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AFC North Dynasty Capsule: Cincinnati Bengals

Ken KellyContributor IIIJuly 19, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals talks with teammate Chad Ochocinco #85 during the game against the New York Jets at Giants Stadium on January 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

For the last decade, the Bengals have been well-known for a lot of unsavory reasons. Fortunately for dynasty fantasy football league owners, they’ve also been a great franchise to utilize for fantasy points.

Led by an improving defense and an unusually run heavy offense, the Bengals finally broke through and won the AFC North last season. The season ended in disappointment with a loss to the upstart Jets in the Wild Card round, but the season itself had to be deemed a success.

The veteran-laden Bengals core returns for another run at Super Bowl immortality. Amazingly, there are already some serious questions about this offense and the value of their players in dynasty fantasy football leagues.

Let’s take a look at the Bengals in the last of our 32 dynasty league capsules from dynastyleaguefootball.com .


Players in their Prime

Chad Ochocinco, WR
Chad didn’t stay away from the spotlights much this offseason. The Ultimate Catch and Dancing with the Stars participant has been front and center in the entertainment industry of late. After his career renaissance in 2009, he probably earned it.

Ochocinco rebounded from his disastrous 540 yard performance in 2008 to post 72 catches, 1,047 yards, and nine touchdowns in 2009. That marked his seventh season with at least 1,000 yards since entering the league out of Oregon State. Combine that with his 62 career touchdowns and that already equates to a solid career.

At age 32, the prime years for Chad are starting to run out. He was completely shut down by Darrelle Revis in the last two games of the season, catching a total of two passes for just 28 yards. However, Ochocinco is best served with a speedy and reliable option next to him and he finally has that again with the addition of Antonio Bryant. He also won’t play every game out on Revis Island.

Chad is a solid option as a No. 2 receiver in dynasty leagues, but you can surely expect he’ll be landing in the falling values category in the next few seasons. Age simply catches up to everyone at some point.


Rising Players


Bernard Scott, RB

Scott had a solid rookie campaign as a complement to Cedric Benson, posting 321 yards on 74 attempts. It doesn’t appear that Benson will be suspended for his recent incident at a bar, but it reminds all Scott owners that he’s just one Benson mistake away from fantasy prominence.

Regardless, the coaching staff seems intent on seeing what Scott can do as a regular participant on offense. He’s a big play threat on a team who really could use one.

Jermaine Gresham, TE
Gresham’s knee injury he suffered at Oklahoma dropped him all the way to the Bengals who selected No. 21 in the 2010 NFL Draft. From all indications after their recent camp, they’re thrilled to have him.

His college resume is outstanding. He produced 66 receptions, 950 yards, and 14 touchdowns in 2008, giving him 111 catches, 1,629 yards, and 26 touchdowns in his three years in Norman. Those are big time prospect numbers from a position the Bengals have been needing production from for a long time.

Gresham’s knees are a legitimate concern in dynasty league circles. However, his combination of size, speed, and power remind many of Jermichael Finley.

He’ll likely be eased into the offense, but Gresham is a solid late second round choice in rookie only drafts this summer as a tight end who could become an elite weapon.

Antonio Bryant, WR
He’s been around the block a little, but who on the Bengals hasn’t?

After stints in Dallas, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Tampa Bay, Bryant comes to Cincinnati with the coaches hoping he can replace the late Chris Henry as the deep threat to their offense. Bryant exploded in Tampa Bay for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns in 2008, but a swollen left knee limited him to just 600 yards and four touchdowns.

The Bengals hope Bryant can be the legitimate No. 2 receiver they’ve been looking for since losing TJ Houshmandzadeh to the Seahawks last season. If he can stay healthy, his acquisition could be a real coup in dynasty leagues.


Players with Falling Values

Carson Palmer, QB
Palmer had a decent season last year with 3,094 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. In some ways, it was a victory in itself to stay healthy after serious shoulder problems the year before. So, why the diminishing value?

Palmer has seemingly lost some of his trademark zip and overall arm strength. When you watched him last season, it was obvious that something simply wasn’t right. His deep ball accuracy was suspect and he tended to float passes to open receivers in the middle of the field. While the team and Palmer himself insist nothing is wrong, it’s tough to watch tape and truly believe that.

It’s a really big season for Palmer in dynasty leagues. At just 30 years of age, he should have a significant number of elite seasons left in him. However, if he comes out and looks like he did last year, all bets are off.

Right now, Palmer is best served as a No. 2 quarterback in dynasty leagues with the chance to re-emerge as an elite No. 1 if he can regain the strength in that throwing shoulder.

Cedric Benson, RB

In Benson’s first season as the Bengals running back, he enjoyed a productive year with 747 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, he blew up for 1,251 yards, and six touchdowns.

While still just 27 years old, the risk with Benson is significant. He’s shown a history of off the field issues and poor judgment. While that seems to fit right in with the Bengals, he’s probably one strike away from a serious suspension. His latest incident in a bar likely won’t be that strike, but it’s a reminder that owning Benson can be uncomfortable at best.

Benson is a solid No. 2 running back at this point. Oddly enough, nobody would be too surprised if he either cracked the top 10 in running back scoring this season or simply ended up in jail.

Matt Jones, WR
Jones was once a promising converted quarterback prospect from Arkansas. After his own run of off the field incidents, he was signed by Cincinnati in the offseason.

Unfortunately for Jones, he’s looked incredibly ordinary in practice so far. He’s sitting squarely on the roster bubble for the Bengals and should sit squarely on the waiver wire in your dynasty leagues.

Chase Coffman, TE
Any chance he had for dynasty league value went out the window when Jermaine Gresham was drafted. Coffman has shown some ability, but he’s buried on the depth chart now.

Andre Caldwell, WR
He looked to have a lock on the No. 3 receiver position, but he’s being pushed by a rookie from Texas who we’ll talk about later. Regardless, his ceiling is going to be as a situational slot receiver with the addition of Antonio Bryant to play opposite Ochocinco.

Jerome Simpson, WR
He’s been a project for a while now and it’s just about time he shows some promise. He’ll likely beat out Matt Jones for a roster spot, but playing time isn’t in the cards any time soon. He’s only a stash in the deepest of dynasty leagues.


Sleeper

Jordan Shipley, WR

Colt McCoy’s favorite target is already making an impression in Bengals camp as a reliable receiver with better than average route running ability. You won’t pick him out of a crowd because of his ordinary stature, but he’s already working with the first team as a slot receiver in practices.

He could be a nice late round pick in rookie only drafts, especially those that reward point for receptions.


Super Sleeper

Dezmon Briscoe, WR
He’ll likely be headed to the practice squad this season. Keep an eye on him, though. His speed is an issue, but he was incredibly productive at Kansas where he scored 31 touchdowns the past three years.


Summary


Many of the dynasty values of the Bengal players rest squarely on the arm of Carson Palmer. If he can regain his pre-injury form, the sky’s the limit for this offense. If he can’t, it’s going to be a run heavy and less than dynamic offense. That’s certainly not what dynasty league owners want to see.

Cincinnati boasts some interesting veterans mixed with some youthful prospects from a dynasty fantasy football perspective. The wide receiver battles behind Ochocinco and Bryant coupled with the behavior of Cedric Benson make Cincinnati a fun team to follow this offseason, as always.

For dynasty team capsules for every team in the NFL, and player rankings specific to your dynasty team's current status, visit dynastyleaguefootball.com .

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