After the Bengals drafted a pair of rookie running backs, Giovani Bernard's future with the Bengals looks dreary. Not that his future looked great before the draft -- he averaged 7.0 touches in the 24 games when Joe Mixon was healthy. Bernard's value as a late-round pick will only hold up if he's the direct backup to the starter. Without that assurance, Fantasy owners shouldn't even draft him.
Bernard shared work with Joe Mixon during the offseason program, Laurel Pfahler of The Dayton Daily News reports. With Bernard entering the final season of a three-year, $15.5 million extension, the Bengals used sixth-round picks on Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson (knee). The 27-year-old may find himself looking for a new home next offseason, but he doesn't appear to have serious competition for the second spot on the depth chart in 2019. Bernard averaged just 2.9 carries and 2.6 receptions in the 10 games both he and Mixon played last season. Each of Bernard's three touchdowns and 130 of his 211 rushing yards occurred in the two games Mixon missed.
Bernard had three carries for seven yards and two catches for eight yards in Sunday's loss to the Steelers. Bernard actually got the start on the first series ahead of Joe Mixon, but that was largely ceremonial, as Mixon was the primary ball carrier again Sunday. That's reflective of the new reality -- Mixon became a three-down back this season, so Bernard's role was marginalized except for the two weeks where Mixon was hurt. He finishes the year with 211 yards rushing and 218 yards receiving, tallying three touchdowns in the process.
Bernard caught both of his targets, but was unable to gain yardage during Sunday's 26-18 loss to Cleveland. The two touches tied a season low for the veteran back. Bernard hasn't scored since Week 4 and has topped 40 total yards just once in seven active games since as Joe Mixon has accounted for 65.7 percent of the Bengals' carries this season. The season ends next Sunday against a top-10 Pittsburgh run defense, surrendering just 4.1 yards per carry.
Bernard had six carries for seven yards and two catches for 25 yards in Sunday's win over the Raiders. The six carries and 30 offensive snaps were actually as high as Bernard has gotten when Joe Mixon has been healthy, and Bernard even got a red-zone carry inside the 10-yard line, but it's clear this isn't going to approach a timeshare so long as Mixon isn't hurt.
Bernard ran for seven yards on three carries and added 13 yards on two catches during Sunday's 26-21 loss to the Chargers. While Joe Mixon continues to dominate the backfield work, Bernard has not quite found his groove after returning from a sprained MCL. He topped 40 total yards in three of his first four games of 2018 and scored thrice. In his five games since returning, he's reached that total just once and has not scored. Bernard has gotten some more work as a receiver since backup Jeff Driskel took over under center, averaging four catches per game with Driskel compared to three catches per game in seven games with Andy Dalton. That's not an ideal setup Sunday against the Raiders as Oakland has been stingier against the pass than the run this season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/15||San Francisco 49ers||20||19.00|
|8||10/27||@Los Angeles Rams||14||17.26|
|13||12/01||New York Jets||18||17.75|
|15||12/15||New England Patriots||8||16.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||84||335||2||39||314||1||82|