Aug 7, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) hands off to running back Giovani Bernard (25) during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: Cincinnati Bengals RB Rundown

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Going into fantasy football drafts this season, the Bengals backfield situation is one of the most important puzzles for owners to figure out.  How the carries are divided amongst the rushers in the Bengals timeshare will ultimately determine their value which is hard to get a good read on at this point in the preseason.

If you take a Bengals back, there is risk that they won’t get the carries to be effective, but there’s also big upside if you get the back that emerges as a go-to option. Unlike the Broncos who have little behind second-year rusher Montee Ball, the Bengals have options behind and around Gio Bernard.

Whenever there’s a timeshare, production can be unpredictable, but I think Cincinnati produces a pair of viable fantasy options, and a possible top-ten option. Here’s my look at the Bengals’ options, where they rank in my top 80, and a quick forecast on what I expect from them from a fantasy football perspective this season:

11

Giovani Bernard

RB, Cincinnati Bengals

The latest word out of Bengals’ camp is that Bernard should get about 300 total touches including quite a bit of goal line work.  Last season, Bernard showed he has the elusiveness and explosion to be a scoring threat wherever he gets the ball whether in the passing game or the rushing attack.  Bernard could quickly emerge as a workhorse back like he was in college at UNC and if he does will be a top-10 fantasy running back especially in PPR leagues.  The reason I have him ranked just outside my top ten is that there is a serious risk that he loses some of the work to the other Bengals options.  Even as part of a rotation, there’s plenty to like about Bernard’s game, but the risk inherant to a timeshare keeps him just outside my top 10.
44

Jeremy Hill

RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati added Hill in the second round last year out of LSU, and they appear ready to plug him as the power complement to Bernard’s quickness. Hill is expected to get 10-15 carries a game and should draw some goal line work in short yardage situations.  How much he’ll vulture from Bernard will be the key to his value, but since you have to pay such a premium for Bernard, Hill will probably represent better value.  Hill has clearly passed BenJarvus Green-Ellis and looks to be the clear second option headed into the season. Overall he’s a good fit for Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson’s run-heavy attack and makes a nice fourth RB in the ninth round of 10-team standard drafts.
65

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Even though the law firm has been passed by the two youngsters, he does still have some value since both Hill and Bernard are unproven in their roles and Green-Ellis has been in the top-35 in RB fantasy points for the last two seasons.  He’s not someone you need to draft in most formats, but will be a waiver wire grab if either Hill or Bernard struggles or goes down injured.

This post is part of a series detailing the backfield situation for each NFL team from a fantasy football perspective. Check out my top 80 rankings and click here for the full series.

 

 

 

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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football BenJarvus Green-Ellis Cincinnati Bengals Fantasy Football Preview Fantasy Football RB Giovani Bernard Jeremy Hill RB Rundown

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