Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 6/26/12

Cincinnati may not be the prettiest of cities these days, but that doesn’t mean the Bengals aren’t anticipating a successful year on the gridiron. The Bengals are a young and upcoming team who can easily surpass the 21.5 points per game (18th in the league) they scored last season and realistically compete with the rest of the AFC North which doesn’t look nearly as lopsided as it has in the past decade.

Here are the guys in Cincinnati that you should have on your list come time to do the fantasy draft.


*Credit to Cold Stone Creamery for inspiring the categories for this set of fantasy previews. However, I cannot guarantee the fantasy players will live up to high expectations like their delicious ice cream does.

GOTTA HAVE THEM (Elite Category – These guys are must have for any fantasy team)

No Current Bengals Fit In This Class

LOVE THEM (These guys are game-changers who are a breakout season or two from becoming elite)

WR A.J. Green (2011 Finish: 16th ranked RB, 9.0 points per game)

If you’re daring enough to venture into Cincinnati for some fantasy players, A.J. Green is your guy. He had seven touchdowns as a rookie and is the best offensive option they have. I was so impressed by his rookie year, I’m willing to say he could be elite one day, but it’s not certain that QB Andy Dalton will be able to elevate him to that status. When a guy’s first career catch is a 41 yard touchdown, you know he’s destined for something special in the game of fantasy. That may have been his only catch of the game (good for 10 fantasy points), but his 65 catches and 1,057 yards have potential fantasy owners taking a deep look at this sophomore.

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (2011 Finish: 22nd ranked RB, 8.6 points per game)

The only reason that the Law Firm makes this category is because he will most likely be one of the last starting running backs drafted, thus making him a great value pick. Firstly, Green-Ellis never fumbles and he will be instrumental in helping a young Bengals team compete in what should be an interesting AFC North battle. He probably won’t get anywhere close to the 24 touchdowns he scored in New England the last two years, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a solid option at a RB2 spot. His three year contract says the Bengals are committed to him and back-up Bernard Scott has already showed he’s not worthy of being a high-volume guy. Heck, if Cedric Benson can excel here, why not BJGE?

LIKE THEM (These guys are solid fantasy options who should help any fantasy team win)

TE Jermaine Gresham (2011 Finish: 13th ranked TE, 5.4 points per game)

Gresham has been overwhelmingly disappointing for fantasy owners over the past two seasons. As the Bengals first round pick out of Oklahoma in 2010, everyone was sure he would be the next big thing in the tight-end game, but we’re all still waiting for him to turn that corner. Last year was an improvement as he made the Pro Bowl (even if it was as a replacement) and showed some promise with less drops/more athletic catches. With A.J. Green drawing more attention, maybe this is the year for Gresham to become a top-ten tight end. Gresham should be a great pick for those not wanting to draft an elite tight-end early in the draft.

OUT OF STOCK (These guys can not yet be counted on to bring greatness to a fantasy team)

QB Andy Dalton
RB Bernard Scott
WR Brandon Tate
WR Jordan Shipley
RB Brian Leonard

What do you think of the 2012 Cincinnati Bengals Fantasy Outlook? Did I miss anything or was it pretty spot on? Let me know by commenting below!

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

More TSB Fantasy Team Previews:

AFC EAST
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens

Pictures:

A.J. Green (http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/FjpLqrf5qD4/Cincinnati+Bengals+v+Seattle+Seahawks/2Jyp4h-e_WI/A.j.+Green)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (cincyjungle.com)


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