(Week 14: vs. Pittsburgh, Week 15: at Cleveland, Week 16: vs. Denver )
This is a tough playoff schedule. The Bengals have two home games, but also two big divisional games and a game against arguably the best team in the AFC.
New offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is somewhat of a controversial figure for Fantasy owners as he is a proponent of a dominant running attack. Some might think this will hurt Andy Dalton and the passing game, but I think it minimizes Dalton’s mistakes and leaves the opposing team’s more susceptible to the play-action deep throws.
A.J. Green is a virtual lock to catch 90 passes for 1,300 yards and 10 or more TDs. Those numbers are worthy of a top ten pick in any Fantasy format.
Cincinnati Bengals WRs Marvin Jones & A.J. Green
Under the Radar Guy
Many Fantasy owners expected TE Tyler Eifert to dominate last year as a rookie. This did not happen, as Eifert never really got into the flow on offense. Often when a player underperforms people tend to stay away from him at draft the following year. However, it is important to be patient, especially with young players. Eifert is a huge target and will eventually find his footing in this offense. He is going as a TE2 in many leagues and will almost certainly out perform his ADP.
Roto Visionary Sleeper
If you do the math, you will realize that RB Giovani Bernard might just be a top six RB this year in Fantasy Football. I expect 1,600 total yards from scrimmage with 60 receptions and nine TDs. That adds up to 274 points. In a PPR league, those numbers are gold.
A lot of people (including myself) think very highly of rookie RB Jeremy Hill. Hill has terrific size, speed and is a battering ram around the goal line. Because of this skill set, he will go high in Fantasy drafts, primarily because people see him as the replacement to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Even if this is true, the Bengals will still give Bernard the bulk of the touches (close to 300) and without some sort of injury to Bernard, Hill may not have the year that some people are expecting.
(Week 14: vs. Indianapolis, Week 15: vs. Cincinnati, Week 16: at Carolina)
The Week 14 and 15 matchups don’t bother me too much, but Week 16 on the road vs, Carolina is definitely a game to avoid.
The Browns hired Mike Pettine in the offseason to bring a new era of tough defense and smash-mouth football back to Cleveland. Pettine hired former Redskins OC Kyle Shanahan to run his offense and it seems like a good overall fit. Shanahan will enjoy working with new QB Johnny Manziel and try to help set up a very balanced attack.
Jordan Cameron Roto is the newest member of the Roto family, joining Sammy Watkins in our crowded house. Cameron, a former basketball player, is tall, fast and virtually impossible to stop around the end zone. The Browns do have one of the toughest schedules vs. TE this year, but I am not worried as Cameron cannot be covered solely by a linebacker.
Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel
Under the Radar
Is it possible to be a sleeper when your nickname is Johnny Football? I think it is. I see first-round pick QB Johnny Manziel as a Brett Favre-type player who will make some incredible plays with his arm and legs (as well as throw some awful INTs). Brian Hoyer might start the year as the team’s signal-caller, but there is no way that Manziel stays on the sidelines for long. I won’t tell you that Manziel will be consistent on a week to week, but I can see him having four or five huge games over the course of the season.
Roto Visionary Sleeper
My biggest problem with Miles Austin has always been his maddening inconsistency. He goes through huge mental lapses where he disappears on the field. If he can just concentrate (and stay healthy) he has a chance to resurrect his career in Cleveland and help Fantasy owners as a WR4.
Every Fantasy owner is expecting RB Ben Tate to get hurt this year simply because he has gotten hurt every year that he has been in the league. To that end, rookie RB Terrance West has been flying off draft boards as people wait for the inevitable Tate injury. But what if Tate does not get injured? Tate is fully capable of carrying the ball 20 times a game and he is a three-down back that does not need to come out of the game in obvious passing situations. If Tate stays healthy (a HUGE IF), West might not be as Fantasy relevant as people think.