RB Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
HT: 5-9, WT: 202, Born: 11-22-1991, College: North Carolina, Drafted: Round 2
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: A Rodgers (17), J Jones (18), Giovani Bernard (19), A Foster (20), L Bell (21)
Position: D Murray (13-RB7), M Ball (14-RB8), Giovani Bernard (19 - RB9), A Foster (20-RB10), L Bell (21-RB11)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: J Jones (13), B Marshall (14), Giovani Bernard (15), M Ball (16), M Lynch (17)
Position: E Lacy (6-RB5), D Murray (12-RB6), Giovani Bernard (15 - RB7), M Ball (16-RB8), M Lynch (17-RB9)
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Giovani Bernard should only be helped by new Offensive Coordinator Hue Jacksonís offensive philosophy, as Jackson is a run-first coach all the way. Bernard could push 300 total touches this season as a workhorse runner. Jackson likened Bernard to Ray Rice, who went from 107 carries in his rookie season to 254 in his second. Should Bernard see a similar uptick in attempts, his production should also soar. Heís a very talented player who impressed mightily in limited action (170 carries, 56 receptions) last season. Bernard is a three-down player who should only come off the field in certain short-yardage situations, if he does at all. Bernard was even given some goal line carries last season, and he saw some success. There's no guarantee that heíll be removed from the field in those situations in 2014.
Latest NewsBengals | Giovani Bernard gets chance to shine (Sun Oct 25, 07:15 PM) - Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard ran 13 times for 37 yards in Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns and he added five receptions for 59 yards and a score on his five targets. link to story Bengals | Giovani Bernard getting start (Fri Oct 23, 12:32 PM) - Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard will start Sunday, Oct. 25, against the Cleveland Browns with RB Joe Mixon sidelined with a foot injury. link to story Bengals | Giovani Bernard scores in Week 6 (Sun Oct 18, 06:41 PM) - Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard rushed eight times for 15 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against the Indianapolis Colts and he added three receptions for 13 yards on his three targets. link to story
|1||at Baltimore Ravens|
|5||at New England Patriots|
|7||at Indianapolis Colts|
|11||at New Orleans Saints|
|12||at Houston Texans|
|13||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|15||at Cleveland Browns|
|17||at Pittsburgh Steelers|
|18||at Indianapolis Colts|
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Bernard stepped into the game late in the first quarter, and took his first NFL carry up the middle for 6 yards. His next two carries came later in the first half, and again, he showed a quick burst up the middle, as he hit the hole and got positive yardage. The stark difference between Green-Ellis and Giovani is immediately noticeable. Giovani continued to attack the hole on two carries in the second half, one for 7 and the other for 14. The 14 yard carry was unfortunately called back for holding. Too bad, because Bernard made a man miss and then flew threw the middle of the field into the secondary for a long gain.
Unfortunately for Bernard owners, he just wasnít used much at all. This is a passing team right now, and Green-Ellis is getting most of the carries. Itís a shame, because Green-Ellis is not a weapon at all, aside from short yardage situations. But if Marvin Lewis continues to split the reps like this, Giovani will have little value. You have to imagine Lewis will see the light here, but at this point there is nothing to indicate that anything will change in the foreseeable future.
Week 2 - Bernard only touched the ball 9 times, but boy did he make the most of them. His first-half touchdown was simply a run up the middle, but he hit top speed in a hurry and showed no hesitation in plowing into numerous defenders and fighting for the touchdown. In the second half, a dump-off over the middle to Bernard resulted in a 27-yard touchdown. On the play he took off to the sideline, got behind two defenders and then streaked untouched into the endzone.
Green-Ellis is a sledgehammer, but Bernard is on another level. The speed that he possesses adds a dimension that defenses simply canít account for, especially when they are concerned with all the other Cincinnati weapons. When he was on the field, the Bengals moved the ball better. Itís of note that in the five possessions that Bernard received a carry, the Bengals scored on 3 of them.
Despite the obvious ability he showed when he received the ball, the Bengals hardly used him. For fantasy owners, you canít rely on a player that gets 9 touches. He looks like a faster Ray Rice the way he combines his balance with his speed, and doesnít appear to be afraid of getting hit. But at this point, the Bengals are giving the ball to BJGE and until that changes, itís tough to be confident about Bernard for any one game. Itís of note that without Andrew Hawkins, the Bengals donít really have that slot receiver that can be used as an outlet valve for Dalton. Whether Bernard understands the offense enough to fill that role is an unknown. But getting Bernard involved in the passing game to a greater degree seems like something the Bengals need to put on the priority list. 1 target isnít enough.
Week 3 - Thereís a new NFL superstar in Cincinnati, and his legend is quickly growing. On the opening drive, Bernard ran toward the right sideline and seemed to be running out of room. He leapt into the air, into the defenders, was flipped upside down and somehow brought his arm over the goalline for the score in a remarkably athletic play.
Later on in the half, Bernard made an amazing first down that shows why he has such potential. The play was designed to run to the left side, and Bernard followed the play. But as Green Bay completely overloaded that side, Bernard had the smarts and speed to stop, change direction, go the entire length of the field to the right side and get a first down. Not a play that does much for the stat sheet, but one that shows his great vision and play-making ability.
Giovani Bernardís biggest strength is his ability to ALWAYS make that first defender miss, and then to quickly accelerate to top speed. On a 2nd & 18 screen pass, Bernard paused just long enough to wait for his blockers, accelerated upfield about 9 yards, made a spin move and then fought ahead for 4 tough yards to put the Bengals in a manageable 3rd down position.
The Bengals final offensive scoring drive began at their own 5. Bernard started it all with an outlet pass at the 5 yard line. After his man was picked up by the slant route, Bernard shot upfield for 31 yards and finished by lowering his shoulder into the defender instead of going out of bounds.
Bernard has every intangible you want. Speed, elusiveness, power, vision, and heís a great receiver out of the backfield. At this point, the only thing that will keep him from being a top 5 RB the rest of the way is opportunity. After his explosive day against Green Bay, Marvin Lewis would be crazy to not provide the opportunity.
Week 4 - Bernard faced a tough, nasty defense. He didnít find a lot of running room, but he still impressed, as he has in every game this year. Early in the game, Dalton hit Bernard on a short pass and he exploded past the first defender, turned upfield and got a 10 yard gain. A number of times, he used his speed and wiggle to plow through the defense, always making the first defender miss and understanding how to hit the holes. The vision of Bernard is really impressive. On a shovel pass late in the game, Bernard looked like he had nowhere to run. He made a spin, avoided another defender and somehow picked up 9 yards. There will be much, much better games for Giovani, but of note is that he is quickly becoming a big weapon for Dalton in the passing game. Dalton hasnít really had a good option out of the backfield in his career, so this should help him out. Bernardís hands look very good, as he demonstrated the ability to catch it cleanly and without breaking stride.
Week 5 - Bernard had a rough first half. Not only did he not get the ball much, but when he did get the ball, he was met immediately at the line of scrimmage almost every time. As the game went into the second half, Bernard had only gained 3 yards. In the second half, the Bengals made an effort to get the ball in his hands, and it paid off. On the 98-yard drive, Bernard got the pitch, broke a few early tackles, got into space and then exploded ahead for a 28 yard gain to get into Pats territory. Then late in the game with the Bengals up 7 and 5 minutes to go, the Bengals brought Bernard in to see if he could ice the game. He started with another quick move at the line and then a burst through the seam for a 9 yard gain. The last defender that tackled him probably saved a touchdown, as Bernard smelled daylight. Then Bernard fought and clawed for 5 yards, 3 yards, and then made a key third down reception to keep the chains moving. But then a huge mistake could have cost Cincy the game. On first down, Bernard ran toward the outside and coughed the ball up when the helmet of a NE defender squarely popped the ball out of his hands. A fumble at the end of the game is not endearing to the coaching staff. Bernard was explosive in the second half, totaling over 60 yards and looking like the future stud everyone knows he will become. But heís still in a battle for playing time with BJGE. Despite the fact that the talent difference is apparent, a late game fumble wonít help him pull away.
Week 6 - This game was a mixed bag for Bernard. In any format, the production was there, and ppr owners were likely very pleased by what they saw. But some potential glaring issues are starting to arise with Bernard, and it may be part of the reason BJGE is starting to see his carries rise. Are we starting to see Bernard turn into more of a Darren Sproles-type player? The ability for that is definitely there. Bernard took a shovel pass in the first half, made two defenders miss, stiff-armed a 3rd defender and then trucked the fourth defender into the endzone for a highlight reel TD that everyone has seen. In the second half, Bernard had a few magnificent receptions. On one he caught the ball on a dead run coming out of the backfield, exploded past the defender and picked up a 9 yard gain. Then in overtime, Dalton hit Bernard on a screen pass, and then Bernard made a move to juke a defender, cut all the way back into the middle of the field, juked a few more players and picked up 23 huge yards. He makes receiving look effortless and with some of the struggles Dalton has had, it was nice to see Jay Gruden incorporate Bernard into the receiving game to a higher degree than he has in any previous games. He certainly has as much ability in that department as any other RB in the league. But Bernardís skills in the running game didnít show up as much, as he is beginning to dance just a bit in the backfield. It is true that defenses are more worried about him than they are Green-Ellis. This was evident on a number of runs where Bernard was met instantly. But on a number of occasions, Bernard danced, waited for the opportunity to come open and then was tackled for a short game. Young rbís can often revert to this running style, and no doubt the coaching staff will help him see that he needs to take what is there. While BJGE is decisive and commits to a play, Bernard at times doesnít. When he does, good things can happen, as there were a few solid runs in the 2nd half. On one, Bernard exploded through the hole and then moved the pile ahead for an impressive 8 yard gain. He had another similar play up the middle for 6, where he hit the hole and drove forward. But that was the extent of his damage on the ground. As an aside, while the Bengals did a great job of getting Bernard the ball as a receiver, they did a poor job of designing running plays. The vast majority of all his carries were straight up the middle. A few pitches, some draws, some outside runs would seem to be prudent, but perhaps they thought the Bills were going to be more susceptible to runs up the middle.
Week 7 - The Bengals went away from the running game for most of the 2nd half, and only ran it 17 times on the day. Bernard did a decent job when he did get the opportunity. Early in the game, he got a handoff up the middle, plowed into the defenders and got an extra 3 yards. In the 2nd half, he made a tremendous stutter-step at the line, eluding a defender, then burst ahead for a solid gain. Overall, though, Bernard just didnít get enough touches to have much of an impact in the running game. He did a better job of being decisive than he has in previous weeks, though, which is a positive. Bernard as usual, did receive a number of looks in the passing game, but the Detroit defense was typically all over him when he got the ball, and he was never able to break one for a big gain. Bernard did get the short dump-off that setup the game-winning field goal.
Week 8 - Bernard only received 5 carries. Itís hard to argue that the Bengals did anything wrong, when you look at the scoreboard. Also, the 2nd half only saw two real possessions for the Bengals, and one was a three-and-out. Bernard was as shifty and powerful as usual, but the Jets are tough to run on. Itís obvious that the Bengals had no desire to run into the bulky defensive front of the Jets, choosing instead to test the hurt wideouts. That was a great decision, though Bernard and BJGE suffered for it. Bernard almost had one TD late in the first half when Dalton threw a screen, Bernard faked out a defender and dove for the pylon. Bernard was down at the 2 yard line, which was fortunate, as he looked to possibly fumble the ball out of the endzone. With another game coming up soon on Thursday, the short workload should leave Bernard fresh for the upcoming game against Miami.
Week 9 - Bernard played amazing. Bernard was at his best in this game. He consistently made the first person miss. His highlight reel TD needs to be described to no one, as itís been seen by all. He ran across the entire field twice, broke numerous tackles and somehow scored on an amazing TD run. But itís the entirety of his game that continues to astonish. Early in the game he made a spin move and got ahead for 9. He had a ten yard run in which he seemed to disappear, only to emerge ten yards downfield for a first down. He continued to be smooth at catching the ball in the passing game as well. However, a rib injury kept Bernard out of the game for the end of the 4th quarter and overtime, which is a shame. After the Bengals fell down 17-3, Bernard played a huge role in bringing them back to a 17-17 tie. If he played in overtime, the entire narrative of the game might be different. Itís hard to argue that a player needs to get more touches when he gets injured, but injuries can be fluky, and it appears that Bernard will be fine next week. But at this point the split between Green-Ellis and Bernard is not only annoying for fantasy owners, but itís hurting the Bengals as well. Bernard has the ability to be a top 3 or 4 RB in this league, but until he gets the carries, that wonít happen.
Week 10 - Bernard had a lot of Raven defenders around him for much of the game. But when he did see the creases, he made a lot happen. Early in the game, Bernard got a big hole and exploded for 18 yards. A similar size hole was given to BJGE and he only got 5 or 6, which is the obvious difference in the two backs. Bernard was used extensively out of the backfield, both on designed screens, and on dump-offs when Dalton had nowhere else to go. On a heavy blitz in the 2nd half, Dalton flipped it to Bernard, and Giovani split two defenders in his race to the endzone for an 18 yard TD. In the end, Bernard got a lot of touches in this one. 14 rushes and 8 receptions is perhaps the most that we will see him used this year. The Ravens manhandled Cincy all over the field. Only Bernard, AJ Green and Eifert did anything on offense. But donít expect to see much more from Bernard in future weeks, if the coaching staff can be believed. They donít want him to be a 20 carry a game running back.
Week 11 - It was a rather quiet day for Bernard with only ten carries. Bernard did catch a 25 yard reception from Mohamed Sanu. He made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch and somehow kept his feet in bounds. This catch setup a TD for Cincy. On the final scoring drive for Cincy, Bernard also made a big play on the ground. After BJGE had made a few nice runs, Bernard found a hole and exploded up the left side, made a man miss and ran for 13 yards, going out of bounds at the 2. Perhaps the Bengals coaching staff is aware that the NFL is taking it's toil on Bernard, as they are consciously limiting his carries. Maybe this strategy will pay off for Giovani in the playoffs. It is notable that he was briefly injured in this game, but quickly came back to the field. Bernard's strength is his speed and constant ability to make the first man miss. In this sloppy game, he rarely had those chances. One thing you always notice is the stark difference between BJGE and Giovani. The Bengals started the 2nd half off with two straight Green-Ellis runs, and a 3-and-out. On the next drive, Bernard took the handoff, made a man miss and picked up a ten yard gain, showing his usual explosiveness.
Week 13 - Defenses have begun to focus on Bernard when he enters the game. This is evidenced by the fact that Bernard was stuffed for negative yards a number of times due to the defense game-planning for him. But as the game went on, the offensive line was blowing holes open and Bernardís speed allows him to make truly special plays. A nice 8 yard run in the 2nd half was attained when Bernard ran low through two defenders, made a spin move and picked up great yardage. Then he showed that low center of gravity and strength by picking up the first down on the next play. Later in the same drive, the Oline opened up a big hole and Bernard was through it in a flash, getting into the secondary and picking up 19 yards quickly. He had another similar burst late in the game and picked up 9. There are going to be a few long TDís from Bernard in the future. Itís pretty surprising that he hasnít already made a few big runs with his speed and ability to break tackles. At this point, the only thing holding him back is playing time, although that isnít going to change for the remainder of 2013.
Week 14 - Giovani was fantastic in a game tailor-made for his skills. One of the most exciting things to see was how the coaching staff used Giovani. At least half of his runs were pitch-outs and runs to the outside. For most of the year, Bernard has gotten a lot of runs right up the gut. Now in order for pitch-outs to work, you have to have solid blocking, and Cincy did a great job of doing that. But you donít need to do much because when Bernard got a glimpse of daylight, he hit the hole and got 8-10 yard on most of his carries. One of the more impressive plays for Bernard was on a throw out to the left flat. Bernard took the pass, stiff-armed the defender and raced inside the ten yard line. Unfortunately for Bernard owners, BJGE and Dalton stole all the TDís. But Bernard was the Bengals play-maker. Gioís ability to accelerate, combined with his vision and tackle-breaking ability really set him apart among other NFL rbís. He often gets compared to Ray Rice, but heís much faster than Rice, and he has more moves as well. The only remaining thing that keeps Rice from being a top 2 or 3 back is knowing if he can handle a heavy workload. Although it may frustrate fantasy owners, perhaps the Bengals are doing it the right way by limiting his carries. Itís likely that as the games become more important in the post-season, we will see Gio on the field a bit more. But for now, he remains the clear number 2 to BJGE. We might wonder what he could have done with 20 carries, but from the Bengals perspective, he did everything they wanted from him with the carries he did get. For the rest of 2013, there is no reason to anticipate any uptick in production from Bernard. Even with the low number of carries heís received, heís the 10th overall RB in ppr leagues. Not bad production from a guy in a timeshare.
Week 15 - Bernard had 13 carries, but the vast majority of these carries were bottled up pretty quickly by the defense. He got loose for a couple nice runs in the 2nd quarter on a TD drive. He then was able to get a TD on a short goalline run. In the second half, Bernard was stuffed on two goalline runs, and was not much of a factor at all. He wasnít able to even make an impact as a receiver, either. The Steelers focused on Bernard and completely took him out of the game.
Week 16 - Bernard had his worst rushing day of the year, averaging less than 2 yards per carry on 13 runs. The Vikings were just bigger and stronger up front, and Bernard could get nothing going on the ground, which is quite unusual for him. But as usual, he made an impact on the game with a 41 yard reception that has to rank as his 2nd best highlight of the year. First he caught a short pass from Dalton on the right side. As a defender approached and had him dead to rights, Bernard made a quick spin move and blew past the defender. Then a stutter-step move broke another tackle, and as he charged down the middle of the field toward the left sideline, he then used a stiff-arm and then broke another tackle in rumbling 41 yards down inside the ten yard line. Rarely do running backs get a chance to show off all their moves on one run. Thatís what Bernard did. You get the sense that Bernard could have McCoy-like ability. He has been compared to Ray Rice on a number of the broadcasts, but he has moves that Rice could only dream of.
Week 17 - The holes that Green-Ellis had were not there for Bernard. Bernard draws a lot of attention from the defense, and he could get anything going on the ground. His biggest run was a 7 yard bull rush up the middle, but aside from that, there was nothing he could do. But Bernard did make some big plays out of the backfield in the receiving game. The Bengals got him the ball 5 times, and tried to even send him on a deep route. Bernard got behind the defense and Dalton dropped the ball right over his shoulder. But that is the type of reception that running backs arenít used to, and he had difficulty locating the ball as it fell incomplete. Bernardís highlight came on a 27 yard screen pass. He grabbed the ball, blew past two defenders to the sideline and then headed upfield for the big gain. He added an incredible spin move at the end, but it didnít help him as he stepped out of bounds just before the spin, which took away another ten yards or so. Giovani Bernard had a very exciting season, but it was a season of highlights and great plays, and not really a season of sustained fantasy excellence. Whether the Bengals feel he can hold up to a bigger workload or not will determine his future value. 170 carries seems a bit light, but the Bengals did a much better job of incorporating him into the passing game as the season went on. The potential is there for Bernard to be a top 5 back if he gets the carries.
Week 18 - Bernard amassed 118 total yards in this game, and was a big part of the Bengals gameplan. But his fumble at the end of the first half after a nice reception is the play that will be haunting him until next season. Bernard allowed Butler to tackle him from behind and completely strip the ball. Aside from that, Bernard had a very good game. He was used often in the second half as a receiver, as a way to combat the ferocious SD pass rush. He fought for yardage, he was fast, elusive and kept the chains moving. He had a particularly impressive 13 yard reception in the third quarter, where he fought off the tackle attempt from Ingram, and streaked up the sideline for 13, following that up with a 6 yard gash up the middle. Then just before Daltonís last interception, Dalton threw a shovel pass to Bernard. Bernard took off upfield, plowed into two defenders and kept going for a 17 yard gain. Towards the end of the game, as Cincinnati was making one last gasp for a TD, Bernard dropped a short pass on 3rd and long, that would have put Cincy in better position for a 4th down play. His eyes were upfield and he didnít bring the ball in. That mistake, coupled with the fumble will give Bernard plenty of motivation for 2014. Overall, it was a great rookie season, and it will be interesting to see if the Bengals commit to using Bernard more next season.