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Cincinnati Bengals Team Preview

Is Giovani Bernard being overdrafted? Can Tyler Eifert make a run as a top 10 tight end? Jacob Adler breaks down the Bengals from a fantasy lens.

Andy Lyons

QB: Andy Dalton

Depending on the site, Dalton finished between 3rd and 5th in standard scoring leagues with 4 points per touchdown. As many people have noticed, Dalton preys on poor defenses. Unfortunately, his week 2 gig versus Atlanta is his only slam-dunk matchup, so expecting a repeat of last season is probably ill-advised. He’s a great DFS play and QB2, but I don’t trust him as my QB1 in a shallower league.

RB: Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill, BenJarvus Green-Ellis

A solid play in PPR leagues, Bernard will probably not be on my standard league teams this year. Why? His touchdown potential is minimal compared to the other running backs going in the second round, and his workload will likely be limited once again. There isn’t much room for return on investment here. Between Hill and the Law Firm, only one will be worth a fantasy pick, and the consensus picks Hill. A much younger back with a slightly broader skill set, Hill should be a decent flex and even an interesting high-upside handcuff to Bernard.

WR: A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu

After posting solid efficiency numbers for a few years, Green’s numbers dipped last year because Dalton forced a lot of passes his way. Still, he’s in line for a boatload of targets, and is one of the best receivers on vertical passes. Jones, outside of his breakout game against the Jets, was pretty decent to close out the season and likely has an edge over Sanu, who hasn’t done much since he has entered the league.

TE: Tyler Eifert, Jermaine Gresham

Unlike last year, this battle has a clear winner and loser. Eifert didn’t do much in 2013, but Gresham was outright terrible in the receiving and blocking facets. Sometimes one doesn’t have to do much to win. Although not worth drafting in most leagues, Eifert is an interesting streamer and a guy to watch over the course of the season.

Defense/Special Teams

First rounder Darqueze Dennard will form an interesting duo at corner with Dre Kirkpatrick, but the losses of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and defensive end Michael Johnson will hurt. Perhaps the biggest issue will be whether Geno Atkins can return to form after a torn ACL suffered last October. In my D/ST rankings, I put the Bengals at #7 and in the safe-to-start group, which may be underrating them.