The Cincinnati Bengals bounced back from a week one loss against the Chicago Bears with a fairly convincing victory over their divisional rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. One of the highlights of the game for Cincinnati was the performance of rookie running back Giovani Bernard.
After totaling 30 yards from scrimmage in his first career NFL game, Bernard tallied 38 yards rushing on eight attempts including a seven yard score. He also caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton, giving him a solid 18.5 points minimum in fantasy leagues across the nation — this depending on whether or not you’re in a PPR scoring system.
With quite the impressive performance, Bernard’s value goes way up. At this point, I would guess the Bengals will continue trying to get him the ball on a more consistent basis since he is the one making plays in his more limited role. Benjarvis Green-Ellis carried the ball 14 times for 25 yards in week one, and 22 times for 75 yards in Monday night’s game.
Green-Ellis is averaging only 2.8 yards per carry versus Bernard’s 5.0. Like I have said before, Bernard should likely fill the starting role sooner or later and it appears he will be on his way much sooner. Bernard is working his way up the fantasy rankings as we speak, and going into week three should be a solid RB3 or flex play considering the performance he put on against Pittsburgh.
I would venture to guess Bernard’s carries go into double-digits next week against the Green Bay Packers, assuming the Bengals don’t go down early to a red-hot Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ defense is nothing to be afraid of, so Bernard should do some damage in week three.