Giovani Bernard's fantasy value

In a split backfield, Bernard has more value in 2014 than this season

Originally Published: August 8, 2013
By Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Giovani BernardJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesGiovani Bernard is making waves so far in training camp in Cincinnati.

The 2013 offseason brought closure -- at least in a couple of ways -- to the already infamous Carson Palmer-to-Oakland trade that altered the landscape for a pair of franchises.

Raiders fans don't need to be reminded of their depleted draft capital following the Palmer exchange, nor will Palmer take any more snaps under center in Oakland, as he was shipped to the Arizona Cardinals for a pair of late-round draft picks in early April.

The Bengals, meanwhile, had already turned the keys over on offense to Andy Dalton before the Palmer deal (the veteran had entered temporary retirement), and also managed to pluck a pair of upside prospects with the draft choices netted in the transaction.

The latter of those picks came in the second round of this year's draft, used on North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard, considered by many to be the best player at his position in this year's class (he was the first running back taken, No. 37 overall).

The initial plan for Bernard, at least according to his offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden, was to engage in a timeshare of sorts with incumbent starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis, "He can be a 10-, 15-carry guy, catch eight balls, whatever it is, to help us out and make us more diverse," Gruden said in May.

Bernard reinforced as much to the NFL Network later that month, saying, "I think it's more so a complementary kind of thing. I think we are both going to help each other out."

As Bernard has had the chance to prove himself to his coaches, the narrative has evolved, suggesting that he could be in line for a bigger role than originally perceived. So what is Bernard's fantasy value both this season and in the future?

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.