by Greg Talcott
The Cincinnati Bengals are the team that looks good on paper, solid on both sides of the ball, and yet they never seem to produce anything. One extra week of football every year for 4 straight years would be a monumental achievement in Cleveland, but no longer in Cincinnati. There was a long period of time when the Bengals were simply dreadful, but the fans who lived through that didn’t do so to only lose in the first round. The reality is, Bengals fans haven’t seen a playoff win since 1990; that was the last season of Alf and the first of Beverly Hills 90210 – that’s kind of sad. Who is to blame for this?
When you have a long history of failure like professional sports in Ohio or competence in Washington DC, it is impossible to blame one person. Perhaps the deal Ohio State signed with the devil robbed the professional teams of any chance at glory; your guess is as good as mine. For the “Bungles”, it is either the coach, the QB, or both. This team is loaded and another season of “one and done” will likely see Andy Dalton and/or Marvin Lewis need to go.
For fantasy owners, Andy Dalton is a mid-level quarterback at best and should not be viewed as a fantasy starter unless you are loaded up with talent at RB and WR. Dalton was awful in 2014 with a career low in TD’s with 19 against 17 INT’s. It was also his lowest yardage production since his rookie year with a paltry 3398. Really? How much did they just pay this guy? They say that redheads are soul stealers and while that has yet to be proven on a scientific level, it is safe to say Andy Dalton broke a lot of hearts last year. I could name at least 12 QB’s I would start over him, and even if he rebounds this year he isn’t worth anything besides a late round pick. Frankly, they should give AJ McCarron a hard look in the preseason because Dalton is not the guy.
The running back situation is Jeremy Hill in the driver seat and Giovani Bernard in the backseat, no longer the “breakout” player he was predicted to be last year. If you want a handcuff situation at RB this is it. I would like to have Jeremy Hill as a RB2, but not an RB1. The Bengals do have a legit WR1 in AJ Green and a TE2 Tyler Eifert, with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu being WR4 or bench support until Andy Dalton proves he can throw the ball. The Bengals’ defense looked great against the Browns and the Titans last year, but you can’t play them every week. This makes them a favorable match-up based defense at best for fantasy owners. The Bengals will miss the playoffs with fewer than 10 wins this season, possibly as low as 7-9.