There’s no question that Le’Veon Bell is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. He was amazing in high school and college, and he’s been amazing in the pros ever since the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed him in the second round of the 2013 draft. Bell has been good for 4.9 yards per carry each of the last two seasons, and he’s the +300 favorite at press time to amass the most rushing yards in the league this year.

But how many carries will Bell get? Between health and suspensions, Bell appeared in 18 regular-season games over the past two years, and he enters the 2017 campaign after having surgery in March to repair a groin injury he suffered during the playoffs. On top of that, Bell is in contract negotiations with the Steelers, and could end up holding out until deep into August. That’s a lot of ducks that have to line up if Bell is going to be worth a gander on the NFL props market.


Elliott Mess

At least Bell isn’t wrapped up in any court cases that we know of. Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (+350) is the NFL’s rushing king after putting up 1,631 yards in his incredible rookie season, but his availability for Week 1 is in doubt; Elliott managed to avoid charges after an altercation at a Dallas bar on Sunday, but he’s also under league investigation for a 2016 domestic incident. Even if Elliott doesn’t get suspended, the downgrades on the Cowboys’ offensive line could limit his running room this year.

That leaves a long list of second-and third-tier contenders for the rushing title. No. 3 favorite David Johnson (+1000) of the Arizona Cardinals could be the best of the bunch after leading the league in touches, all-purpose yards and yards from scrimmage last season. Johnson is the cornerstone of Arizona’s offense, which also features aging-but-reliable QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald. Head coach Bruce Arians has already declared he wants to give Johnson 30 touches a game this year; however, that includes passes, which will eat into Johnson’s rushing total.

Could Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi (+1600) be the answer? Ajayi had a breakout sophomore season in 2016, taking over the top job in Week 5 and cracking the 200-yard mark three times. Ayaji doesn’t catch too many passes, and the Dolphins have made improvements to their offensive line. There should be ample betting value on Ajayi after Miami avoided the national spotlight last year. Now, can he stay healthy?


*Odds as of July 21, 2017