There aren’t many players on the Cincinnati Bengals that are going to jump out at you. Their biggest name player is a 35 year old James Harrison, who was recently cut by division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. With that being said, they are still ranked as the fifth best defense on the board.
Last season, the Bengals allowed exactly 20 points per game, good for eighth in the league. They bring back a good majority of their defense and add Harrison to a group that collected 46 sacks last season. The front seven will only get better with Vontaze Burfict in his second year in a pro style system. Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson became sack machines tallying 12.5 and 11.5 sacks, respectively. Even with Harrison’s down year, he still recorded six sacks and two forced fumbles in 13 games.
The Bengals were just as good at picking balls off as they were at getting to the quarterback. One guy doesn’t seem to stand out by himself, with Reggie Nelson and Chris Crocker leading the team with three apiece. The big stat you want to look at is they brought back four interceptions for touchdown.
The Bengals special teams won’t wow anyone too much. Brandon Tate is a very good kick returner, but he hasn’t brought one back to the house since 2010. He did bring a punt back in 2011, but that is now Adam Jones‘ job. Jones did bring a punt back for a touchdown last season, and he could be very good with a full season of punt return duties.
This defense is going to be very consistent for you. I feel like the defensive rankings in the NFL are very top heavy this season in fantasy, so I believe fifth is very fair. The team is not going to allow many points and get its fair share of turnovers. Don’t take the Bengals before the second to last round, as you shouldn’t with any defense, but you will definitely be happy to have them on your team.