Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard was one of the most popular sleeper backs in every fantasy football format last season. He was a second round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, but the fact that he was the only running back drafted within the first 47 picks quickly put him on the fantasy map.
Bernard rushed for 695 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season. The former North Carolina standout also added a wide receiver-like 71 receptions for three more touchdowns. He proved to be a reliable safety valve for QB Andy Dalton to look for out of the backfield and will be a reliable source of receptions each season.
Bernard found himself behind back BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the depth chart all of last year. However, the Law Firm is owned $2.5 million in contract and bonuses this season and it is highly unlikely the team will want to pay that much for the aging back. That could leave Bernard is sole possession of the starting gig in Ciny, which would cause his fantasy value to go through the roof. Cincy will likely pick up some veteran back to tote the load if Green-Ellis is let go, but it will be clearly Gio’s team from here on out.
Bernard will be an amazing dual-threat back over the next five-plus years and will become a fixture in the first round sooner rather than later. If you are picking in the middle of the second round this summer, Bernard will be one of the best backs to target.