clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cincinnati Bengals fantasy football preview: running back

New, comments

Fantasy Football season is nearly upon us. Where do our Bengals rank? In this installment we look at the Running Back position.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

With the regular season inching closer and fantasy football drafting just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the various Bengals’ positions from a fantasy football perspective.

In this installment we will look at the Running Back position.

While the Bengals’ roster contains a handful of running backs, for fantasy football purposes there are only two running backs worth drafting – Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.

Historical:

Looking back over the last few seasons, here are the relevant fantasy football stats for Hill and Bernard.

Yr G Att Yard Avg TD Yard TD FFPts/G
Jeremy Hill 2014 16 222 1,124 5.1 9 215 0 11.7

Yr G Att Yard Avg TD Yard TD FFPts/G
Giovani Bernard 2013 16 170 695 4.1 5 514 3 10.6
Giovani Bernard 2014 13 168 680 4.0 5 349 2 11.1

*Points per game for a RB can vary depending if your league is "standard" or "ppr". For these totals I used "standard", which is the most common form of scoring – which is why it is called the "standard".

2014 Review:

Over the final ten games of 2015, Jeremy Hill put on a clinic of what an elite power back looks like. He displayed vision, speed, and power as he stormed the NFL, leading the league in rushing over the final half of the season. Projecting those final ten games over a 16 game season would result in 1,561 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns, easily placing him among the top fantasy running backs.

Despite the common view that Giovani Barnard had a disappointing season, he actually improved on a "per game" basis over his rookie season of 2013. His yards per game and touchdowns per game both improved, but not as much as many had expected, thanks to the emergency of Jeremy Hill.

2015 Outlook:

Jeremy Hill
Positive – Will be the lead back over the whole season, instead of just half
Even – The Bengals’ offense is one that continues to feature the run
Even – The Bengals’ return their entire offensive line which helped Hill average over 5 yards per carry
Even – A good backup running back behind Hill means unresolved fumble problems could see Hill continue to lose a series now and again
Even – While Hill has the ability to be a 3-down back, the presence of Bernard limits Hill’s production to an extent.
Negative – There are no negative aspects to Hill’s production from 2014 to 2015.

Giovani Bernard
Positive – He is currently healthy, and hopefully will produce for the whole season
Even – The Bengals’ offense is one that continues to feature the run
Negative – Much of his production came early in the year before the emergency of Hill. With Hill taking hold of the lead role, Bernard can expect a drop in production this year.

Hill averaged 18.5 carries per game over the final ten games of the 2014 season. Even if he sees that drop a bit, he would still be in line for about 260~280 carries this year. Nothing seems to indicate that his yards per carry should diminish too much, and both his touchdowns and receiving yardage should increase due to more playing time.

Yr G Att Yard Avg TD Yard TD FFPts/G
Jeremy Hill 2014 16 222 1,124 5.1 9 215 0 11.7
Jeremy Hill 2015 16 280 1,372 4.9 11 250 0 14.3

With Hill taking the lead role for all of 2015, we can expect Bernard to see a drop in his per game production this season. If he plays all 16 games this year, we can assume his total yards and touchdowns will likely be on par with their totals over his first two seasons.

Yr G Att Yard Avg TD Yard TD FFPts/G
Giovani Bernard 2013 16 170 695 4.1 5 514 3 10.6
Giovani Bernard 2014 13 168 680 4.0 5 349 2 11.1
Giovani Bernard 2015 16 176 704 4.0 4 350 2 8.8

Comparing Hill’s projected 14.3 points per game against Yahoo’s running back projections would place him in the top five with Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles, and Eddie Lacy. With his average draft position near the bottom of round 1 and beginning of round 2, he represents something of a steal if you can get him there.

Bernard’s production places him in the upper-middle grouping of the RB3’s, or flex options, with running backs like Rashad Jennings, Isaiah Crowell and Tevin Coleman. This means that if you like Bernard, you could potentially draft him as a starter for your flex position, which represents bad news for Hill owners, because if they are looking for a handcuff to Hill, they will have to draft their handcuff a little sooner than traditional handcuffs are selected. For example, the handcuffs for other elite running backs such as Lacy, Lynch, Peterson, Bell, or Forte are drafted near the end of most drafts.

Also check out our quarterback and wide receiver fantasy football previews!