Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Cincinnati Bengals

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Bad things have come in threes for the Bengals. Three straight years, three consecutive playoff appearances and three losses in a row. If they make it four for four -- or worse yet, fail to make the playoffs -- we could see some major changes.

Marvin Lewis remains the head coach, entering his 12th year in Cincinnati. But a year without a playoff victory might make it his last. The same could be said for fourth-year starter Andy Dalton. He's coming off of a career-year (4,293 passing yards, 35 total touchdowns and 23 turnovers) but faces an uncertain future as his contract is up at the end of this season. He also will have to adjust to a new offensive scheme installed by veteran playcaller Hue Jackson after Jay Gruden, who had been with Dalton for all of his short career, moved on to become the head coach of Washington this offseason.

Gruden wasn't the only loss the Bengals had among their coaches this offseason, as defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer moved to Minnesota to coach the Vikings. Zimmer had long been the architect of the Bengals' competitive defense. Linebackers coach Paul Guenther will replace him but also must find a replacement for pass rusher Michael Johnson, now a Buccaneer. The Bengals also have some uncertainty surrounding players coming back from injury, most notably All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins and cornerback Leon Hall, both of whom sustained season-ending injuries last year.

Two new coordinators on a team that hasn't gotten over the hump of winning one playoff game, much less getting close to the Super Bowl. In many instances that's a recipe for disaster, but the Bengals have a lot of talent. Receiver A.J. Green and rusher Giovani Bernard anchor an offense that has done well even when Dalton has an inexplicable meltdown, and linebacker Vontaze Burfict and pass rusher Carlos Dunlap help support a deep and mostly experienced defense.

If the talent can mesh with the wrinkles the new coordinators put into their playbooks, then the Bengals will have another opportunity to play for a playoff berth this coming January.

Bust I ... Andy Dalton

Despite being the third-best quarterback in Fantasy last season, no one wants to draft Dalton to be their Fantasy starter entering 2014.

Maybe it's because he wasn't very consistent last year, posting only seven games with 20-plus Fantasy points (he did have three with 18 or 19 points). Or maybe it's because new coordinator Hue Jackson doesn't have a strong track record of producing big-stat quarterbacks (though the best he's had in four tries in the pros has been Carson Palmer for a half a season). But it's probably because Dalton, for as productive as he was, is streaky. He'll go three weeks with great numbers (like 103 Fantasy points in Weeks 6 through 8 in 2013) before cratering (52 Fantasy points combined in his next four games).

If the best you can hope for is using Dalton three weeks at a time then he's not worth picking as a starter.

Bust II ... Marvin Jones

On the strength of scoring 10 touchdowns, Jones finished as a Top 24 receiver last season. But he also caught 51 passes for only 712 yards, meaning that in order for him to replicate his Top 24 finish he'll either have to keep scoring at a torrid pace or make up for a number of his touchdowns with an additional 200 yards receiving.

If you include the postseason, he had two games over 100 yards and three games over 75 yards. Mohamed Sanu will still attract his fair share of attention from Dalton and the tight ends might make a bigger dent in 2014. Jones' speed is nice but with his numbers not likely to take a huge jump, he's not even worth No. 3 receiver consideration in Fantasy.

Long-term target ... Jeremy Hill

2013 Touches Leaders
845 total touches
Giovani Bernard 226 (170 car., 56 rec.) 26.8%
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 224 (220 car., 4 rec.) 26.5%
A.J. Green 98 rec. 11.6%
Marvin Jones 59 (51 rec., 8 car.) 7.0%
Mohamed Sanu 51 (47 rec., 4 car.) 6.0%
All others 186 22.0%

Running back wasn't a position of need for the Bengals in the draft, but that didn't stop them from selecting Hill in Round 2. Thinking back to them doing the same thing with Giovani Bernard a year earlier, Hill figures to compete for playing time right away, potentially knocking BenJarvus Green-Ellis into a very, very backup role. This would give Hill some value in Fantasy play as soon as this season, but he needs to earn the power-rushing role first. That could be tough, as Bernard is capable of being the primary back for the Bengals, so Hill might not see a ton of work even if he is right behind Bernard on the depth chart.

That's why the long-term outlook for Hill is fancier than the one for 2014. You want to take him with a middle-to-late pick this year? Go for it. But those owners who can keep players for several years should be ready to claim Hill with a mid-round pick. The guy should score a bunch of touchdowns from up close for years to come.

Schedule analysis

The easier the matchup, the more likable Cincinnati's offensive players are. The Bengals start with two nice matchups in their first three games before a Week 4 bye. Back-to-back games against the Patriots and Panthers after that will be particularly tough, but then they have a seven-week stretch that includes three home games in a row followed by three straight on the road. Things get a little dicey at the end of the year when they play the Steelers in Weeks 14 and 17 with a matchup at home against the Broncos in Week 16. If defenses like the Steelers, Ravens, Broncos and Texans improve, then the Bengals offense is sure to sputter.

Training camp battles

Who's the back behind Giovani Bernard? We better see Bernard as the Bengals' top running back -- they're wasting him otherwise. It's a matter of time before Hill usurps Green-Ellis in the part-time physical back role that should include a lot of short-yardage and goal-line opportunities. If it happens soonerrather than later, the Bengals will be better off for it because Hill is a more explosive player than Green-Ellis. Fantasy owners would have a bye-week replacement running back that way, whereas no one would trust Green-Ellis.

How will the tight ends shake out? Tyler Eifert was a big sleeper of mine last year. Didn't happen. Jermaine Gresham played more than expected, but his stats went south. Neither guy was any good. Will it be more of the same in 2014, or can Eifert finally knock Gresham off the field and get more playing time to be the versatile asset we thought he'd be?

Bold prediction

We could go on and on about how the Bengals defense will struggle this season, partially because of their schedule, partially because of the talent they've either lost (and that includes coordinator Mike Zimmer) or are getting back from serious injury. But you guys want sizzle you can take to your drafts, so let's really focus on Giovani Bernard.

We believe Bernard will finish as a Top 12 Fantasy running back this season, even with BenJeremy Green-Hill (or JerJarvus Hill-Ellis if you prefer) swiping touches. We took a long look at the history of new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and the reality is that he loves his running backs. His rushers averaged anywhere from 22.2 to 26.4 carries per game and represented anywhere from 21.1 pct. to 33.3 pct. of the passing game. These are good numbers, particularly the passing game stats, for Bernard's prospects.

Jackson has spoken highly of the second-year speedster and is sure to involve him. Count on well over 300 touches from Bernard and at least matching the eight touchdowns he had last year with more than 1,400 total yards. He will finish inside the Top 12 of running backs.

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Falcons QB Matt Ryan throws for 322 yards in win over Saints
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:02 pm ET) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan put together another string performance, cracking the 300-yard mark in his team's 30-14 victory over the Saints in Week 16.

Ryan fired a 3-yard touchdown pass to Eric Weems in the second quarter for his only score of the game. He compiled 322 yards while completing 30 of 40 passes. He added one touchdown and no interceptions, registering a 106.5 passer rating.

Ryan will now have a win-and-you're-in game at home against Carolina in Week 17.


Packers' Randall Cobb stays hot, pulls in 11 catches for 131 in win
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:01 pm ET) Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb had 11 catches for 131 yards in Sunday's win. It is the most catches and receiving yards Cobb has had in a game this season. 

It is his fifth game over 100 receiving yards and put his total for the season to 1,207.

The Packers take on the Lions in Week 17 with the division title on the line.


RB Joique Bell emerges late to help Lions win
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:59 pm ET) It took a while for Joique Bell to get into the game Sunday against Chicago, but the Lions running back certainly made the most of his opportunity thereafter.

Bell had just three yards on two carries at halftime, but finished with 74 yards in 13 attempts and a 17-yard score midway through the fourth quarter that gave Detroit the lead to stay. He faked out two Bears on the way to the end zone.

He needs 200 yards next Sunday at Green Bay to hit 1,000 for the season.


Frank Gore takes advantage of matchup
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4:59 pm ET) Going against a defense that was strong against the pass but weak against the run, the 49ers clearly made running back Frank Gore a bigger part of their game plan Week 16 against San Diego, giving him eight carries on the team's first three drives. He finished with 26 for 158 yards, both season highs.

Of course, the increased workload may have had something to do with the absence of backup Carlos Hyde, who had been cutting into Gore's carries in recent weeks, with moderate effectiveness. Hyde is sidelined for an unspecified amount of time with an ankle injury.

Gore's performance may have earned him a bigger workload Week 17 against Arizona regardless. The Cardinals defense is kind of the opposite of the Chargers, though. It's much more effective against the run than the pass.

If nothing else, you at least have some hope for Gore making a relevant contribution in Week 17, but because the matchup isn't as favorable, he's still probably a sit in typical 12-team leagues.


Saints' Drew Brees unable to overcome costly turnovers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:55 pm ET) Saints quarterback Drew Brees was credited with three costly turnovers in his team's 30-14 defeat to the Falcons in Week 16.

Brees was picked off by Desmond Trufant in the first quarter and by Robert McClain in the fourth. On the final play of the game, Osi Umenyiora recovered a fumble from Brees and took it 86 yards for a touchdown to eliminate New Orleans from playoff contention.

Brees threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham in the fourth quarter for his only score of the day. He finished 30 of 47 for 313 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, registering a 72.4 passer rating. He was sacked five times and finished with 8 rushing yards on two carries.

Bress will face Tampa Bay to end the season.


Eddie Lacy runs past 1,000 yards on the season in Green Bay's win
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:55 pm ET) Packers running back Eddie Lacy rushed 17 times for 99 yards and a touchdown in Green Bay's 20-3 win over the Bucs Sunday.

Lacy, who was dealing with an eye injury coming into the game, surpassed 1,000 yards rushing on the year as well in this game. He now has 1,039 rushing yards and 401 receiving yards on the season.

The Packers will welcome the Lions to Green Bay in Week 17 with the division title up for grabs.


Dolphins RB Lamar Miller falls just short of 100 rushing yards
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4:54 pm ET) Dolphins running back Lamar Miller received his most extensive action of the season during the Dolphins’ 37-35 win over the Vikings Sunday.

Miller received a season-high 19 carries for 92 yards while also catching five passes for a season-high 58 yards on seven targets. The five receptions tied his season high. Miller also scored on a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

Miller has yet to surpass more than 20 carries in a game this season, but is less than 100 away yards from achieving his first 1,000 yard rushing season.

The Dolphins will play the Jets Week 17.


One big run highlights Sunday effort by Browns RB Crowell
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:49 pm ET) The Browns used rookie Isaiah Crowell as their lone featured back Sunday at Carolina and he did nothing spectacular aside from a 26-yard run over a huge role in the second quarter.

Crowell otherwise rushed for just 29 yards on 18 carries in finishing with 55 yards on 16 attempts. He was not targeted in the passing game.

He will try again when the Browns finish the regular season next Sunday against the host Ravens.


Dolphins WR Mike Wallace scores two touchdowns Sunday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4:47 pm ET) Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace scored two touchdowns to help the Dolphins defeat the Vikings 37-35 Sunday.

The two touchdown catches from 16 and 7 yards was Wallace’s first multiple touchdown game as a Dolphin. Wallace now has 10 touchdowns on the season which he also accomplished in 2010. Wallace was targeted five times and caught all five passes for 58 yards.

The Dolphins host the Jets in Week 17.


Panthers back Stewart runs wild again in Week 16 win
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:44 pm ET) Panthers featured back Jonathan Stewart continued to sizzle Sunday in the absence of injured backfield mate DeAngelo Williams. He keyed a defeat of the Browns.

Stewart not only caught a 9-yard touchdown pass five minutes into the second half, but he rushed for a game-high 122 yards on a season-high 24 carries. His twisting, turning 30 yard rush in which he faked out several defenders allowed his team to go into victory formation.

He has 437 yards on 78 carries for a 5.6 YPC average over the last four games. He will try to maintain his momentum when the Panthers play at Atlanta in Week 17.


 
 
 
Rankings