Assessing Jonathan Dwyer’s Value in the Wake of Bell’s Injury

By: Pete Davidson : August 22, 2013 7:49pm

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Rotobahn regulars know that we like big Jon Dwyer as a back. He’s far better than he gets credit for in the fantasy football community. Why Dwyer’s stock is so low, I can only guess at and doing so serves no real purpose here. The pertinent question is, what is he worth for fantasy now that Le’Veon Bell is out for 6-8 weeks?  And, is Bell really out that long?  Either way, Bell is no lock to be at top form at any specific time and lisfranc recoveries are tough to predict.

So what’s Dwyer worth?  Let’s take a quick look at the rest of the Steeler’s backfield.

  • Jonathan Dwyer - To us, his strengths are pretty obvious. He’s a decisive downhill runner who brings a lot of power and short area burst to the table. He runs with a wide base and can still bounce it outside with authority at times. Is he a great back? No, but there are a lot of very productive NFL backs with skill sets no better than Dwyer’s.
  • Isaac Redman - This is the Dwyer’s main competition, but Redman has shown over time that he’s best suited for a complimentary role. Redman is a very solid back, but he’s a role player.
  • LaRod Stephens-Howling - Another role player and a good one. At 180 pounds, LSH can’t be a primary ball carrier or goal line guy and cannot hold up in pass protection.
  • Baron Batch - A solid deep bench guy but not a starting option as we saw in 2012.

In Bell’s absence, the Steeler’s will get their production from this group, and, while I expect some kind of committee, I also expect the biggest share to go to Dwyer. Furthermore, if there is a back with a good chance to take bulk of the job, it’s Dwyer.

The key now is zeroing in on Bell’s recovery so we can get a feel for how long he’s going to be out and what the odds of him returning at a high level are. We’ll update as more information becomes available.

Right now, Dwyer is our best guess for fantasy value while Bell is out. So where do we look to draft him?

Dwyer should have flex value on most weeks and we feel he has a lot of upside if they let him get comfortable, which they never really did in 2012. Dwyer is a volume back and he’s in pretty good shape right now. The Steelers would be well-served to pound the rock with him until Bells gets back--mixing in Redman and Stephens-Howling as needed. That’s what we expect to see, but I’ve learned to never count on Todd Haley doing the sensical thing, so we’ll have to see how it all plays out.

This could break a few different ways, but we like Dwyer’s talents and we think he’s worth a look now. Adding both Dwyer and Bell in the middle rounds of large drafts is a pretty intriguing strategy from my point of view. The main reason for this post is to make the point that I think is being missed ... Dwyer has some game and we expect him to have the most value in Bell's absence.  Right now, his ADP has jumped to 143 and that's not bad at all.  It will likely continue to fluctuate as better info comes out on Bell.

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