Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) celebrate after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
3. Giovani Bernard, running back
ADP: 88.26 (Late eighth round)
NFL Fantasy Positional Ranking: 28th of running backs
Earliest he should be drafted: 75th overall
Two running backs are among the top three Bengals fantasy studs? Yes, you heard that right. Giovani Bernard is, in my eyes, fantasy football’s best handcuff running back. Hue Jackson loves to bring Gio Bernard into the game because he brings energy and excitement while also letting Jeremy Hill get some rest on the sideline.
Giovani Bernard’s fantasy ranking and ADP are very interesting, because he is listed behind several players who are young and unproven (Carlos Hyde, Latavius Murray, Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Joseph Randle) or injury prone (Jonathan Stewart, Joique Bell, Andre Ellington, Rashad Jennings, Darren McFadden). He’s also ranked behind LeGarrette Blount, an outlier in fantasy football due to his status as a Patriots running back (Bill Belicheck is a well-known fantasy killer, especially with his running backs).
While being ranked 28th isn’t bad, especially for a backup running back, Gio Bernard is still underrated in fantasy football and could perform as high as a top 15 running back, even as a backup. All Gio needs is for Hue Jackson to utilize him as often as possible, recognizing when Jeremy Hill needs to take a few snaps off and employing Bernard as a slot receiver on occasion.
Bernard’s value is so low among running backs that he could be snatched up as a RB3 or RB4 with ease; be sure to draft Bernard if you end up drafting Jeremy Hill, because should Hill go down to injury (fingers crossed that he doesn’t), Bernard’s fantasy value will skyrocket. And since his value is so low, it shouldn’t be too hard to draft Gio to your team or even to trade for him.
Next: It's A Team Effort