We face these decisions constantly. Chicken or steak? Coke or Pepsi? Beer or hard cider (maybe not that one). Boneless or bone-in wings? Anyway, the same thing happens in fantasy football with every round of every draft. Player A or player B? We sit and ponder, looking at all the statistics, strength of schedule, looking for any recent news that may sway our decision. This happens until the seconds nearly expire on our clock, then we have no choice but to make our selection. I am hoping with this ADP Duel series to pull together actionable information that will help you and I make our draft day decisions a little bit easier.
ADP, easy as 1, 2, 3 . . .
When you look at the ADPs of these two high-end running backs on Fantasy Football Calculator, I don’t think you could pick a pair of players that are any more similar.
Le’Veon Bell vs. Giovani Bernard- Game Splits
Looking at these splits there is some significant differences in terms of usage. Bernard is used mostly as a change of pace back in the Bengals offense. This shows because he only averaged 10 carries per game. His rushing attempts didn’t fluctuate much when he faced better rush defenses, but his receiving targets did slightly increase.
Contrary to Bernard, Bell is a workhorse and receives the majority of his teams touches. He carried the ball 18 times a game, he’s targeted in the passing game, and he scored eight times in 13 games. Bell can do it all. Bell’s rushing yards hardly changed against better rush defenses and his fantasy points dropped less than Bernard’s.
Le’Veon Bell vs. Giovani Bernard- Heatmap
Although it should come as no surprise, you can see right away that Bell receives a significantly higher workload than Bernard in terms of the rushing aspect. Aside from games played, Bernard only edged out Bell in receptions, receiving yards, and yards per carry. It should be noted that the differences in receptions and receiving yards are very minimal.
Le’Veon Bell vs. Giovani Bernard- AYA
The AYA app is an interesting tool at RotoViz. Justin Winn looked at some AYA red flags and all-stars earlier in the year. AYA stands for adjusted yards per attempt, a variation of yards per attempt that factors in touchdowns and interceptions. What this app does is it lets you see how efficient a quarterback is when throwing to a given target.
I wouldn’t typically use the AYA app when looking at RBs because I think receiving for RBs tends to be pretty random, especially for TDs. However, these two backs are involved quite a bit in the passing game, so I thought it would be interesting to at least include it into this analysis.
Le’Veon Bell vs. Giovani Bernard- RB Similarity Scores
I put each RB into our handy RB Sim Score app and Bell (above) has a healthy projection in standard and half/full PPR. I would feel comfortable drafting him in any type of league.
Bernard (above) on the other hand doesn’t have the best outlook. He’s harder to predict because of how he’s been used in the Cincy offense. Their ADP says they’re similar, but their projection says otherwise. A lot of Bernard’s current valuation seems to be counting on a big change in usage. That might happen, but it’s not a guarantee that he’ll get it, or succeed with it.
Questions- Le’Veon Bell
– Will Dri Archer hurt Bell in the receiving game?
– Bell’s yards after contact is 1.58. Is this cause for concern?
Questions- Giovani Bernard
– How will their usage shape out with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Jeremy Hill, and Bernard?
– Are the lack of carries a concern?
“I don’t know if it’s the workload that’s going to get more, it’s more the type of plays that we’re going to run with him in the game,” running backs coach Kyle Caskey told the website. “We’re going to expand his portfolio of plays and find different ways to get the ball in his hands in space. You get the ball in Gio’s hands in space, he’s dangerous.”
This was a tough one for me. I love both of these players and if the decision ever came to me on draft day, I think I would have to side with Le’Veon Bell. James Todd has 3 reasons why he could even be your top RB. I don’t believe Blount or Archer will be much of a threat to Bell’s workload. If there is a timeshare of any sort, I don’t think it’ll be a big enough split to eat into his value. The situation in Cincy is quite different. Jackson loves to utilize multiple RBs and Giovani Bernard isn’t an every down back. He puts up numbers, but they’re often tough to predict. Bell is the victor here.