Bengals Log Jam at Running Back Impacts Fantasy Value for All
The hype around the Bengals run game is real and warranted. The question of who will get the bulk of the carries, however, is still up for discussion.
There is no shortage of talent when it comes to Cincinnati’s ball carriers. Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon are all quality guys that are going to give it their all to be Cincy’s workhorse.
But despite this upcoming position battle in training camp, I don’t see one guy housing all the reps. Hill is the most likely of the group to get the starting nod come Week 1 against Baltimore. But the hype surrounding Mixon is real. The second-rounder from Oklahoma is pushing for carries and will progressively eat away at Hill’s total touches.
Not to mention what Bernard brings to the table as a receiver and third-down back.
Having this many mouths to feed isn’t an issue for the Bengals success in 2017. In fact, it’s a good problem to have. You can never have enough depth at the running back position, and the Bengals wisely built the team this way to sustain the grind of the 16 game NFL season. Playing in the AFC North will do that to you.
But in a pass-happy league, where moving the ball through the air is king, it’s hard to imagine the Bengals slamming the ball on the ground more than 40 times a game. In my mind that leaves 18 totes for Hill, 12 for Bernard and 10 for Mixon.
Jeremy Hill is the Safest Bet, but Bet Low long-term
The running back by committee approach that the Bengals are most certainly going to have in 2017 makes it clear to opt for other more consistent workhorse options around the league.
But just like in the real NFL, in fantasy you need a stable of backs to play matchups each week. Drafting Hill in the middle rounds should net you solid points throughout the year. But realistically, I don’t see him breaking off 100-yard games consistently enough for you to bet the farm on him.
Mixon is on the other side of that argument, making him a bit more of a gamble based on his inexperience with the offense.
Bernard’s injury recovery is going well, but the former Tar Heel is becoming less and less of a viable option each week due to Mixon’s expected progression and Hill’s Alpha Dog attributes.
This situation is one that will continue to unfold as training camp progresses. Thanks for reading, and keep checking back with Stripe Hype for more updates as the season unfolds.