QB Andy Dalton (Cincinnati)
I’m expecting a sophomore slump for Andy Dalton. Dalton played well to start last season, completing 61.5% of his passes for an average of 6.6 YPA, and 12 touchdowns to 7 interceptions, leading the Bengals to a 6-2 record. However, in the 2nd half of the season, teams seemed to catch on and the Bengals went just 3-5 as Dalton completed just 54.6% of his passes for 6.6 YPA, and 8 touchdowns to 6 interceptions.
The Bengals also didn’t beat a playoff team all last year, going 0-8. Against a tougher schedule and with the league catching on to his game, Dalton could have a down season this year. I think he’s one of the most overrated quarterbacks in the league. There was a time when Colt McCoy had a decent rookie year, but teams caught on eventually and now he’s a backup. Dalton was a similar player coming out of school.
Projection: 3280 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 130 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown (192 pts standard/228 pts in 6 pt TD leagues)
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Cincinnati)
8/27/12: BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be the clear starter in Cincinnati, at least early in the season. He’s not very talented and could easy lose carries or his job to Bernard Scott sometime this season, but he moves up a little bit.
It’s hard to get excited about either of Cincinnati’s backs. Both averaged under 4 yards per carry last year and neither of them catch passes all that well. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is currently expected to be the lead back, but I really think Scott could surpass him in carries by the end of the season. I really don’t think BJGE is that good. The Patriots’ offense made him look a lot better than he is and even then he didn’t look that good. He’ll get the goal line carries, however.
Projection: 200 carries 740 rushing yards 7 total touchdowns 14 catches 100 receiving yards (126 pts standard/140 pts PPR)
RB Bernard Scott (Cincinnati)
8/27/12: Bernard Scott will start the season as a pure backup, though he could end up stealing BJGE’s job by the end of the season. The problem is that Scott isn’t very talented either. I would stay away from Cincinnati’s backfield entirely.
Scott will probably be the Bengals’ lead back by the end of the season because he’s the more talented of the two backs, but he’s still not very good. He won’t get the goal line carries or catch a lot of passes for you either. His biggest value is his rushing yardage. I wouldn’t want either of Cincinnati’s backs in my starting lineup, but Scott does have some sleeper potential as a RB5 or so.
Projection: 150 carries 570 rushing yards 4 total touchdowns 17 catches 130 receiving yards (94 pts standard/111 pts PPR)
WR AJ Green (Cincinnati)
With Andy Dalton having the sophomore slump I’m predicting for him, Green’s production will obviously dip a bit. He’s still too talented not to be a fantasy starter, however. He could still see his touchdowns increase next season. The 7 he had in 2011 seems awfully low for someone as talented as Green, however much Dalton does like targeting tight end Jermaine Gresham in the red zone.
Projection: 62 catches 1000 receiving yards 7 receiving touchdowns (142 pts standard/204 pts PPR)
TE Jermaine Gresham (Cincinnati)
Gresham should also see a small dip in his production this season, particularly his touchdowns. AJ Green is way more talented than Gresham so it wouldn’t surpass me if Green became Dalton’s favorite red zone target over Gresham.
Projection: 52 catches 560 receiving yards 5 receiving touchdowns (86 pts standard/138 pts PPR)