Brian Leonard: Updated Fantasy Football Analysis & Outlook

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IOctober 9, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 30:  Brian Leonard #40 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs for yardage during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 30, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is struggling—leaving the door wide open for veteran Brian Leonard to step in and make a big impact for the team. 

Through five games, Green-Ellis has only rushed for 300 yards on 91 carries and two touchdowns, while fumbling the ball three times. One of the reasons he was such a stud for the New England Patriots is that he didn't turn the ball over—ever. 

His 3.3 yards-per-carry average is paltry, and given the fact that Green-Ellis hasn't exactly been contributing in big ways in the passing game, it may be time for a change. 

So, if Leonard is called on to perform, what does he bring to the table?



A six-year veteran of the NFL, Leonard has been a successful backup and has started 21 games. 

At 6'2" and 226 pounds, Leonard won't run past many defensive backs, but he has good vision, instincts and power. He makes defenders miss in open space and is capable of breaking out some big gains in both the running game and in the passing game. 

He went to college at the University of Rutgers, where he proved to be a versatile and talented running back. Unfortunately for him, he played behind Ray Rice. 

Throughout his four years there, Leonard tallied 2,775 rushing yards, 1,868 receiving yards and 77 total touchdowns. 

His best attribute is his ability to play all three downs, as Leonard is an adept pass-catcher and pass-blocker. 

Since joining the Bengals in 2009, Leonard has rushed for 256 yards on 59 carries (4.3 yards per carry) and has caught 75 passes for 596 yards (7.9 yards per catch) and one touchdown. 


Fantasy Outlook

Leonard is listed as the No. 2 running back for the Bengals behind Green-Ellis.

Bernard Scott was placed on the IR after the team's Week 5 loss to the Miami Dolphins, according to's Joe Reedy, after he tore his ACL.

Jay Gruden talked about the running back position, via Reedy's report, saying:

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.

This sounds pretty typical, as Leonard has never been considered to be the kind of player who can handle too much of the workload, even though he always produces. 

Coming up on the schedule for the Bengals, they face the Cleveland Browns (No. 26 in the NFL in yards allowed) in Week 6, the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 16 in yards per carry) in Week 7 and the Denver Broncos (No. 23 in the NFL in yards allowed) in Week 8. 



Leonard's fantasy prospects are better now than they were a week ago, but don't expect this guy to bust out with any 20-point games any time soon. 

Even though Green-Ellis has struggled, there are absolutely no reports that indicate he's going to be used any less going forward than he has been used so far this season. He's the No. 1 running back, and that's not changing. 

Leonard will continue to operate as the team's go-to guy in third-down situations, but he isn't going to start carrying the ball 15 times a game. 

If you're in a deep league and need some insurance, don't be afraid to pick up Leonard to stash on your bench in case of emergency. Anyone not in a deep league shouldn't be thinking about picking him up on waivers. 

He won't produce fantasy gold.


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