Fantasy owners know this line well: not since
This year's answer to the Barry Sanders curse could be either veteran
Now that Jones and
Even though he is the "veteran," Bell is still relatively young (27). His legs have plenty of juice left and when he has been handed the starting job he's performed. Given all that, the Lions might be wise to start with Bell, and when Smith is ready to take over the job -- whether that happens in December or next August -- he can step in with little pressure.
As yet the Detroit coaches have done nothing but rave about their rookie back. "We asked what he does in the offseason and he said, 'I build my armor; I get in the weight room and build my armor for the season,'" Marinelli told local reporters in late May. "That's a physical back."
The real reason Smith will win the job has little to do with his refreshingly mature attitude or his success at Central Florida, but rather the simple fact that Bell has not shown in the past few years an ability to be a four-quarter-a-game, 16-game running back. Bell best fits Detroit, or any team for that matter, as a situational back, much like No. 3 back
There's a reason the Lions traded up on the second day of the NFL draft to acquire the highly-coveted first pick of round three. They were not confident in their stable of running backs, and Smith was an appealing Sunday selection. Now fantasy owners should wish to see him on the field on Sundays this fall. He is a powerful back with game-breaking ability who will complement the team's dynamic passing offense. Like most rookies, Smith cannot be a fantasy savior, but he can offer more scoring potential than Bell, Calhoun, Cason and anyone else the Lions can put out on the field.