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LaFell, Atkins shine in latest B/R NFL 1000 rankings

After getting some of the best grades of the season against the Browns last week, Bengals players weren’t that lucky this time after a disappointing second half and loss to the Steelers

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off two strong wins against weak competition the Bengals couldn’t keep a 20-9 lead in the second half, resulting in a frustrating loss to the Steelers. Cincinnati started the game well, moving the football on offense and sporting sound coverage on defense, but the lack of playmakers and underwhelming coaching in halftime cost the team. The latest B/R NFL 1000 rankings reflect this, with only a few Bengals among the best at their positions and none in the top 50 overall.

Brandon LaFell was the only offensive player in his respective top 10, after having one of his best games in stripes with seven catches for 91 yards. He was also recognized with his blocking, getting the highest grade in that category. Andy Dalton didn’t fare great, ranking in between Matt Barkley and Robert Griffin III at 23rd, which is far from ideal. The offensive line was above average with Kevin Zeitler coming out as the 12nd highest graded guard. Jake Fisher, at 14th, was again an improvement over Cedric Ogbuehi, with positive scores in agility and the running game.

The defense shined a bit brighter, with four players in the top 10 of their positions: Geno Atkins, Vontaze Burfict, Adam Jones and Shawn Williams. Atkins again showed why he’s the best player on the unit, finishing only behind Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald. He’s been pretty solid all season and his lowest ranking has been 16th. Tyler Eifert got his worst ranking of the year after being barely targeted at all in the game.

Burfict, looked gashed at the end in coverage, but was strong during the rest of the game. He had the second best grade in the category for 4-3 outside linebackers with 19 out of 25 points, and only a poor pass rush score cost him in the rankings. The Bengals linebacker ended up 6th. This is surprising considering we now know he played through a concussion.

Jones continue to look better as the season nears its end, and this time he was a key component of that a defense that stopped the Steelers’ strong offense for three quarters before succumbing due to lack of pass rush and big time playmaking. Only seven cornerbacks ranked above him, but only two points separated him from the five players who tied for the top spot. Williams again received a strong grade in coverage, which helped him get back in the top 10 for strong safeties with the fifth-highest score.

Speaking of lack of pass rush, Margus Hunt was the best defensive end for the Bengals, with a 27th finish. The rest of the unit landed, again, in the bottom of the standings - Cincinnati better adress this in the offseason.

Josh Shaw shared that bad fate with a fourth-to last finish, and only 49 points. The young cornerback got beaten badly by the slot receiver in Pittsburgh’s only touchdown of the day.

Rex Burkhead, despite playing great of late and especially against the Steelers last week, keeps getting no love from the national media, and he, again, finished behind Jeremy Hill at 33rd with 70 points. He should be ranked higher. Nick Vigil graded highly for what we’re used to as an inside linebacker, finishing way above Rey Maualuga. Shocking, right?

Here are the ranked Bengals players this week and you can check the full rankings here:

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Player Pos Rank/out of Week 14 Score (all out of 100) Week 14 High rank/score Low rank/score
Player Pos Rank/out of Week 14 Score (all out of 100) Week 14 High rank/score Low rank/score
Andy Dalton QB 8/33 8 ↓ 66 72 ↓ 2 (Week 13) /82 (Week 13) 31 (Week 12) /53 (Week 8)
Giovani Bernard RB N/R N/R N/R N/R 12 (Week 8) /73 (Weeks 5, 6, 8 and 11) 51 (Week 1) /69 (Week 1)
Jeremy Hill RB 17/72 2 ↓ 73 77 ↓ 2 (Week 14) /77 (Week 14) 53 (Week 2) /66 (Week 5)
Rex Burkhead RB 33/72 N/R 70 N/R 33 (Weeks 13&15) /70 (Weeks 13&15) 46 (Week 12) /67 (Week 12)
A.J. Green WR N/R N/R N/R N/R 1 (Week 1) /86 (Week 1) 32 (Week 2) /70 (Week 5)
Brandon LaFell WR 9/131 51 ↑ 71 65 ↑ 6 (Week 5) /76 (Weeks 1&5) 73 (Week 12) /64 (Weeks 10&11)
Tyler Boyd WR 73/131 16 ↓ 63 69 ↓ 16 (Week 14) /69 (Week 14) 104 (Week 1) /60 (Week 1)
Alex Erickson WR N/R 77 N/R 62 77 (Week 14) /62 (Week 14) 129 (Week 6) / 55 (Week 7)
Cody Core WR 74/131 86 ↑ 63 61 ↑ 64 (Week 13) /65 (Week 13) 115 (Week 1) /52 (Week 1)
James Wright WR 94/131 N/R 61 N/R 71 (Week 11) /65 (Week 12) 125 (Week 4) /54 (Week 4)
Tyler Eifert TE 37/76 2 ↓ 62 72 ↓ 1 (Week 8) /79 (Week 8) 16 (Weeks 10&11) /65 (Week 7)
Ryan Hewitt TE 55/76 42 ↓ 59 61 ↓ 30 (Week 8) /63 (Week 3) 67 (Weeks 2&7) /55 (Week 2)
Tyler Kroft TE 49/76 50 ↑ 60 60 ↔ 14 (Week 6) 66 (Week 6) 62 (Week 1) /51 (Week 1)
C.J. Uzomah TE N/R N/R N/R N/R 6 (Week 4) /71 (Week 4) 67 (Weeks 2&7) /55 (Week 2)
Andrew Whitworth LT 14/32 14 ↔ 74 75 ↓ 6 (Weeks 1&4) /85 (Week 1) 17 (Week 12) /73 (Week 5)
Jake Fisher RT 14/32 9 ↓ 73 74 ↓ 9 (Week 14) /74 (Week 14) 26 (Week 7) /70 (Week 7)
Eric Winston RT N/R 12 N/R 73 7 (Week 8) /74 (Week 8) 27 (Week 12) /68 (Week 12)
Cedric Ogbuehi OT N/R N/R N/R N/R 20 (Week 6) /72 (Week 2) 34 (Week 12) /63 (Week 10)
Clint Boling G 39/67 21 ↓ 69 71 ↓ 10 (Weeks 2&7) /79 (Weeks 1&2) 52 (Week 12) /66 (Weeks 12&13)
Kevin Zeitler G 12/67 32 ↑ 73 70 ↑ 1 (Week 7) /80 (Week 3) 50 (Week 1) /67 (Week 8)
Russell Bodine C 20/32 33 ↑ 68 61 ↑ 10 (Week 12) /70 (Weeks 11&12) 33 (Week 14) /57 (Week 1)
T.J. Johnson C N/R N/R N/R N/R 30 (Week 6) /65 (Week 6) 30 (Week 6) /65 (Week 6)
Carlos Dunlap DE 52/57 47 ↓ 63 63 ↔ 1 (Week 4) /76 (Weeks 4&13) 52 (Week 15) /62 (Week 2)
Michael Johnson DE 47/57 51 ↑ 64 61 ↑ 19 (Week 2) /67 (Week 12) 56 (Week 13) /55 (Weeks 1&3)
Will Clarke DE 56/57 53 ↓ 60 60 ↔ 33 (Week 4) /66 (Week 13) 55 (Weeks 5&12) /53 (Week 5)
Margus Hunt DE 27/57 N/R 68 N/R 20 (Week 2) /68 (Week 15) 60 (Week 4) 53 (Week 4)
Wallace Gilberry DE N/R N/R N/R N/R 23 (Week 11) /67 (Week 11) 58 (Week 12) /59 (Week 12)
Geno Atkins DT 3/91 1 ↓ 75 83 ↓ 1 (Weeks 10&14) /91 (Week 1) 16 (Week 5) /70 (Week 12)
DeShawn Williams DT 75/91 53 ↓ 57 61 ↓ 49 (Week 13) /62 (Week 13) 75 (Week 15) /57 (Week 15)
Domata Peko DT 69/91 65 ↓ 58 59 ↓ 29 (Week 4) /70 (Week 1) 70 (Week 12) /58 (Weeks 12&15)
Pat Sims DT 87/91 75 ↓ 52 57 ↓ 45 (Week 4) /64 (Week 4) 87 (Week 15) /52 (Week 15)
Vontaze Burfict OLB 6/39 3 ↓ 69 71 ↓ 1 (Week 10) /79 (Week 10) 38 (Week 11) /58 (Week 12)
Karlos Dansby OLB 15/39 5 ↓ 65 69 ↓ 5 (Week 14) /73 (Week 2) 35 (Week 10) /53 (Week 1)
Vincent Rey OLB 19/39 28 ↑ 63 62 ↑ 7 (Week 2) /76 (Week 2) 31 (Week 10) /57 (Week 6)
Nick Vigil ILB 24/51 N/R 68 N/R 24 (Week 15) /68 (Week 15) 33 (Week 11) /58 (Week 11)
Rey Maualuga ILB 46/51 48 ↑ 62 64 ↓ 24 (Week 12) /71 (Week 3) 52 (Week 1) /60 (Week 5)
Adam Jones CB 8/100 17 ↑ 74 71 ↑ 7 (Week 11) /81 (Week 2) 74 (Week 3) /57 (Week 10)
Dre Kirkpatrick CB 27/100 38 ↑ 68 65 ↑ 7 (Week 12) /80 (Week 2) 104 (Week 1) /49 (Week 1)
Josh Shaw CB 97/100 33 ↓ 49 66 ↓ 15 (Week 12) /72 (Weeks 1&12) 97 (Week 15) /49 (Week 15)
Darqueze Dennard CB N/R N/R N/R N/R 35 (Week 13) /65 (Week 13) 105 (Week 12) /45 (Week 12)
George Iloka FS 20/44 4 ↓ 70 75 ↓ 5 (Week 8) /77 (Weeks 3&8) 40 (Week 6) /62 (Week 6)
Derron Smith FS N/R N/R N/R N/R 11 (Week 11) /75 (Week 11) 27 (Week 6) /72 (Week 6)
Shawn Williams SS 5/43 11 ↑ 76 73 ↑ 1 (Week 8) /82 (Weeks 1&3) 30 (Week 11) /69 (Week 11)
Clayton Fejedelem SS N/R N/R N/R N/R 23 (Week 12) /70 (Week 12) 38 (Week 13) /65 (Week 13)
Randy Bullock K 21/32 N/R 68 N/R 21 (Week 15) /68 (Week 15) 21 (Week 15) /68 (Week 15)
Kevin Huber P 18/32 7 ↓ 63 70 ↓ 11 (Week 13) /69 (Week 4) 32 (Week 2) /53 (Week 5)