The Bengals defense shouldn't change too much in 2014. Though Paul Guenther is replacing long-time defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, all indications are that Guenther won't change the unit too much, and the players sound like they're excited to play hard for him as they did with Zimm.
When it comes to fantasy football, that could be another discussion, especially in terms of individual defensive players (IDP). Jeff Ratcliffe of Rotoworld broke down all of the new defensive coordinator hires, and here's what he offered up on Guenther:
With Mike Zimmer now the head coach in Minnesota, Guenther takes over as an internal promotion. This means we won't see a significant departure from what the Bengals did under Zimmer, though Guenther does plan to deploy more multiple fronts in 2014. As we're seeing with other defenses, Guenther's approach is to put players in favorable spots while using the same personnel group.
IDP Winner - Since there's no significant change here, there's no major winners. However, I do want to point out LB Emmanual Lamur as a player to keep your eye on. Lamur has drawn praise in the offseason from the Bengals coaching staff and has the skillset to play all three downs. He's an intriguing IDP sleeper.
IDP Loser - If Lamur gets the starting job, then Vincent Rey will again be on the outside looking in. We saw flashes out of Rey last season, but with Rey Maualuga playing base downs in the middle, Rey is unlikely to see the field for more than a handful of snaps per game.
DST Outlook - Cincinnati was one of the league's top fantasy units last season, and I don't see that changing in 2014.
Lamur is definitely a guy to watch for in IDP. He could line up at strongside linebacker in 4-3 looks, but also remain in when the Bengals bring their nickle package in. One thing the Bengals have lacked in recent years is a 3-down SLB.
Manny Lawson and James Harrison tried to fill that role, but to no avail. Zimmer preferred to play with just Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict as his two backers with a little Vincent Rey and Jayson DiManche sprinkled in.