When it comes to building a dominant dynasty team, identifying young talents with immense potential is paramount. One player who potentially fits this is wide receiver David Bell of the Cleveland Browns. In this article, we will explore the compelling reasons why taking a flier on him could be a wise move.
David Bell's journey to the NFL began at Purdue University, where he showcased his exceptional skills and emerged as a dominant force. Let's take a closer look at his college stats and metrics:
According to Playerprofile.com, in college Bell had a dominator rating of 35.1% (anything over 30% is considered very good). Additionally, even though he only played 6 games in his sophomore year, he still amassed over 600 receiving yards, and was even better his junior year (93 receptions, 1,286 yards, 6 touchdowns). This translated into being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 3rd round of the 2022 NFL draft at #99 overall.
Despite the solid draft capital, Bell’s collegiate production didn’t translate very well in his rookie year with the Browns. Even though he was on the field for almost half (47%) of the team’s snaps and was ranked #19 in the league in snaps taken in the slot (a testament to his college days and how it appears the Browns would like to use him), it only translated into a 12% target rate and 7% target share. As a result, his production suffered, as he only recorded 24 receptions for 214 yards for the entire season. Some of this could’ve been due to DeShaun Watson’s suspension, as after the team’s week 9 bye Bell ended up as no worse than WR84 on a weekly basis. However, even though he was on the field more than other WR’s in this draft class (such as Skyy Moore), for whatever the reason the production simply wasn’t there.
To muddy the waters further, thus far the team has acquired additional WR’s in Elijah Moore via trade and veteran speedster Marquise Godwin via free agency. On the surface, it appears that the Browns are looking to move in a different direction with the young wideout.
There are, though, some underlying positives which imply that the Browns consider him a long-term piece and someone you may want to look at for a bench spot on your roster.
First, Bell possesses the athleticism, size, and versatility necessary to thrive in the NFL. His combination of speed, agility, and body control allow him to create separation from defenders and make difficult catches. This versatility makes him a valuable asset in various offensive schemes and ensures his ability to contribute in multiple roles. This was proven last year when he played most of his snaps from the slot, a role in which the Browns seem to be inclined to keep him in.
Second, his collegiate Red Zone Dominance. Throughout his college career, he displayed an ability to excel in high-scoring situations, using his size, physicality, and route-running precision to make contested catches and find the end zone consistently. This typically translates well into valuable fantasy points as red zone opportunities often lead to touchdowns. He didn’t seem to have many of these opportunities last year, despite being on the field as much as he was, but should have more this time around with Watson throwing to him all year.
Third, Donovan People-Jones is an upcoming free agent a year from now, and it’s highly doubtful the Browns will retain his services, as he may command more on the open market than they’d like to invest. Amari Cooper’s contract also expires within the next two years. Should those two receivers leave, it opens the door for Bell to be at worst the #3 receiver on the team.
Fourth, Bell is all but a lock to retain a spot on the roster this year after training camp concludes at the end of August, as both the GM and the coach still seem to be high on him. Generally speaking it typically takes young wide receivers at least two years in the league before we have an idea as to how productive they will be.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:
“Bell is still in great standing with the club and will make the 53-man roster,” Cabot wrote on June 22. “[Head coach] Kevin Stefanski loved him coming out of Purdue last season and still sees the same tremendous potential in him as a slot receiver in the mold of Jarvis Landry.”
Fifth, even though he is currently #4 on the depth chart, all it takes is one injury or ineffectiveness to one of the starters and he would be in the starting lineup once again.
With this in mind, dynasty fantasy football provides the opportunity to invest in young wide receivers with long-term potential and in most leagues is often a good strategy for success. David Bell possesses the traits, skills, draft capital, and collegiate track record that indicates he has the potential for sustained success in the NFL.
While the odds of him becoming another Justin Jefferson are slim to none, there is real potential for him to ascend in the Browns offense and be a WR 3/4 (with upside) for your fantasy roster, especially within the next 2-3 years. Depending on the size of your league and bench spots, he could be worth a gamble.
While I wouldn’t give up the farm, if you can acquire cheaply via the waiver wire or something small such as a 4th or 5th round rookie draft pick or as the 3rd/4th piece in a package trade, he could easily pay-off in a major way as soon as this year.