The Bengals have several players with a lot of potential to be big performers in fantasy football this coming season. But when it comes to dynasty football and players' long-term fantasy outlook, only a select few Bengals have significant value there.
ESPN's Matt Williamson has just released his Top 100 dynasty fantasy football rankings, and three Bengals made his list.
Coming in at No. 4 was none other than wide receiver A.J. Green, who in just his fourth NFL season, is already considered one of the elite receivers in league.
Green is an elite talent with a long frame, uncanny ball skills and big-play ability. Although he had some down games last year and has a very average quarterback, Green has posted remarkably impressive stat lines each of the past two seasons. There is talk that the Bengals will throw less frequently going forward, but I would be shocked if Marvin Lewis allows Green's targets to decrease. The argument could be made that Green should top this list.
In a bit of irony, Green was followed by Falcons receiver Julio Jones at No. 5. That's the same order the two were originally drafted into the NFL in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Green wasn't the only Bengal on the list. Second-year running back Giovani Bernard, he came in at No. 11 among their Top 100 players:
Given the addition of Jeremy Hill, this might be too high a rank for Bernard, especially because he won't see a lot of short-yardage or goal-line work as the Bengals move to a two-back look. Still, Hill is not even close to the difference-maker that Bernard is, and so even with his presence, I expect Bernard's role overall to expand dramatically.
We should see Bernard lined up in the slot and garnering more touches on the ground than he did this past season. This is guy is too tough to keep off the field, and he is an extremely friendly option for QB Andy Dalton. The fantasy points from Bernard will keep coming now, though they should come in bunches.
In a bit of a surprise, quarterback Andy Dalton was left off his list, but second-year tight end Tyler Eifert came in at No. 72.
Eifert's upside is huge, and he should be a helpful option for Andy Dalton, whose arm strength is so-so. Eifert has a huge catching radius and great athletic ability, as well as strong skills after the catch. As he matures, Dalton -- or a potential superior replacement -- should be able to put the ball in Eifert's direction with mostly positive results.
The key here, though, is A.J. Green. Marvin Jones is a promising second wideout as well. Both he and Eifert should benefit from Green's presence. I expect Eifert in particular to benefit from the attention opposing defenses will pay to Green, and to become the Bengals' No. 2 option in the passing game.