Fantasy Focus: Cincinnati Bengals
Our latest NFL team profile looks at a midwestern based NFL team with a productive yet migraine-inducing quarterback running the show. No, not Jay Cutler and the Bears, but Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
ANDY DALTON – Bengals’ quarterback, Andy Dalton, experienced a woeful season in 2014. From 2011-2013, Dalton averaged approximately 26 touchdowns passes per season. In 2014, Dalton threw for just 19 touchdowns, 14 less than the year prior. Even during his best season, Dalton threw 20 interceptions and fumbled three times. Dalton averages a little more than 16 interceptions each season which should steer you away from him this coming season. Unless Dalton cuts back his interception count, there’s no doubt you can find 12 or more better fantasy quarterback starters. “The Machine” ranks Dalton as 158th overall and a 14th round pick.
JEREMY HILL – Through the first five games of the 2014 season, Hill showed the Bengals he had a nose for the end zone, scoring three times. Hill enjoyed his breakthrough into fantasy news against the Jaguars where he carried the ball 24 times, erupted for 154 yards and scored two touchdowns. Hill ranked second among running backs in yards per carry with 5.1, trailing only Justin Forsett. Hill is a top ten running back with a very high ceiling. The only thing keeping Hill from being a top tier running back is the backup work of Giovani Bernard.
GIOVANI BERNARD – Bernard is perfect change-of-pace running back for the Bengals. Over the past two season, Bernard has averaged 179 carries and about four yards per attempt. He’s also a better pass catcher than Jeremy Hill. In 2013, Bernard accumulated 56 receptions for 514 yards finding the end zone three times. Last season, Bernard caught 43 passes for 349 yards and scored twice. Even though Bernard’s passing stats declined with the addition of Jeremy Hill, it’s clear that Marvin Lewis trusts Bernard more in the passing game than Hill. Bernard makes a pretty good FLEX play, especially against weak defenses. “The Machine” sees Bernard being chosen in round eight, after Cardinals’ running back, Andre Ellington.
A.J. GREEN – While Green missed all of three games and nearly all of two more, he was still able to attain more than 1,000 yards receiving for the fourth consecutive season. He scored six touchdowns in basically just 11 games but did fumble twice. If healthy, Green should be looked at as a top ten fantasy wide out. He’s never failed to receive 1,000 yards and averages nine touchdown a season. Look for Green with the likes of Jordy Nelson and Randle Cobb.
MARVIN JONES – Before missing all of last season, Jones had an eye-opening campaign in 2013. He played in all sixteen games, caught 51 passes for 712 yards and scored ten touchdowns. Keep in mind, however, four of those touchdowns came in the same game against the Jets. Jones seems to be a touchdown or bust receiver, as he only accumulated more than 100 yards once in 2013. If Jones can build of the success he enjoyed that season in 2015, look for him as a FLEX play against teams who poorly defend the pass.
TYLER EIFERT – The six-foot-six-inch tight end out of Notre Dame will get his shot to prove he was worth the first-round pick the Bengals spent on him in the 2013 NFL Draft. In his rookie year, Eifert showed flashes of talent but played second fiddle to former Bengals’ tight end, Jermaine Gresham. Last season, Eifert made sporting news by dislocating his elbow in week one of the new season. He missed the rest of the season. Eifert shouldn’t be your starting tight end to start the season, but instead someone you think could blossom into a good fantasy starting tight end. While his NFL numbers don’t say much, just remember he was chosen in the first round just two years ago. “The Machine” predicts Eifert being taken right before tight ends like Charles Clay and Owen Daniels.