Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Fantasy Options
As one of several rookies to start under center, Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton proved to be a capable game manager for the majority of the 2011 NFL season. Dalton amassed 224.3 FP and posted a 20-13 TD pass to INT ratio to go along with one rushing TD. When he wasn't on the mark though, Dalton was really off as he had five games with two or more interceptions during his rookie campaign.
Along with Cam Newton from the Carolina Panthers, Andy Dalton was a 2012 Pro Bowl replacement quarterback as Eli Manning and Tom Brady had bigger fish to fry. Big Red recorded the better stat line of the two rookies as he was 7/9 for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Hopefully he enjoyed the experience because we don't see Dalton getting back to Hawaii anytime soon.
Bengals QB Analysis: With budding weapons in the Bengals secondary, Dalton will be a serviceable backup fantasy QB during the coming season.
Cincinnati Bengals Running Back Fantasy Options
Part of the fantasy decline we spoke of was evident in the Cincinnati backfield as the Bengals tied for 21st in the league with just ten rushing touchdowns during NFL 2011. The scores were spilt between RB Cedric Benson (6), RB Bernard Scott (3), and QB Andy Dalton who had a 3-yard TD run in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills.
After a solid 2010 campaign (1,289 YDS 8 TD) Benson failed to take his play to the next level as he posted 1,149 total yards and just six touchdowns. Part of the reason for Benson's lower numbers can be attributed to the fact that Scott doubled his carries - from 61 attempts in 2010 to 112 touches last season. Benson is a free agent who most likely won't be back. This especially true since the Bengals just signed FA RB BenJarvus Green Ellis away from the Patriots. Expect Law Firm and Scott to form a dreaded RBC for the Bengals in 2012.
Bengals RB Analysis: As it sits right now, the Cincinnati backfield is best avoided until the later rounds on Draft Day 2012.
Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
While the Bengals ground game sputtered last season, potential stars were rising in their wide receiver crew. A.J. Green had a solid rookie campaign as he posted 153 FP and scored seven touchdowns. One has to wonder what this huge target would be capable of if he had a premier quarterback tossing him the pigskin. WR Jerome Simpson also flashed some potential, not to mention his acrobatic skills, as he posted 98.5 FP and four touchdowns with 50 catches on 105 targets.
Green will definitely be the #1 receiving option for the Bengals in 2012 - who will line up opposite to him is still to be determined. Simpson is a free agent who is dealing with a drug issue and would have to sign for a lot less than he's asking for if he wants to remain a Bengal. Receiver Jordan Shipley , who tore his ACL two games into last season, is expected to be fully recovered and ready to return to his slot receiver role.
Bengals WR Analysis: How much better Green is going to get is dependant on how much better Dalton gets. Pairing the 6' 4" former Georgia Bulldog with a premium top five WR could be a recipe for success as your fantasy squad heads into battle. The other Bengal receivers are low end backups at best.
Cincinnati Bengals Tight End Fantasy Options
Yours truly was high on tight end Jermaine Gresham being an everyday starter at the tight end position since his 2010 rookie season. While his overall rookie numbers (71.1 FP) were somewhat disappointing, Gresham took another step forward as he posted 95.6 FP in his sophomore season. The former Oklahoma Sooner bruiser has caught 108 passes and 10 touchdowns in two seasons at the pro level. Expect Gresham to take yet another step forward in 2012.
Bengals TE Analysis: Though he can't be rated as a top TE fantasy option just yet, Gresham will be an integral part of the Bengals offense moving forward.