If you had to ask me which backfield had the most question marks going into 2012, I would say one of the top ones would be the Cincinnati Bengals' backfield with Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott. As a BGE owner in a fantasy football dynasty league, I was ecstatic when he got out of the mess in New England and signed on to be the Bengals' "supposed" feature back. But those dreams were dashed when the Bengals made it clear several months ago that both he and Scott will touch the ball. Just how much remains to be seen, but it's clear this situation could kill the fantasy value for both players.
This is where the problem lies for fantasy owners who have yet to draft. Can Green-Ellis prove to be the guy who can take a majority of the snaps? He did nab a 1000-yard season back in 2010 and back-to-back double-digit touchdowns in 2010 and 2011, but the Patriots spread the ball around in the backfield a lot. It makes me wonder if the Bengals really see a workhorse in Green-Ellis, or a guy who can tote the rock in certain situations.
And don't sleep on Scott. Back before BGE was signed, I wrote a sleeper piece on Scott and why he could be THE guy in the backfield. Now while I know Scott won't be the feature back anymore, OC Jay Gruden insisted that both players derserve the ball. Scott has better pass-catching skills and played much better than his 3.4 yards-per-carry average in 2011 let on.
So how do I rank both players? Some people I have talked to believe BGE will get the lion's share of the touches. I don't see it. Green-Ellis has talent, but he isn't a guy who is going to carry the ball 20 times a game. If he could, Bill Belichick would have given him more opportunities. He's only averaged 205 carries over the last two years. Green-Ellis' value is going to come mostly from the goal line. He didn't exactly get off to a good start last weekend against the Jets, carrying the ball 7 times for a puny 22 yards. If that's the Green-Ellis we are going to see this year, then Scott will get on the field a lot.
As for Scott, I think he could be worth a look once your draft gets in the teens. With his pass-catching ability, he could hold strong value in PPR leagues. But as far as value goes for both, I simply can't rank either as anymore more than an RB3, with Green-Ellis leading the way by a thin margin. Unless something changes between now and Week One, Marvin Lewis seems hellbent on making this backfield a true committee.