What changed for the Bengals? Click here
Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron:
Andy Dalton has looked like an elite quarterback one moment and a disappointing project the next moment throughout his career. However he appeared to be putting that all behind him a year ago with a great season until injury making a tackle of all things ended his campaign. In only 13 games he threw for 3250 yards, completed 66% of his throws and tossed 25 touchdowns against 7 interceptions. The Bengals looked like real Super Bowl contenders but then he went down for the year and the Bengals fell down like a house of cards in the playoffs. Dalton though heading into this year looks like he has figured things out and he will have a good season. Expect close to 4000 passing yards and 30 touchdowns for Dalton in 2016.
McCarron came in and at times last year almost did look like Tom Brady out there (who he compared himself to). He completed 66% of his throws for 854 yards with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions and was doing a really nice job. He even held his own in the playoffs until his team got really stupid around him. He is an intriguing player. He arm strength is an issue but there is a swagger about him that is impossible to ignore. He won't get his chance in Cincinnati probably but perhaps soon a team will take a real look at him.
Rex Burkhead, Cedric Peerman
The Cincinnati Bengals have a two-headed monster at running back. Jeremy Hill is the hammer while Giovani Bernard is the finese tool and the system works really well for the team. Jeremy Hill had a terrific rookie season in 2014 but really stumbled last year, only rushing for 794 yards on a 3.6 yards per carry averaged. He averaged 5.1 per carry as a rookie. Then to make it even worse, Hill fumbled the playoff game away against the Steelers which was a game the Bengals had won. Hill has used that fumble and his poor season as motivation and he will be stronger this year.
Giovani is the ultimate scat back weapon. At 5'9 and 202 pounds, he is quick, dynamic and a real threat in both the rushing and passing games. He averaged 4.7 yards per rush last year and almost 10 yards per reception but only 2 touchdowns was a huge disappointment. Expect similar numbers in 2016 but he will jump up to at least 5 touchdowns, if not more. He is a very good player.
James Wright, Brandon Tate:
Green rediscovered himself last year after an injury plagued 2014 campaign. He established himself once again as a star fantasy receiver when he caught 86 passes for 1297 yards and 10 scores. He is tall, fast, agile and tenacious going after the football. He is in the prime of his career and with the changes at receiver in Cincinnati I expect his numbers to climb much like Julio Jones' stats did in Atlanta last year. 110 receptions, 1500 yards and 12+ touchdowns as he becomes a fantasy MVP in 2016.
The Bengals lost both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu this offseason but did bring in veteran Brandon LaFell to bring some experience to the mix. The 29-year old receiver brings great size and good body control to the table and while never becoming a star receiver, he has had some good NFL campaigns including 953 yards and 7 touchdown season with the Patriots in 2014. The Bengals do not need a star receiver here. Just a player that knows what his role is and catches the ball well. LaFell will fit that bill nicely.
The Bengals drafted talented receiver Trevor Boyd in the 2nd round of this year's NFL Draft and he has the ability to immediately step in as a 2nd / 3rd option. He doesn't have top speed and isn't a big threat deep but this player runs fantastic routes and has terrific hands. He will surprise at the next level with a better quarterback throwing him the ball. Great need pick for the Bengals. Cody Core of Mississippi was brought in with a 6th round pick and he will compete for a roster spot as well.
Eifort emerged as a true fantasy weapon last year with 13 receiving touchdowns in thirteen games. Eifort battles hard in the endzone and his size/athleticism combination cause match up nightmares for defenders. The former 1st round pick is as talented a player at the position as their is in the league and he is now ready to make the jump to elite fantasy star in 2016. Expect 75 receptions, 900 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns from the talented tight end.
Kroft had a little work as a rookie last year, catching 11 passes for 129 yards and a score. He is super athletic and actually is similar to Eifort with his size, speed and receiving prowess. If he has a great camp, he could steal some work from Eifort this year but it would have to be a sensational camp. Chances are he will continue to see occassional playing time and finish with 20-25 receptions but if he gets a chance, watch out.
Projected Starters: LT Andrew Whitworth, LG Clint Boling, C Russell Bodine, RG Kevin Zeitler, RT Eric Winston
Key Backups: Christian Westerman - rookie, Jake Fisher, Cedric Ogbuehi,
The Bengals starting five from last season are all back which makes them one of the finest offensive lines in the NFL. A big part of strong offensive line play is the cohesiveness and comfortability that the offensive line has and how they fit into the scheme. The Bengals starting five together ar every good and there is enough depth here as well to fill in an injury or two if needed. It all starts at left tackle where Andrew Whitworth is a terrific All-Pro talent. At right tackle, veteran Eric Winston continues to hold onto his starting job. Behind those two players, two young, hungry tackles, Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi are awaiting their turn in the spotlight. Both are exceptional talents who can really get after it. There are in good shape as well at the guard position with two veterans holding down the fort while 2016 draft pick Christian Westerman will push for playing time. Put it all together and the Bengals offensive line will continue to shine this year
This twelve-year pro is stable and consistent and has hit 213 of 263 career field goals.