When It Is All Said and Done

Mike Shanahan likes to start up controversy. Especially at the running back position, which every year in itself is a fantasy football owners nightmare. We all know that Denver’s running game is consistently going to be great, but which back is it going to be? It was Terrell Davis for several years, but since him it has been a trademark for Shanahan to keep trying to find a running back.

Early in the preseason, Shanahan decided to name Mike Bell as his starting running back. Instant reaction was kind of surprising. Figuring that Bell was undrafted rookie free agent that was just battling for a roster spot. So as fantasy drafts started happening in August, all of the sudden Mike Bell was the hot choice to take in the fourth or fifth round.

Is this the biggest mistake going on in fantasy football drafts? Yes it is.

Shanahan is doing nothing but stirring up Tatum Bell. Tatum is too talented to not be the feature back or at least carry the ball significantly. He had a great yards per carry average last season, and an equally satisfying amount of touchdowns. The only reason Shanahan named Mike Bell the starter was to get Tatum that extra motivation to use his abilities to the fullest. There have been numerous reports about how Tatum’s work ethic is not where it should be. That move should have gave Tatum Bell the boost he needed. If you’ve noticed in the preseason, Tatum has been still getting carries, and in the last preseason game outdid Mike strongly.

It’s sad to say, but Shanahan and the Broncos have no investment for Mike Bell. His measly rookie free agent contract leaves him as an easy target to let go whenever. Sure, Bell can be utilized as a change of pace back if Ron Dayne can not do it. Bell is a solid back at running in the tier blocking system of the Broncos. He excelled quietly in the Pac-10 at the University of Arizona, and even had a 200 yard rushing game against UCLA last season. The biggest problem though with Mike Bell that won’t go away, is his fumbling problems. They plagued him at the collegiate level and back then you could see how it affected his mentality.

Entering with the Broncos he has been feeling great. All the media is on him with this great story of being an undrafted free agent to a starter. That assumption was too early, and horrible to put in the mind of this youngster. As soon as things start going down a bit for Mike Bell, he is guaranteed to lose his carries and that confidence will be sucked away dramatically.

This whole scenario is making fantasy owners look like fools by drafting Mike Bell as early as he has been going lately. Shanahan played this perfectly. He gave the media a story to devour a month before the NFL season, and in turn the media over played it to the consumer. Who’s Mike Bell was on every sports channel and that caused unnecessary inflation of his fantasy stock.

Either way you look at it, the Broncos running situation was ugly to evaluate for fantasy purposes. Unless you happened to nab both Bell’s than you very well may be stuck and hurting at running back all season long. Getting the compensation at your other positions will be impossible to make up for that poor draft move. Start working the waiver wire as star running backs and such openings appear.

After the first few weeks of the season Mike Bell is going to be unheard of.


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