One look at the Bengals' 2011 squad and you never would have thought they'd be good enough to make it to the playoffs. With rookie Andy Dalton under center, I thought they would be a 5-11 or 6-10 team at best. But things are looking up for the Bengals going into the offseason, despite losing to the Texans in the playoffs. One of the bigger question marks, however, is how the team is going to address the running back spot. After signing a one-year deal last year, Cedric Benson didn't exactly make a case for a contract extension, averaging a mere 3.9 yards a carry. Not to mention the team didn't use him as much in recent years after he failed to reach 300 carries for the first time since 2008. There are no real reports that the Bengals want to keep Benson around for another year, so that leads me into my next 2012 Fantasy Football Sleeper:
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Bernard Scott.
Scott is more of a deep sleeper than a true sleeper. In the 3 years he has been in Cincinnati, he's had his ups and downs.
Scott is a better pass catcher than Benson, but he was barely used during his career. There has also been some mixed messages as to how the Bengals will use Scott in 2012. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said:
"From a consistency standpoint, you'd like to get Bernard more carries, more touches."
A recent Tweet from Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer states that won't be the starter in 2012. But even so, Scott is the starter as of now on the depth chart.
So where do I see Scott's fantasy relevance in 2012? Much of that depends on what the team does in free agency and in the draft. They still need receiver help past AJ Green and they could use help in the secondary. If they draft a running back, Scott's chances of having a big role early increase with the off chance that the new guy doesn't catch on with the system like the team was hoping, ala Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas in 2011. If the team decides to go after a running back in free agency, Scott could still have some value as a change-of-pace guy in deeper PPR leagues. He did manage 6 points in the loss to the Texans in the Wild-Card round of the playoffs. And when you are playing in a 16-team league, EVERY point counts.