thursday, so even if Bell was to return to the team, he wouldn’t get on the field in that quick of a turnaround. He hasn’t seen live NFL action since the playoffs last year, so throwing him to the wolves on a short week — even if he might have fresh legs — would be a foolish move.

With that said, James Conner owners can breathe a sigh of relief and know that they’ll be able to squeeze at least one more highly productive week out of their star back. In the past four games, he has at least 129 scrimmage yards in every contest and has scored seven times. The Steelers will keep leaning on him against the Panthers, so he could put up big numbers again.

MORE WEEK 10: Waiver wire targets | RB handcuff chart

The date to watch moving forward, as mentioned earlier, is Tuesday, Nov. 13. That is the deadline for Bell reporting. It seems probable that he will return to the team, as he said that he would play football at some point this season, but again, it’s hard to predict exactly what he’s going to do. It had been reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that he was going to return after the team’s Week 7 bye, but that turned out not to be the case. Frankly, we won’t believe Bell is returning to the Steelers until it actually happens.

One more interesting wrinkle about this whole situation is the fact that the Steelers may opt to use the transition tag on Bell next offseason, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. If the Steelers did that, it would allow them to match any offers Bell signs and could ultimately hinder his ability to navigate the free agency market. Essentially, they would be heading toward another stalemate and potential holdout, so that could have an impact on fantasy football next year. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves by looking at that.

In the short term, Bell should report to the Steelers before Nov. 13 — barring another shocking twist in this saga. But he will almost certainly be out Week 10 either way, so fantasy owners should keep him on the bench once again. And if he doesn’t return to the squad by the 13th, he can be cut.

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