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Fantasy Football: Giovani Bernard is now elite

If you have Giovani Bernard in fantasy football, he is a now a must start in any and all matchup situations.

Andy Lyons

If you paid any attention to Sunday's 24-10 thrashing of the Atlanta Falcons by the Cincinnati Bengals, then you know these Bengals are serious about running the ball.

That's what was promised when the Bengals hired Hue Jackson as the offensive coordinator, and boy did the Bengals do exactly what their offensive guru wanted to do.

Giovanni Bernard led the way with 27 carries for 90 yards with one touchdown. Jeremy Hill also got 15 for 74 and one TD. The Bengals stuffed the rock right down the throats of the Falcons, and they couldn't do anything to stop it.

When Bernard wasn't mauling people at the line of scrimmage, he was taking swing passes from Andy Dalton and executing to perfection. He finished with five catches for 79 yards and 169 total yards with one touchdown.

Bernard wasn't quite as effective in week one against the Ravens but he still topped the century mark. That game, Gio had 14 rushes for 48 yards and six catches for 62 yards. That's 110 total yards against a rock-solid Ravens defense that just suffocated the Steelers last week.

Let's take a look at what some of the top fantasy backs in the NFL have been doing through the first two weeks of the season, from an accumulation of points perspective.

1. DeMarco Murray - 45

2. Marshawn Lynch - 36

3. Mark Ingram - 35

4. Le'Veon Bell - 35

5. Giovanni Bernard - 33

6. Arian Foster - 33

If you're one of those guys who went for Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles or Matt Forte, well, how is that working out for you?

It's not just that Gio is on a team that likes to run the ball and will stick with the run, even when it's not working, he's also with a team that uses its backs out of the backfield.

Clearly, the Bengals introducing Jeremy Hill into the mix wasn't a sign they didn't believe in Giovanni Bernard. No, that was an indication the Bengals understood just what a valuable commodity they had in Bernard and didn't want to overuse him.

I'm sure the intimation that Bernard is a top-five fantasy back produces a few chuckles, but this guy is for real and he's on a very good team. A few big games, and Bernard will be right there with the big boys.

If you have him in fantasy football, this guy is a must start in any and all matchup situations.