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Sept. 8 marked the beginning of two things: the NFL season and fantasy football.
While fantasy football success does not always translate to wins for NFL teams, it means there is productivity on offense. Unfortunately for the Bengals this year, it looks like they will struggle in both areas.
The Bengals may have the least fantasy options of any team in the league. With the apparent retirement of Carson Palmer, Cincinnati turned to rookie Andy Dalton, a second round pick from TCU. Like most rookie quarterbacks, Dalton will struggle as he adjusts to the NFL. In two games so far in 2011, Dalton has passed for 413 yards and three touchdowns. Unless your league requires two starting quarterbacks, avoid even giving Dalton a spot on your roster.
Dalton also has a huge impact on the Bengals’ other offensive weapons. Because of his inexperience, no receivers have much value. Although Jerome Simpson is listed as their No. 1 receiver, rookie A.J. Green looks like the best option. Even so, do not expect Green to put up great numbers.
Green has 11 receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns this season. He would make for good fantasy depth, but Dalton is likely to throw more interceptions than touchdowns.
Running back Cedric Benson will also suffer because of Dalton. Expect teams to focus on stopping the run with the rookie Dalton under center. Benson could be facing eight players in the box almost every down. Add the fact that Cincinnati is in a division with two of the best run defenses in the league in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and it is a recipe for disaster.
But because of the great value of starting running backs in fantasy, Benson is worth a look as he’s rushed for 180 yards and a touchdown in Cincinnati’s first two games.