If you’re watching Hard Knocks like the rest of the football world, you’ll see that Giovani Bernard is a hot topic around the Cincinnati Bengals training camp. He’s fast, he’s elusive, and he’s down-to-earth — he’s driving around his girlfriend’s mother’s minivan — but he’s also a rookie.
His effort to steal carries from BenJarvus Green-Ellis might be the only mean thing the young kid has ever done in his entire life. And while he may be playing himself into a job, he’s playing you out of a fantasy pick at running back. The reason “The Law Firm” and Bernard aren’t good fantasy picks is simple: they complement each other too well.
BGE, by all accounts, is the entrenched as the starter. He’s fairly healthy year round; he’s great in short yardage, and he’s your goal line beast. That is why a bulk of his fantasy points will come from outside of PPR leagues. So that means he’s getting touchdowns, so he’s a good bet, right? Wrong.
I told that you that Green-Ellis would start and that he would be landing the touchdowns, but who’s going to be piling up all the yards between the 20′s? If it’s not Bernard, and it should be, it could one of a handful of other play makers, namely A.J. Green.
Bernard’s quickness and ability to break off long gains will most likely land him the most overall yards between the backs, but unless he breaks those runs into long scores, you’ll only be putting points on the fantasy board by single digits.
Still don’t believe me? The Bengals have even said that the work will be split as close to 50-50 as possible, meaning sure, someone will score running touchdowns, they just don’t care who. If you have to take either one of these backs, go with Green-Ellis, but remember — he’s a sleeper to even be a top-35 back by the end of the year.
If Green-Ellis goes down and Bernard becomes the starter, then take another look. Until then, unless you’re in a very deep league or you’re in a hard spot, do the obvious and avoid both backs.