Just as a reminder or for those who may be new to the Eyes of the Guru series. For reference, when mentioning where players finished in the rankings last season, the model will be the standard Footballguys scoring system:
- Tackles = 1.5
- Assists = .75
- Sacks = 4
- Forced fumbles = 3
- Fumble recoveries = 3
- Interceptions = 4
- Passes defended = 1.5
- Touchdowns = 6
Keep in mind that based on scoring systems, rankings will vary (sometimes greatly) from league to league.
The Cincinnati defense did well against the pass in 2017. Their 41 sacks ranked among the top third of the league and their 6.5 yards per attempt was tied for third behind Jacksonville and Minnesota. Run defense as a different story however as the Bengals finished in the bottom three, and no one forced fewer takeaways. With a clear objective entering the offseason, the organization made potentially significant additions at all three levels.
The team has no lack of talent or box score production up front where defensive end Carlos Dunlap and tackle Geno Atkins are the headliners. Dunlap has been the epitome of consistency throughout his career. With the exception of an injury-shortened 2011, he has at least seven and a half sacks in each of his eight seasons with no fewer than 30 solo tackles since becoming a three-down player in 2012. It looked as if Dunlap might have taken the next step to join the elite when he blew up for a career-best 13.5 sack in 2015. Instead, the next two seasons proved the big numbers to be an outlier. His fantasy value gets a boost in scoring systems awarding points for batted passes. At 6'6", Dunlap is hard to throw over and his wingspan makes him equally tough to throw around. He had an impressive 15 batted passes in 2016, adding 7 more last year. Dependability is a valuable commodity in fantasy circles so Dunlap's six consecutive finishes among the Top 15 are clearly a factor in determining where he fits on draft boards. We should target him as a low-end DL1 or priority DL2 with Top 10 upside.
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