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Cincinnati Bengals Fantasy Football Outlook: What Players Have Value?
By James Mummert
The Cincinnati Bengals continued their winning ways in the preseason, beating the Tennessee Titans 27-19 in the second preseason game of the year. The offense continued to show signs of improvement, and the first team defense was in mid-season form, giving up only three points in the first half. With many fantasy football drafts taking place around the country, let’s take a look at who on the Cincinnati Bengals has fantasy value. This is written with a standard scoring, ten team league in mind, unless otherwise noted.
Andy Dalton, Quarterback
Dalton is entering his third year in the league, and he continues to show signs of improvement in his game. This was highlighted by a great game against the Titans Saturday, as Dalton went 9-of-14 for 115 yards and a touchdown. Having A.J. Green back will certainly help his cause, and if Jermaine Gresham can stay healthy and on the field, look for Dalton to be a solid QB choice. If your strategy is to go for one of the top names (Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning), drafting Dalton for your bye week would be a great choice. With many fantasy analysts pegging him as a QB sleeper this year, you should be able to grab him in the later rounds. I see Dalton finishing anywhere from the top 10-15 for QB scoring.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Running Back
Green-Ellis did not play in the second preseason game due to “Coaches decision.” The “Law firm” had a solid reputation while in New England when it came to ball security. In fact, in his four seasons with the Patriots, he never fumbled in his 510 regular season rushing attempts. Last year in Cincinnati, he coughed the ball up three times, losing two of them. He did rush for over 1,000 yards with six touchdowns, but he lacks the explosiveness to consistently produce big fantasy numbers. I truly believe he will be splitting time with Giovani Bernard, which in fantasy football can mean certain doom with output. Draft “The Firm” at your own risk. He should start the year as a solid RB2 option, but that could be in question as the season moves forward.
Giovani Bernard, Running Back
Bernard is starting to turn heads after his game against the Titans. After a lackluster effort in the opener against the Falcons, Bernard had 59 total yards and a touchdown. In fact, in four straight plays he went for rushes of nine, nine, seven and then finished with a 22-yard reception from Dalton. Barring any setbacks, I think by the end of the year Bernard is the starting running back. With his pass-catching ability, it improves his fantasy value and he could be a solid flex choice with the upside to be a RB2 by year’s end.
A.J. Green, Wide Receiver
Green, who like Dalton is entering his third year, showed signs nothing short of brilliance last year. With teams consistently double teaming him, he still managed to put up 97 receptions, 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. Starting in Week 2, he had nine straight weeks with a touchdown reception. With all signs pointing to his knee being okay, the sky is the limit for this WR. If the Bengals can have a solid number two emerge, look for Green’s numbers to reflect last year. He has been consistently been drafted after the Lions Calvin Johnson as the second WR taken off the board, so if you want him, it will have to be early. Green will be off the board by the second round in a standard league, maybe late first if you play in a PPR league.
Mohamed Sanu/Marvin Jones, Wide Receivers
Both Jones and Sanu will have some fantasy value, how much is yet to be determined. You will not be drafting either of these guys for your WR1 spot, and there are better options than even getting them for a WR2. However, depending on how the playing time shakes out, grabbing either one of these guys for a bye week fill-in or emergency flex may be worth looking at.
Dane Sanzenbacher/Andrew Hawkins, Wide Receivers
These guys are lumped together because right now because their values are linked to one another. As it was written last week, Hawkins is likely to be placed on the injured-reserve list which would open up a roster spot. Sanzenbacher has been on the bubble since the start of camp, but with back to back solid preseason outings, he certainly isn’t hurting his chances. Both players would be best for the slot WR spot, and in fantasy, that usually means PPR machines. If Sanzenbacher makes the team, in a deeper league you would look at taking a flyer in the later rounds. If he doesn’t, use that deep round flyer on Hawkins, who had a solid 2012 campaign with 51 rec, 533 yards and four touchdowns. Just remember he may spend the first eight weeks unable to play.
Jermaine Gresham/Tyler Eifert, Tight Ends
Gresham’s fantasy output will be directly related with how long he can stay on the field. He has top 10 tight end ability in fantasy, but injuries, dropped balls and horrible blocking will all hamper his final numbers. Oh, and let’s not forget about Tyler Eifert. Eifert looks to cut into some of Gresham’s numbers. Ultimately, you should probably take a flyer on Eifert, who this writer believes has a higher ceiling. Getting Gresham would still be a nice consolation. Both tight ends look to finish within the top 15-20. Don’t be surprised if one of them finishes top 10.
Kicker- Mike Nugent
As the local boy, Nugent has been one of the more accurate kickers in his career with an 81.1 percent mark. He plays on a team whose offense should give him plenty of extra-points and chances for field goals. However, he is still a kicker and should be taken in your last two rounds of your draft.
The Bengals’ defense finished in the top 10 last year fantasy wise, and look to do the same this year. With much of the defense still intact, look for the numbers to match, and possibly exceed last year. Personally, defense and kicker should be your final two picks of your draft. That said, if you are really wanting the Bengals this year, you may need to reach a bit earlier that that.
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