2015 Fantasy Football Team Preview: Cincinnati Bengals
For your fantasy football draft prep and advice, continue to check on this page for updates regarding the Cincinnati Bengals.
Good news, the Bengals have reached the playoffs four years in a row. However, I have a feeling you know the bad news. They are winless in those four games. Cincinnati spent their first two draft picks on players to help bolster the O-line. Andy Dalton has the weapons to compete. I know that he has a winning record as a starting quarterback, but that only buys you so much time. Actually, Marvin Lewis is still their Head Coach, right? Never mind.
Bye week: 7
Rookie impacts: Tyler Kroft (TE)
A rookie TE in Cincinnati? That sounds eerily familiar. Jermaine Gresham remains a free agent. That means Kroft will compete with fellow rookie C.J. Uzomah for the backup role. Kroft injured his ankle in the first quarter of Rutgers’ bowl game last December. That injury lingered and forced Kroft to sit out for most of the Combine. Kroft’s production dropped enormously from 2013 to 2014. He caught only 24 passes for 269 yards and zero touchdowns in his final college season.
Quarterback: Andy Dalton
Being booed by his team’s fans at a celebrity softball game might just be the motivation Dalton needs. He completed a career-low 19 touchdown passes in 2014 and failed to win a playoff game for the fourth consecutive year. Unfortunately, I don’t expect Dalton’s value to rise in 2015. Hue Jackson has established that his offense will be centered on the running game. Dalton only attempted 481 passes last season, 105 fewer than his 2013 total.
Running back: Jeremy Hill
It wasn’t until November 2, against the Jaguars, that Hill earned over 20 carries in a game. He responded in a big way. Hill rushed for 154 yards on 24 attempts (6.4 yards per game) and scored two touchdowns. Since then, he has rushed for over 100 yards in five out of nine games while scoring six TDs. Hill is 11th on my running back list and 15th overall for my 2015 rankings.
Running back: Giovani Bernard
Jeremy Hill owners, be sure to add Bernard to your team, as well. In PPR formats, Bernard won’t last long. Even as the backup, Bernard caught 43 passes (16 more than Hill) for 349 yards and two TDs.
Wide receiver: A.J. Green
After playing 16 games in back-to-back seasons, Green was only healthy enough for 13 starts in 2014. Even with him missing three games, Green continued his streak of 1,000-yard seasons (four straight). He has also scored at least six TDs in every season. It is with that reliability why I have Green as the seventh-best wide receiver and 27th pick overall.
Wide receiver: Mohamed Sanu
The Robin to A.J. Green’s Batman made 56 receptions for 790 yards and five touchdowns in 2014. Sanu is proving himself to be very comparable to Green. Sanu is even great for some gadget plays. He rushed for 51 yards last year and has completed two TD passes during his three-year term.
Tight end: Tyler Eifert
The 2014 season ended abruptly for Eifert as he dislocated his elbow and missed all but one game. That year is behind him and Eifert is the main TE in Cincy now. As I mentioned earlier, Jermaine Gresham is gone. This is the time for Eifert to prove if he is NFL-worthy. I will likely not buy any stock, but will monitor Eifert’s progress throughout the 2015 season.
Placekicker: Mike Nugent
Nugent made only 79 percent (26/33) of his field goal attempts last season. If it was 30 yards, or more, Nugent was 20/27. I’d avoid him this year, too.
Team defense (D/ST):
The Bengals tallied a league-worst 20 sacks in 2014. Injuries plagued the defense last year, but they were also without Mike Zimmer, who left for Minnesota to pursue a Head Coach position. Cincinnati will be one of those teams that you look for when your current defense is on bye and they have a favorable matchup (the Bengals face the Browns in Week 9 and 13).