1) QB ANDY DALTON
Silva said that QB Dalton finished 3rd in fantasy QB scoring last year. That is a mistake in that Dalton did not finish 3rd, but I was still surprised to find that Dalton finished 5th overall. A new offensive coordinator, lots of pressure to perform, and stats that seemed to be inflated at the end of the year by the atypical pass-pass-pass offense would all seem to support Silva's claim that Dalton will not be as effective in 2014.
2) RB GIOVANI BERNARD
Staying with the Bengals, Silva sees Bernard as overvalued in the second round of most drafts. He supports his arguments with Bernard's limited 14 touch average last year, and that the team drafted competition in the second round with RB Jeremy Hill. Silva sees Hill as more of a touchdown threat and Bernard not worthy of the high pick that should give you RB1 numbers.
Silva's arguments are valid, but I counter:
- As a rookie, Bernard's coaches were trying to limit his touches per game so that he could remain healthy; they will likely be more apt to let him play this year
- As Bernard became more comfortable with the playbook and decision-making, he became more involved in the offense--a trend supported by his second-half of the season targets per game
- New Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson will implement a run first attack; which should translate into more carries for RBs. Also, I can't think of a roster without competition at RB. General Managers are smart enough to know that having multiple RBs that can be trusted by coaches is a necessity in today's NFL
- Silva focuses on the 14 touch average for Bernard per game, but his average over the final 8 games was actually 16 touches and 17 targets. This allowed for more production late
- He also speculates that RB Hill will steal goal-line touches as the heavier back. I need more evidence of this before buying it. As a rookie, Hill will have lots to learn and prove. And if this is true, it will be something we should see from reports in training camp and in the preseason games. And just because Bernard is short (5'8'') does not necessarily mean he is a small back. At 208 lbs., Bernard is the same weight as LeSean McCoy and is 10 lbs. heavier than Jamaal Charles--two backs with similar skills sets who are not removed from the game when their team is on the goal line
There is no debate that Giovani Bernard is a talented athlete who can produce, but I think the new run-focused offense, Bernard's experience as a second-year player, and Bernard's versatility in the run and pass game will translate into an excellent 2014 fantasy season.
Evidently, I am not alone.
Posted to Silva's home site Rotoworld, Paul Dehner, Jr. projects Bernard to have at least 230 carries and 70 catches.
The arguments in Evan Silva's article are well supported and you can read it by clicking here.