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|Whether the offensive coaching staff lacked confidence or worried about overworking him, Giovani Bernard was a woefully underutilized asset in 2013. Only a supremely talented three-tool running back could finish in the top 16, despite having 37 fewer carries than those ranked above him. A skillful playmaker with the ball in his hands, Bernard did a ton of damage in the passing game, racking up 56 catches (on 71 targets), 536 yards and three scores. While he didn't get a ton of opportunities on the ground, the eighth most targeted running back in the league certainly proved more than capable as a pass catcher. New offensive coordinator Hugh Jackson is very familiar with what Bernard can do with the ball in his hands, so expect the second-year back from North Carolina to carve out more of defined role on the ground as the leader of this two-headed backfield. Bernard offers substantially more big play and chunk yardage potential than plodding veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis and hammerhead rookie Jeremy Hill. He was very respectable in the red zone with 21 carries (to Green-Ellis's 30) and four scores. Although he cooled off in the second half – especially down the stretch, (averaging only 3.6 yards per carry over the final five games) – Bernard should play a key role this year with the Bengals. With an uptick in carries, he could approach 1,000 yards rushing. And if the Bengals stay committed to using him creatively in the offensive game plan, Bernard is a sure bet for strong RB2 value with RB1 upside.
|Bengals hint at committee backfield|
HC Lewis suggests Bernard will "get a little bit more"
By: Doug Orth | Thu Sep 4, 3:55 pm
|Fantasy Nugget: Bengals HC Marvin Lewis told me "A smart guy would say Gio gets a little bit more" when (I asked him about he would split touches between Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill). (Ross Tucker on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: The first clue was the second-round pick the Bengals spent on Hill this spring, the second was Cincinnati's curious choice to give the LSU rookie 26 touches in the preseason finale and the third was the release of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The good news for Bernard owners is that he is probably still in line for over 200 carries and 60-plus receptions because new OC Hue Jackson will put a heavy emphasis on the running game. As for Hill, he should be solid flex play going forward.
|Law Firm gets the boot|
Bengals release running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis
By: Mike Krueger | Fri Aug 29, 3:16 pm
|The moment running back Jeremy Hill was selected in the second round of this year's draft, the writing appeared to be on the wall for veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis. That was confirmed Friday when the team opted to release him. (Cincinnati Enquirer)|
FFToday's Take: We figured this was coming and the Bengals made it official today. BJGE, 29, was set to make $3 million this year. Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead will make the final roster as backups to Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Green-Ellis may catch on with another team but he's not likely to be a fantasy factor in 2014.