Cedric Benson is in trouble again. It’s been a fairly quiet offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals, but it’s not surprising that one of their players got in trouble.

 

It’s been a couple of years since Benson last got in trouble, which led to his dismissal in Chicago. Fortunately for Benson, Cincinnati almost welcomes this sort of behavior with open arms.

 

According to the Austin American Statesmen, Benson was arrested this morning and charged with assault after punching an employee of Annie’s West bar on May 30th. According to the report he struck the employee after being refused re-entry after he was thrown out of the bar. He also spit blood at an employee. Classy.

 

He almost certainly will see a suspension for this incident given his prior history. He was a good bet for RB1 status, but that is in question now. As Forrest Gump so eloquently said, “stupid is as stupid does”.

 

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

The Bengals have been relatively quiet this offseason. That’s a good thing because for them it usually means arrests. They did add Antonio Bryant to give Ochocinco some help. The Bengals look to have plenty of weapons (figuratively not literally) on the offensive side of the ball.


Fantasy Playoff Schedule
: Moderate
The Bengals have one cupcake match-up against the Browns sandwiched between tilts with Pittsburgh on the road and San Diego at home. While the Week 14 & 16 match-ups aren’t juicy, you’ll probably roll with most of your top guns.


Five Star Fantasy Options

Cedric Benson – Benson followed up his impressive end to the 2008 season with a 1251 yard, 6 TD 2009 campaign. With Larry Johnson moving on to Washington, there is no clear threat to his carries.

Chad Ochocinco – I should technically call him Chad Cero Revis after getting shut down by Revis not once, but twice to close out the year. That said, he returned to form with a 72-1047-9 season. With Antonio Bryant on board, Ocho should get a little more breathing room.


Four Star Fantasy Options
Carson Palmer – Palmer had a nice TD-INT ratio (21-13), completion percentage (60.5) and passer rating (83.6). What he lacked was passing yardage. There were 17 QBs who threw for more yards than his 3094. The addition of Bryant and rookie TE Jermaine Gresham should help. He remains a low-end QB1 or a high-end QB2.


Three Star Fantasy Options
Antonio Bryant – Bryant’s 2009 season was pretty much a lost cause thanks to injuries and Tampa Bay’s ineptitude. He gets a new lease on life with the Bengals and should be a solid WR3 this year.

Bengals Defense/Special Teams - I don’t think their defense will be as stout as last year, but they do have some favorable match-ups (Browns twice, Bucs, Bills). They also face the Pats, Ravens twice, Falcons, Dolphins, Colts, Steelers, Chargers, Jets, and Saints. In other words, don’t use them as your #1 fantasy defense.


Two Star Fantasy Options

Jermaine Gresham – It usually takes rookie TEs some time to adjust, but Gresham should be able to make an impact sooner rather than later. He has great size and will help Palmer attack the middle of the field, as well as providing a red zone target.


One Star Fantasy Options

Andre Caldwell – Caldwell is a decent slot receiver, and has some value in PPR leagues, but has very little upside.


Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews
.

NFL Week 10: Injuries Galore

16 November 2009

It seemed the chic thing to do this weekend was get hurt. Here’s an early look at how some of the trendiest players have responded the morning after.

It sounds like Cedric Benson (hip) will be able to play this weekend, which is great news for Benson owners because he faces Oakland, Cleveland, and Detroit over the next three weeks. Look for Bernard Scott to get plenty of action as well as the Bengals put a hurtin’ on these floor mats. How crazy is it that the Bengals could easily be 10-2 when they face the Vikings in Week 14. 11-1 if the Broncos didn’t win on that miracle tip in Week 1.

Speaking of the Bengals, Larry Johnson is rumored to be signing with them as an insurance policy. Character isn’t their bag so he shouldn’t have a problem with the team or the fans. It remains to be seen if he has anything left in the tank.

Ronnie Brown most likely would miss a game this week if the Dolphins played on Sunday, so the fact that they play on Thursday all but seals that fate. At least you don’t have to worry about the dreaded game-time decision.

Julius Jones is bleeding in his lung, which sounds extremely painful. That injury should cost him a couple of games. Justin Forsett will fill the void, though I expect the Seahawks to be pass happy.

The NFL.com is reporting that Kyle Orton will give it a go this week despite his ankle injury. While this is good news for Brandon Marshall owners, I’d cancel the victory parade. Orton will likely be limited, and San Diego is tough against the pass.

Michael Turner suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss at least a couple weeks. Turner was in the midst of a phenomenal season. There is no replacing his production. You have to hope you had early success or this injury could derail your fantasy season.

Brian Westbrook suffered another concussion in the Eagles’ loss to San Diego. At this point in the year, I’d say it’s safe to cut bait on Westy and go in a different direction. I don’t see him playing any time soon.

Now that we went through the majority of the #1 & #2 Running Backs, it’s time to look at RB3s.  These Backs are ones you would use in a flex position (if you have one in your league format), as bye week replacements, or spot starters based on matchups.  If you load up elsewhere early, they could serve as RB2.

Derrick Ward, Tampa Bay -  Ward ran for 1025 yards and 2 TDs on 182 carries for an amazing 5.6 yards per carry.  He added 41 receptions for 384 yards.  Not bad for a RB that didn’t even start for his team.  He left the incredible Offensive Line that the Giants provide him, but he should get more touches.  Don’t expect him to get too many carries though as Earnest Graham and Cadillac Williams will likely be in the mix as well.  I can see Graham handing the red zone chances.  Ward’s best matchups appear to be against New Orleans in Weeks 11 & 16.  The rest of his schedule is pretty tough.  I expect Ward to produce 1200 total yards and 5 TDs.

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens – Rice had decent production last year despite a limited role.  He had 454 yards on 107 carries (4.2 ypc) and added 273 yards on 33 receptions.  With Le’Ron McClain sliding over to Fullback, and McGahee moving to the backup role, Rice should get a much heavier workload in 2009.  Though McClain will get the ball at the strip and McGahee will get his touches, Rice should be a solid RB3, and even a nice RB2 in PPR leagues.  The Ravens have a some great matchups against Kansas City in Week 1, Cleveland in Weeks 3 & 10, Cincinnati in Weeks 5 & 9, Denver in Week 8.  Unfortunately they play the Raiders in Week 17.  Their fantasy playoff schedule starts off sweet with a game against Detroit.  Then they face the Bears and the Steelers.  If McGahee stays healthy, he’ll cut into Rice’s production, but I think he should be good for 1100 total yards, 4 TDs, and 55 receptions.

Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs – Larry Johnson reported to training camp lighter, hoping improved conditioning will lead to a more successful 2009 season.  Even more than his weight, though, has been his attitude.  He has stayed out of the headlines.  He’s not going to return to his old form, but he should be able to build upon the 847 yards on an impressive 4.5 ypc last year.  He only scored 5 TDs, but with Tony Gonzalez gone, that number could easily doubt next year.  Jamaal Charles will push him for time, especially on third downs, but that could help to keep LJ fresh.  LJ is a back who could put up first round numbers, which is sweet considering you can get him in the third or fourth round.  He loses a cushy matchup with Denver in Week 17, but still faces Oakland in Weeks 2 & 10 and Denver in Week 13.  He does have some tough matchups early against Baltimore in Week 1, Philly in Week 3, NYG in Week 4, Washington in Week 6, and Pittsburgh in Week 11.  He’s a good Buy Low candidate if he gets off to a slow start because his fantasy playoff matchups against Buffalo, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are sweet.  There is a huge variance in the numbers LJ could produce.  I think he has 1100 total yards and 8 TDs.

LenDale White – Tennessee Titans – LenDale retired the LenWhale moniker (at least temporarily) by putting down the tequila.  Even though he’s in better shape, I don’t see LenDale having anything close to the year he had last year.  Let’s face it, 15 TD seasons don’t come along very often.  With Albert Haynesworth residing in Washington, will Tennessee’s Defense be good enough to suffocate teams and allow LenDale to slowly wear them down in the fourth quarter?  That could be a big reason why LenDale gets much fewer than the 2000 carries he had last year.  The Titans don’t really have any cakewalks on their schedule until Week 14 against the Rams.  It’s hard to use a guy in the fantasy playoffs when you’re not sure how many touches he’s going to get in the game.  LenDale is nice to own, but he’ll be tough to use unless Chris Johnson goes down.  I’m guessing LenDale has about 600 total yards with 10 TDs.

Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders -  Run DMC had a pretty forgettable Rookie season thanks to a toe injury.  He had one monster week (164 yards. 1 TD vs. KC in Week 2) and one great week (10 carries for 38 yards, 2 TDs vs. Denver in Week 12).  He actually had more 50+ yard receiving games (3) than rushing (1).  Still, I believe he has too much talent to not have a much better Sophomore season.  He’ll be even more of an asset in PPR leagues, and I could see him throwing a couple passes this year to keep Defenses on their toes.  He has some good matchups this year against Kansas City in Weeks 2 & 10, Denver in Week 3 & 15, and Cincinnati in Week 11.  If you can get by the opening round of the fantasy playoffs against Washington, you’ll get the benefit of facing Denver and Cleveland in Weeks 15 & 16.  I’m predicting 1200 total yards and 8 TDs for McFadden.

Willie Parker – Pittsburgh Steelers – Willie Parker will be pushed by Rashard Mendenhall this year, but I think he’ll hold him off for the most part, assuming he stays healthy.  I just wouldn’t count on him for anything more than a bye week alternative or spot matchup Back.  Those matchups are Weeks 3 & 10 against Cincinnati, Weeks 6 & 14 vs. Cleveland, Week 5 against Detroit, Week 9 against Denver, Week 11 against KC, and Week 13 against Oakland.  I’m guessing Fast Willie has 1000 total yards and 6 TDs.

Jamal Lewis – Cleveland  Browns – Jamal Lewis turns 30 this month and though he managed another 1000 yard season, he appears to be on the decline.  He is going to be challenged for carries by Jerome Harrison and possibly Rookie James Davis.  They both can provide a burst that Jamal just can’t muster.  Mangini will try to limit the workload early as Jamal recovers from ankle surgery, which would be unfortunate because they have three games against soft run D’s in the first four weeks.  Minnesota (assuming Pat & Kevin Williams are suspended) in Week 1, Denver in Week 2, and Cincinnati in Week 4.  Later they face Detroit and Cincy in Weeks 11 & 12.  The Bengals actually have a pretty sweet fantasy playoff schedule with tilts against KC and Oakland in Weeks 15 & 16, though the Browns could be playing for the future by then.  I expect 700 yards and 6 TDs from Jamal in 2009.

Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – Cedric Benson was a fantasy hero last year with two 150+ total yard games in Weeks 15 & 16.  He managed just 3.5 ypc for the year though and his plodding style may not work as well considering they face Baltimore and Pittsburgh twice.  They do have some pretty nice matchups though against Denver in Week 1, Cleveland in Weeks 4 & 12, Oakland in Week 11, and Detroit in Week 13.  His fantasy playoffs heroics will be hard to repeat against Minnesota and San Diego, but he could have a big finish in Week 16 against KC.  I’m predicting 900 total yards and 6 TDs for Benson.

SPORT FOOTBALL
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

J.D., a young Bleacher Report writer and creator of The Sports Report with J.D., contacted me to see if I wanted to post some of his articles on the site.  Always looking to encourage an aspiring writer, I agreed.   J.D. discusses the Cedric Benson signing.

According to ESPN Mobile, the Bengals have re-signed running back Cedric Benson to a two-year deal worth $7 million. Benson and Chris Perry look to make a two-back system with the Bengals.

Bengals had a career year last year when rushed for 747 yards and two touchdowns. Cedric is proving to be the franchise back for the Bengals. He fits better with them than with Chicago.

Benson has 2,340 career rushing yards so far and 12 touchdowns. He is 26 and has a lot left in the tank. He needs to improve, as he is rushing around three yards per carry every year!

Good luck, Cedric. I wish you good luck with the Bengals

Lester’s Take
This is a good signing for Cincinnati.  The free agent RB pool is pretty shallow this year, and their investment is minimal.  Benson was a workhorse for the Bengals down the stretch with 84 carries for 355 yards and a TD in his last three games (all Wins).  He added 107 yards through the air.  Given the alternatives, Benson deserves a chance to retain the starting job.  Besides, as I said, there aren’t many starting RBs in the free agent pool.  The Bengals could have drafted a Running Back, but you know their track record.  Ki-Jana Carter anyone?  Chris Perry anyone?  Kenny Irons anyone?  This is one of those moves that just made sense.

The Benglas are such a mess.  That’s what I said when I previewed them before last season, and nothing has changed.  Strike that, they are even more of a mess.  At least you figured they’d be fine on Offense last year.  Now they have a QB (Carson Palmer) coming off an injury, their rushing attack is a mess, and their WRs still don’t want to play for them.  Cedric Benson looked great down the stretch, but he’s an unrestricted free agent.  I’m not convinced he’s an RB you can depend on for a full season, especially in a losing environment.  Chris Perry is also a free agent, and he’s never really lived up to the hype.  I see little chance Houshmandzadeh sticks around.  Chad Ocho Cinco has been quiet (nice, huh?), but you know it’s only a mtatter of time before he gets his name in the papers.  Chris Henry has to avoid getting arrested in the offseason or he’ll sit out a whole year.  In case you’ve been under a rock, the Bungles are back.

John Thornton and Kyries Hebert are the biggest FA’s on D. 

The plan for the Bengals will be to figure out who’s running the ball and who’s catching the ball next year.  Good luck with that.

**UPDATE:  FB Daniel Coats re-signed.**
**UPDATE:  Shayne Graham was franchised**

KFFL Free Agent Tracker:

Pos Player Name FA Status Previous Team Current Team
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick UFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
RB Cedric Benson UFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
RB DeDe Dorsey RFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
RB Chris Perry RFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
RB Quincy Wilson UFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
FB Daniel Coats ERFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh UFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
PK Shayne Graham UFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
DL John Thornton UFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
DL Jimmy Verdon RFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
CB Brandon Williams UFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
SS Kyries Hebert UFA Cincinnati Bengals Free Agent
SS Ethan Kilmer Signed Cincinnati Bengals Miami Dolphins

SPORT FOOTBALL

Week 16 of the NFL season is where fantasy stars are born.  Each year fantasy titles are won from contributions from an unexpected source.  When you consider the tumultuous start to his 2008 season, perhaps Cedric Benson is the unlikeliest player to deliver a fantasy football championship.  However, there’s a chance he can do just that.  After accumulating just 470 yards (392 rushing, 78 receiving) in nine games with the Bengals, Benson erupted for 161 yards (73 rushing, 88 receiving) in Week 15 against Washington.  If Benson can continue his fantasy playoff heroics this week against Clevleland, he’ll join the legendary ranks of Billy Volek and others fantasy football hero.

Cleveland’s 148.5 yards per game ranked 28th in rushing yards allowed prior to their Monday Night Football tilt with Philadelphia.  In recent weeks big back LenDale White and Marshawn Lynch went for 99 and 119 yards respectively.  With five losses in their last six games (prior to the Philly game), the Browns look prime for the taking.  Cedric Benson could go from laughing stock to helping you laugh all the way to the bank.


Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties