Defenses are regarded as a position you can wait until the end to draft. However, that’s no longer the case as there are some top-tier defenses that can make a big difference to your fantasy team. The Cincinnati Bengals are one of those defenses.
The team finished fourth in fantasy points. They hauled in 20 interceptions (fifth), 43 sacks (10th) and 13 forced fumbles (14th). The Bengals have some key players returning and should be looked at as a top-five defense heading into the 2014 season.
The defense has a bunch of ball hawks playing the field. There were six games in which the defense had at least two interceptions. That will drive up any defense’s value. When a quarterback is having a hard time finding his target, the defense is doing its job. The Bengals held opponents to just 19.1 points per game, good for fifth in the league. The defense did a lot of its own scoring, taking back seven turnovers to the endzone.
With players like Pacman Jones stepping up and the return of Geno Atkins and Leon Hall, the Bengals’ defense will be back to full strength in 2014.
The downside to drafting the Bengals’ defense is the inconsistency. There were games in which the defense allowed its opponents to score 20 or more points. There were two games where the defense scored negative points, against the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts, two high-powered offenses.
Looking at its schedule, the defense faces some tough offenses, like the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints. These teams can easily score 30-40 points in a game. If you own the Bengals’ defense, be weary that a game with a goose egg is likely.
The Bengals lost its defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Paul Guenther is the replacement, but there will be a lot of expectations riding on this team. Pass rushers have left and defensive backs are getting older, usually not a recipe for success. Yet, the team made it known that they were targeting younger players in the draft. The Bengals made cornerback Darqueze Dennard their first-round pick. The team later selected lineman Will Clark in the third round.
The defense still has its key pieces and will be tough competition for its opponents. Wait until at least the 14th round to make a move for the Bengals’ D.
Bye Week: 4
Projected Round: 14th
Auction Value: $1 (via ESPN)