Bengals Fantasy News
Monday, July 28, 2014, 8:17pm
Late in Monday afternoon's practice, on one goal-line exercise, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton stepped up in the pocket, then stepped back, rolled to his right away from more pressure, and threw the ball to an empty space well beyond the back corner of the end zone.
The play resulted in an incompletion. And his offensive coordinator couldn't have been happier.
Indeed, it was good recognition by the long-embattled quarterback who has struggled in the past with deciding in similar scenarios of good defensive coverage and pressure whether he wants to tuck the ball and run, take a sack, throw it away or still try to complete the pass.
More often than not, his instinct in the past was to make the play work anyway. The end result of those decisions? Typically wobbly passes that fluttered into the hands of a defensive back who greedily picked off the pass that shouldn't have been attempted. A number of Dalton's 20 interceptions last season came when he tried to force a pass.
This was one of the big things the Bengals wanted to work on with Dalton before the season. Simply getting rid of the ball and not forcing a play is something that plagues the most veteran of NFL QBs. Many feel the Bengals are going to throw the ball a little less this season with Hue Jackson running the offense, and as a result Dalton is ranked 17th among our QBs. He's still a quality QB2 option in certain matchups.
One of the more intriguing storylines that we're tracking in Bengals training camp revolves around running back Giovani Bernard and the increased touches he's expecting this season.
He first heard during the spring that he was going to take on a greater share of the offensive load. He should be on the field more regularly and be put in better situations to see his number of touches increase from the 226 he had last year to somewhere closer to the neighborhood of 300.
This falls right in line with our thinking too, as we have him a shade under 300 touches at the moment. Bernard's been going early in the second round and looks like a great option as either and RB2 if you go RB in the first, or even a low-end RB1 if you grab a WR or TE Jimmy Graham in the first.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 4:25pm
Although he is just a rookie, Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews already talks and acts like a 10-year veteran. Part of the reasoning for that could be that during this last month, when other players were resting and preparing for training camp, Matthews sought out the advice of some of the best receivers in the NFL in Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals. "People put a lot of stock into the first day of training camp, but (succeeding in the NFL) is about who can sustain and who can make it through the season," Matthews said. "That is what I went to train with A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson for. To learn about longevity, learn about being a professional over a long period of time."
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 12:50pm
Bengals HC Jay Gruden on Darrel Young: "He's a very good fullback," Gruden said. "He can run, he can catch. We're excited about having him ... .The personnel will vary, but DY will be a major part of this offense."
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 12:24pm
As Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson started laying the groundwork of his new scheme this spring, he implored the players on his side of the ball to pick up their pace of play. He wanted them to break huddles quicker and get to the line of scrimmage at a similarly stepped-up tempo. His hope has been that in doing that, the Bengals will be able to get plays snapped earlier in the play clock. If they do that and move the chains as regularly as Jackson anticipates, they'll be calling more plays and wearing down more defenses by the fourth quarter. Quarterback Andy Dalton had to adjust to the stepped-up tempo during minicamp and organized team activities. Overall, Jackson was quite pleased with the way Dalton led the group through that modified hurry-up, but he wants to see what the entire unit will be able do once the temperatures go up and the shoulder pads come on. I'll be keeping an eye on how well the group continues pushing the tempo it established in the spring, and if that will allow it to get into the rhythm Jackson is seeking. After all, the best offenses are the ones that can get in and stay in sync.
If the Bengals are successful in pushing the tempo, they'll likely be running more plays which may offset some of the concerns about Jackson going too run-heavy with his offensive play-calling.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will hand down a two-game suspension to Ray Rice for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, sources confirmed Thursday. The league has not officially announced the suspension.
The general consensus was that Rice would get a four-game ban, so this is good news for his fantasy value and bad news for Bernard Pierce who will have a tough time establishing himself as the RB1 in two division games against the Bengals and the Steelers.
The Bengals added tight end Jermaine Gresham to the active physically unable to perform list. The Bengals said Gresham had a back injury. Gresham's injury appears to be unrelated to an issue from earlier this offseason that required him to have hernia surgery. That particular injury forced Gresham to miss all of the minicamp and organized team activity practices, even though he had participated in voluntary workouts earlier in the offseason calendar.
Gresham's injury could open the door for second-year TE Tyler Eifert. He's expected to see more snaps as the Bengals run more two-TE sets, but perhaps he can win the starting job outright with Gresham on the shelf.
The Bengals’ list of players on the non-football injury list surprisingly included receiver Marvin Jones, with an ankle injury. Per a league source, Jones is day-to-day due to a tweaking of the ankle that happened at the post-OTA passing camp arranged by quarterback Andy Dalton. Jones had an issue with the ankle in 2013.
He finished as the #21 WR in 2013, racking up 51 catches for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 80 targets. What gives Jones upside is the fact that he played just 48% of the snaps, sharing time with the far-less-effective Mohamed Sanu. In that limited playing time, he posted the #4 FP/snap (.25) of all wideouts who played at least 20% of their team’s snaps. All indications are that Jones is going to start opposite A.J. Green, and even though new OC Hue Jackson likes to run it more than Jay Gruden did, Jones’ new role should ensure that he has plenty of opportunity to make plays in his third year.
Bengals Marvin Jones may have been the most efficient receiver in football last year. Of the 22 receivers with at least six touchdowns, Jones (10 TDs) did it in the fewest snaps (555). In fact, only two others on the list accumulated less than 725 total snaps. A full year of Jones on the field most plays and a burgeoning relationship with Andy Dalton could mean a massive spike in production from his 51 receptions for 712 yards.
He finished as the #21 WR in 2013, racking up 51 catches for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 80 targets. What gives Jones upside is the fact that he played just 48% of the snaps, sharing time with the far-less-effective Mohamed Sanu. In that limited playing time, he posted the #4 FP/snap (.25) of all wideouts who played at least 20% of their team’s snaps. All indications are that Jones is going to start opposite A.J. Green, and even though new OC Hue Jackson likes to run it more than Jay Gruden did, Jones’ new role should ensure that he has plenty of opportunity to make plays in his third year. He is shaping up to be a terrific value in the 9th-11th rounds.
His ability won't be new this year and much talk early will revolve around new offensive toy Jeremy Hill. But the Bengals will feature Giovani Bernard early and often. His expansion as a receiver will only help create a scenario where he can crack 70 receptions and 230 carries for 300-plus total touches. Buckle up.
We currently have Bernard projected for 236 carries and 61 receptions for 297 total touches. Bernard was the #16 RB in 2013, but his touches weren’t truly consistent until Week 9. Jay Gruden is gone, so the Bengals have turned to Hue Jackson, who was the team’s RB coach last season. Jackson likes to run the ball, so the team's total carries should increase. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was serviceable as a between-the-tackles grinder and the team picked Jeremy Hill to be the Law Firm’s eventual (or immediate?) replacement. Bernard’s carries are still under pressure, but it sounds like he’ll see an increased role in the passing game. 300 touches are not out of the question.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:59pm
If you've been following along the past two months you know quite well that RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis' future in Cincinnati looks extraordinarily cloudy. Ever since the Bengals picked Jeremy Hill in the second round of May's draft, conventional logic has said that the veteran Green-Ellis no longer has a place on the team. Hill's drafting coincides with Green-Ellis entering the final year of a three-year deal. After lacking production last season, it stands to reason the Bengals are more willing to build for their future, instead of giving a vet like Green-Ellis an opportunity to continue playing. That's the signal Hill's selection sent, at least. Publicly, the Bengals maintain Green-Ellis has a place on this team and that they believe he can contribute. During minicamps and organized team activity practices, though, he was relegated in some cases to third- and fourth-back status, playing behind the likes of Hill, Giovani Bernard and a combination of Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead. Green-Ellis has been playing for his job since May, and he'll continue to do so when the Bengals return next week.
Hill is shaping up to be an intriguing middle round pick if he is indeed going to serve as Bernard's backfield partner. BJGE was the #31 RB in standard formats last season, but Bernard's role is expected to expand, so that might be Hill's ceiling, unless he's considerably more productive on a per touch basis.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:51pm
Redskins beat writer John Keim discusses the team's backfield split: "Roy Helu can catch the ball and perhaps he’ll run better out of a shotgun spread formation than in the outside zone. But I can’t imagine him in a Giovani Bernard role; the Bengals’ back had 226 touches from scrimmage last season. Though Helu averaged 4.4 yards per carry, he’s not a move-the-chains runner (eight carries against an eight-man front resulted in a total of 14 yards). Even against seven-man fronts Helu averaged 4.06 yards, which is fine but is much less than Morris (4.96, with an NFL-best 937 rushing yards against that type of front). "The point? Helu will be able to handle the third-down duties again, but there’s little reason to take a whole lot away from Alfred Morris."
Morris’s stock has taken a bit of a hit after the coaching regime change in Washington, but new HC Jay Gruden intends to keep the same running game (one reason they retained O-line coach Chris Foerster), so Morris’s outlook doesn’t change too much. He still isn’t much of a player in the pass game, so his PPR value is on the low side, though he’s a fairly safe start in any format given his steady workload.
Whether it’s by getting open deep or by snagging a pass in stride on a crossing pattern, the Redskins want WR DeSean Jackson to eat up big chunks of yards on a regular basis. So while he has the ability to catch 80+ passes for 1,300 yards, he probably won’t. With Garçon on the other side and Jordan Reed roaming in the middle, he won’t need to. The goal will be to make his touches count in a big way.
He's changing teams, which is rarely a good thing for a wideout unless he's moving into a larger role. In this case, he's joining a team with a proven target-hog (Pierre Garcon) and an up-and-coming tight end (Jordan Reed). New HC Jay Gruden does have a reputation for being pass-happy, but the Redskins actually attempted more passes (611) than the Bengals did (587) last season, so the pie may not grow as expected. In Cincinnati, Marvin Jones was the WR2 and saw 80 targets while playing just 48% of the snaps. If Jackson plays 80% of the snaps and sees the ball at the same rate, he would be targeted roughly 133 times. That’s plenty of work for D-Jax to post top 20 numbers, though Reed demands more targets than Cincinnati's Jermaine Gresham/Tyler Eifert combo last season.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 12:12pm
Mark Bullock of The Washington Post believes Redskins WR DeSean Jackson will play the "Z" position in Jay Gruden's offense, which was A.J. Green's spot under Gruden in Cincinnati. Pierre Garcon will play the "X" receiver (Marvin Jones's position), while Andre Roberts will play "Zebra" (Mohamed Sanu's position in the slot).
The article does a nice job of using snapshots to illustrate how each receiver might be used.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 8:26pm
Bengals beat writer Paul Dehner looked at the team's TEs and offered the following: This will be the year Tyler Eifert becomes a difference-maker and the two-tight-end offense truly pays dividends. Assuming Jermaine Gresham continues along the line of his career averages, a breakout from Eifert brings a combined 95 catches and 1,000-plus yards into the realm of possibility.
He also mentioned in the story that if a typical increase from year one to two holds true, Eifert could be looking at 700 of those 1,000 yards. Our projections aren't quite as high, and we see Eifert just shy of 500 yards and Gresham around 400. Neither are getting drafted in early drafts and both sit outside our top-20.
- Page 1