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Week 1 Fantasy Football: Don’t Start RB Giovani Bernard

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

One running back that is featured on almost every single must-start list for Week 1 of the fantasy football season has been RB Giovani Bernard of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Bernard was selected by Cincinnati in the first round of this past year’s NFL Draft and the former North Carolina standout seemingly has a lock on the starting gig. Bernard has a combination of running/receiving talent that is reminiscent of Ray Rice and the youngster is very elusive out of the backfield as well.

This Sunday, though, Cincinnati faces the Chicago Bears and I just don’t see Bernard gaining many yards against the experienced defense. Chicago has always been a very honest defense, so the rookie won’t get many open running lanes. He will have to run north-to-south and gain the tough yards.

Considering Bernard’s size (5’9″-209), veteran RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis may actually end up having the better game. The Law Firm is a much tougher inside runner and will do better fighting through the thick d-line of the Bears. Bernard may have a couple receptions, but Green-Ellis will likely get the majority of the carries in Week 1.

Additionally, Bernard has not been a very reliable pass protector throughout the preseason. He has been caught out of position on several occasions and the first year back could be a major problem for the team against Chicago’s relentless pass rush. Green-Ellis is much better at protecting the quarterback and that alone could keep Bernard off the field.

I think Bernard has a very bright future ahead of him and I think he will become a reliable RB2 by the time the season ends, but this is one week I wouldn’t start him.


Adam McGill is the Senior Fantasy Sports Writer at Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @adammcgill83, like him on Facebook, or add him to you networks on Google here or here.