Giovani Bernard (RB) – Rookie Update

09/27/2013 6:21 am by in Fantasy Football, Fantasy Football Expert Analysis


So much for waiting a year or two for Benjarvus Green-Ellis to step aside and hand over the reigns to the youngster Gio Bernard. It seems as though that time is much closer than we originally thought!

Every pre-draft dynasty rankings list had the same three running backs at the top of their charts: Bell, Ball, Bernard–the three B’s. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Le’Veon Bell has been unable to stay healthy, and will not make his first regular season appearance until this coming Sunday, week 4. Montee Ball has been playing the rock, paper, scissors game with Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno in Denver, which has been driving fantasy owners crazy thus far. But in Cincinnati, it is unfolding a little differently than some might have thought.

Last season, Benjarvus Green-Ellis got slightly under 19 touches per game. So far this year through the first three games, he is averaging up over 23. So there goes any chance of Bernard getting anything right? Wrong–this is why we have seen a small dip in wide receiver A.J. Green’s production from a year ago (87 receiving yards combined the last two games), as well as quarterback Andy Dalton’s (no 300-yard game yet). The Bengals have done such a good job of controlling games as well as the offensive line, that they are simply running the ball more. And why not when you’ve got two great options in your backfield?

Gio has gotten just over 9 touches per game, but is making the most of his opportunities. And if he continues making the most of those opportunities, he will just get more and more. Green-Ellis is averaging 2.9 yards per touch, whereas Gio is averaging 6.9 yards per touch. This tells us how explosive the 5’9″, 208lb Bernard really is. He was just shy of the 20-point mark for those of you in PPR leagues the last two weeks, and will continue to be Cincy’s third-down back as well.

Giovani Bernard has turned into an excellent FLEX starter so far this year, if not an RB2. He has clearly pushed past Ball and Bell as far as future value in dynasty leagues, and most would agree his value in 2013 is higher as well. Look for the Bengals to give the young man more opportunities as the season goes along. Their week 4 matchup at Cleveland could be tough with the Browns playing so well against the run, but with future games vs New England, Buffalo, Detroit, San Diego, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota, Giovani Bernard will find many, many more opportunities to shine and showcase his explosiveness.

At this point, move Bernard up your lists past other RBs such as Stevan Ridley, Darren McFadden, Lamar Miller, David Wilson, and Ryan Mathews for this season (which means yes, if you can acquire him for one of these backs, go for it). In dynasty leagues, he would be the top rookie from the 2013 class, and guaranteed a Top 15 spot in PPR dynasty leagues.

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1 Comment so far

  1. klop45 September 27th, 2013 8:12 pm

    Love this call!!! I’m in a half point ppr league were we keep 3 players each year. I traded D Fadd, Lamar Miller, and the Chiefs D for Gio Bernard last night. I’m banking on him as a keeper next year and here on out. If people are thinking your crazy to give that much relax I scooped 49s D and Chiefs D off the wire the day before, Next move, looking to move Brees and Foster for Richardson or McCoy if possible. I have Vick and believe in him. Keepers right now are 1. Foster, 2. Julio Jones, 3. Geo Bernard OR Brees. Players letting go 1. P Garcon, 2. J Gordan, 3. B Peirce, 4. Vick

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