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|Whether the offensive coaching staff lacked confidence or worried about overworking him, Giovani Bernard was a woefully underutilized asset in 2013. Only a supremely talented three-tool running back could finish in the top 16, despite having 37 fewer carries than those ranked above him. A skillful playmaker with the ball in his hands, Bernard did a ton of damage in the passing game, racking up 56 catches (on 71 targets), 536 yards and three scores. While he didn't get a ton of opportunities on the ground, the eighth most targeted running back in the league certainly proved more than capable as a pass catcher. New offensive coordinator Hugh Jackson is very familiar with what Bernard can do with the ball in his hands, so expect the second-year back from North Carolina to carve out more of defined role on the ground as the leader of this two-headed backfield. Bernard offers substantially more big play and chunk yardage potential than plodding veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis and hammerhead rookie Jeremy Hill. He was very respectable in the red zone with 21 carries (to Green-Ellis's 30) and four scores. Although he cooled off in the second half – especially down the stretch, (averaging only 3.6 yards per carry over the final five games) – Bernard should play a key role this year with the Bengals. With an uptick in carries, he could approach 1,000 yards rushing. And if the Bengals stay committed to using him creatively in the offensive game plan, Bernard is a sure bet for strong RB2 value with RB1 upside.
|Giovani Bernard projected for 300 touches|
Bengals focus on running game will boost Gio's stats
By: Mike Krueger | Wed Jul 16, 8:00 am
|His ability won't be new this year and much talk early will revolve around new offensive toy Jeremy Hill. But this team will feature Giovani Bernard early and often. His expansion as a receiver will only help create a scenario where he can crack 70 receptions and 230 carries for 300-plus total touches. Buckle up. (Cincinnati Enquirer)|
FFToday's Take: The prevailing wisdom amongst fantasy owners is that Bernard is poised for a breakout season which is why he's currently going in the second round of mock drafts. Bernard's catching ability makes him an attractive option in PPR leagues as well. His fantasy stock is on the rise.