The Cincinnati Bengals are a team whose offensive focus is supposed to rest on the shoulders of a strong running game, but with starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis struggling and backup Bernard Scott sidelined for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, the team may be forced to search deeper down the depth chart for a spark.
Among the players that the team will look to to both back up and occasionally spell Green-Ellis are fifth-year pro Brian Leonard, a plodder who started seven games for the St. Louis Rams in 2007, and third-year pro Cedric Peerman, who to this point in his NFL career is much better known for his special teams prowess than his ability carrying the football.
However, the 25-year-old Peerman feels he's ready to take on an expanded role with the offense, telling Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, "I think I have that ability (to be a breakaway back). I just have to be ready for my chance to come."
Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden apparently agrees, telling Reedy that he thinks both ball-carriers bring something to the table for the Bengals:
Leonard's been good. He is a steady guy. And Cedric I think with more opportunities will prove he belongs also. He's got great vision he just has had limited opportunities. It will be good for him to get some more opportunities see if he can handle it and make some big plays for us.
With injuries mounting at the running back position and the bye weeks now in full swing, the $64 question becomes what to make of Peerman from a fantasy perspective.
Honestly, outside of deeper leagues that award a point for receptions, Peerman is probably more "wait and see" than add now. While Peerman is a decent receiver and capable ball-carrier, it's rather unlikely as things stand today that he'll see enough touches to have much fantasy value.
With that said, though, if Green-Ellis continues to average fewer than 3.5 yards a carry, the Bengals are going to find themselves in a lot of third-down situations that fit Peerman's skill set. Should that prove to be the case, his playing time (and production) could get a boost.
Long story short, if you have a roster spot to burn and are hard up for running back help, then Cedric Peerman might be worth a look.
However, it's probably best to just add him to the watch list and see if his touches get a bump this week when the Bengals travel to Cleveland.