Three preseason games are behind us, which means it's time to review how the performances of the Bengals starters affected their fantasy stock as we draw nearer to the first week of the regular season. In early August, I reviewed how Bengals players were faring in fantasy mock drafts around the country. The final week of August invites a surge of fantasy football leagues conducting their drafts. As we draw closer to the start of the regular season, let's take a look at at the last thirty days.
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Based on the chart above, you'll see that players have maintained their average draft position (ADP) over the past several weeks. There are some minor exceptions as well as a few other takeaways.
Biggest Riser: Giovani Bernard
In ten team leagues, Bernard had an ADP of 7.05 (7th round, 5th pick) after the first preseason game against Atlanta. He has risen up two rounds after two more preseason games. Through three preseason games, Bernard has accumulated 104 rushing yards on 23 attempts (4.5 YPC) and two rushing touchdowns. He's been targeted nine times in the passing game, and current has a total of 55 receiving yards off of six receptions.
I don't think it's much of a surprise that Bernard has become a more desirable mid-tier running back prospect in fantasy football. The upside has always been there, and he's seen his share of opportunities on the field during preseason. Of course he's sharing the field with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but Bernard is clearly the hotter fantasy candidate in the Bengals backfield. He's even more desirable in leagues that award points for receptions (PPR).
Biggest Decline: BenJarvus Green-Ellis
It only makes sense that the rise in Bernard's fantasy stock would result in an ADP dip for Green-Ellis. Truthfully, Green-Ellis' drop isn't that significant. He's only fallen one round in drafts with ten teams. However, Green-Ellis has fallen the most out of any top Bengals fantasy player. The dilemma with Green-Ellis is the fact that his value is lies in shared carries. In other words, he isn't a premiere handcuff that players will take to supplant Bernard in case of an injury. When Green-Ellis wasn't sharing the backfield much in 2012, he was the 19th best fantasy running back in standard scoring leagues. Now that he's sharing the field with a Bernard, his fantasy stock has understandably fallen. He's still a tempting option in touchdown-only leagues, but he should be considered a low-end flex option in most formats.
Notable Newcomer: Mohamed Sanu
Sanu has been jumping in and out of the 15th round of fantasy drafts throughout preseason. He's showing signs of being a reliable target for Dalton when the two are on the field together, and his touchdown against the Titans was impressive enough to push him slightly into the 14th round. I've always figured Sanu would go largely undrafted nationwide, but if you're in a league with Cincinnati fans, I'd anticipate Sanu to be taken in late rounds as a flyer.
- A.J. Green dropped a few spots in his ADP, but that's largely because of the rise of Dez Bryant. The two have essentially swapped positions in most drafts, and Green is still a second round pick.
- Tyler Eifert hasn't fluctuated much. His preseason performance hasn't provided enough information to help or hurt his fantasy stock, and he's still considered a TE2 with upside.
- Cincinnati's Defense continues to flirt with top five status in fantasy drafts. They were borderline top-five in 2012, so their value makes sense. Defenses rarely fluctuate in value during preseason, so Cincinnati's value staying level shouldn't be much of a surprise.
Good luck to everyone in their fantasy drafts this season! Feel free to discuss Bengals fantasy players as well as the rest of the NFL in the comments below.