2012 Team Outlook: Cincinnati

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2012 Team Outlook: Cincinnati

A fantasy football preview of the Bengals this year. Profiled players include Andy Dalton, Bruce Gradkowski, Dan Herron, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Brian Leonard.

The Bengals offense will not be a fantasy powerhouse this season, but a few good options do present themselves. Quarterback Andy Dalton has the upside to be a fantasy starter, while second year wide receiver A.J. Green should be a top ten fantasy receiver this season. Jermaine Gresham is a solid, yet unspectacular tight end option, while the rest of the Bengals offensive weapons are unproven in the roles they will take on this season. Rookies Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones will have opportunities to crack the starting lineup, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be the team's starting running back.

Coming off an impressive rookie season, Andy Dalton will need to take another step forward if he is to become a fantasy starter this season. Dalton formed a great bond with fellow rookie A.J. Green last season, but will need another wide receiver to step up to take the focus off Green and Jermaine Gresham. The Bengals hope to have found this option in rookie Mohamed Sanu, or returning slot receiver Jordan Shipley. Fantasy owners can draft Dalton as a solid QB2, while knowing that he has the potential to be a match-up play throughout the season.

Bruce Gradkowski will enter the 2012 season as the Bengals' backup quarterback. The veteram quarterback is a mid level NFL backup, and if anything were to happen to Andy Dalton, the Bengals skill position players would take a hit in their fantasy value. Gradkowski should not be drafted in any fantasy league; if Dalton were to be injured, better options could be found on the waiver wire.

Injury Status: Out - Shoulder

Dan Herron was drafted by the Bengals in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Herron will have to show the Bengals something in training camp, and is not a lock to make the roster to start the season. Fantasy owners should not consider drafting Herron, as he is buried on the Bengals depth chart.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis should be the Bengals' starting running back for the 2012 season. The former Patriot signed a three year deal with the Bengals this off-season; with Cedric Benson unlikely to return to Cincinnati, his only competition for carries will come from Bernard Scott. While Green-Ellis is not the playmaker that Scott is, he is a solid ball carrier who has scored 24 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Green-Ellis should touch the ball enough to make him a low end RB2 or Flex play in fantasy leagues.

Brian Leonard will serve as a third down back for the Bengals this season. The Bengals value Leonard for his blocking and pass catching ability, but he is not fantasy relevant. Leonard has scored just two touchdowns in his five NFL seasons, and has not touched the ball more than 60 times in any of this three seasons with the Bengals.

Bernard Scott always seems be hyped as a sleeper in the off-season, but has yet to live up to these predictions on the field. The inconsistent running back was unable to overtake Cedric Benson as the Bengals' starting running back in years past, and will now have to try to overtake BenJarvus Green-Ellis for playing time in the Cincinnati backfield. Scott does have big play ability, but he will need to have a strong training camp and preseason to earn the playing time necessary to be a factor in fantasy leagues.