The new substance-abuse policy imposes a two-game suspension for a first-offense DUI. By landing on probation for a July 2014 DUI arrest arising from marijuana use, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is expected to be suspended for two games.
But there’s a catch that could result in a doubling of Bell’s expected punishment. The new substance-abuse policy makes a two-game suspension the standard penalty for a DUI arising from alcohol use. For violations of the law involving other substances of abuse, a first offense exposes the player to a suspension of “up to four” games.
It’s unclear whether the NFL will give Bell, who becomes the test case for the new substance-abuse policy, four games, three, two, or fewer.
Bell was fantastic last year, finishing #2 in standard formats and #1 in PPR. But his looming suspension is certainly a concern. Running backs typically miss at least 1-2 games due to injury, so a two-game suspension isn't a deal-breaker, but it doesn't make him an attractive #1 overall pick. If he's suspended for four games, his ADP will likely slip into the late 1st/early 2nd. It's tough to overcome the loss of one's 1st round pick for the first quarter of the season.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin’s end-of-season assessment of WR Martavis Bryant, who was inactive for the first six games of his rookie year only to come on to catch 26 passes for 549 yards (21.1 average) and eight touchdowns was on point. “I saw growth in him. And that growth came with snaps,” said Tomlin. “I would imagine he is going to get more opportunities to grow with those snaps. The thing is, he has to continue to grow and have an open mind. He has to acknowledge that he doesn’t have all the answers. Sometimes that is seemingly more difficult than it appears. He probably has less anxiety now than he did nine or 10 months ago because there are less unknowns. Sometimes that’s a good thing for men, and sometimes that’s a bad thing for men. I am going to be watching him very closely as he proceeds.” If Bryant remains the coachable individual he was in 2014, he can develop into a dynamic NFL receiver.
Bryant averaged 2.8 catches for 56 yards and 0.82 TD in the final 11 games of the season (including a 5-61-1 outing against Baltimore in the playoffs). Thanks to the incredible touchdown rate, those are high-end WR2 numbers in standard formats and solid WR2 numbers in PPR. What's more, he didn't play 60 percent of the snaps until the postseason, so there's upside here from a playing time standpoint. If he earns a starting role this offseason -- and it looks like he will -- he’ll be a middle round pick in 2015 fantasy drafts.
Steelers star running back LeVeon Bell is expected to be suspended for the first two games of next season as a result of his August arrest on marijuana charges, sources told ESPN NFL Insider John Clayton.
Bell was shaping up as the top overall pick in 2015 fantasy drafts, but a potential two-game suspension will cause his draft stock to take a hit. It's difficult to draft a player who is going to miss at least two games in the first round.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back LeVeon Bell will spend 15 months on probation in a first-offender's program stemming from his arrest on marijuana possession and DUI charges with former teammate LeGarrette Blount.
Bell may face a two-game suspension from the league as a first time DUI offender.
Ray Horton ran the defense last season but hasn't been fired, so he's likely to work under LeBeau in 2015.
"The knee is close to 100 percent," Bell said. "I'm probably about 85-90 percent, been able to run on it a little bit. So I'm getting back to work out a little."
Bell was the #2 RB (behind DeMarco Murray) in 2014, and held the #3 PPG in standard formats. He was #1 in both categories in PPR formats. He's a shoo-in to have a first round ADP in 2015 fantasy drafts.
Sunday, January 18, 2015, 5:13pm
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 11:46am
The Pittsburgh Steelers named Keith Butler as their new defensive coordinator Tuesday.
Butler was promoted to replace longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who resigned Saturday after being notified that he would not be given a new contract with the team.
The 58-year-old Butler had been Pittsburgh's linebackers coach since 2003.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger opted out of the Pro Bowl as a precaution, but the decision is not related to a larger problem with his knee, his agent said in an email to ESPN.com Friday night.
"Ben was instructed by team doctors to avoid strenuous activity due to inflammation in his knee, thus he will not play in the Pro Bowl," agent Ryan Tollner said. "His knee will not require surgery and he looks forward to an otherwise healthy offseason to improve with his teammates."
Roethlisberger should be good to go for OTAs and minicamp.
Calling it a “mutual parting,” Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau told the Urbana Daily Citizen on Saturday that he is resigning as defensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I’m resigning this position, not retiring,” LeBeau, 77, said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Citizen. “I had a great run in Pittsburgh. I’m grateful for all the things that have happened to me and thankful for all the support I had in Pittsburgh.”
The Steelers finished #18 in both points allowed and total defense.
One the NFL’s most-penalized defenders, New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner, could cross paths Saturday with the league’s most prolific receiver in terms of drawing pass interference penalties, Torrey Smith.
Smith led the NFL with 11 defensive pass interference penalties drawn for 229 yards during the regular season, according to Football Outsiders, and added a 12th for 29 yards against the Steelers in the wild-card game. The next closest receiver, Green Bay Packers star Jordy Nelson, drew six flags for 129 yards.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but again, it’s part of the game,” Smith said this week. “I don’t want to be known for a guy that’s just getting held all the time, but it just happens. If I knew why it kept happening … I guess most times it’s because I’m moving pretty good, and it kind of surprises them a little bit, so they grab you.”
Browner, a physical corner signed from the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason, has played just nine games for the Patriots. He was called for five defensive pass interference penalties this season, and 15 penalties overall.
Unfortunately, pass interference penalties don't count in fantasy football.
HC Mike Tomlin said that QB Ben Roethlisberger may have offseason surgery to clean up his knee.
This is not ominous news given the timeframe. Roethlisberger should be fine for minicamp/OTAs if he's simply having his knee "cleaned up."
Saturday, January 3, 2015, 7:03pm
Friday, January 2, 2015, 5:04pm
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 18. No worries here. Big Ben should be a quality start against a shaky secondary.
Friday, January 2, 2015, 5:04pm
Steelers RB LeVeon Bell (knee, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 18. With Bell out, Josh Harris should see the most touches in the Pittsburgh backfield. If he’s not able to run the ball effectively (which seems likely given Baltimore’s stout run defense), look for Ben Roethlisberger to air it out against a shaky secondary. Harris should be a decent cheap option in daily formats due to workload alone.
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