The AFC North is a mixed bag among NFL fantasy owners with some areas rich and others barren. Who should they look out for in 2014?
#5 – Andy Dalton
Critics can say what they like about Andy Dalton and his performances in the playoffs. During the regular season, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback keeps getting better. His receiving corps has emerged as a legitimate group from the inside out and his offensive line remains mostly intact. Dalton isn’t flashy, but when he’s on the numbers tend not to lie.
#4 – Giovani Bernard
Despite not starting a single game in 2013, Giovani Bernard had an impact in NFL fantasy circles. He totaled over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and scored eight touchdowns. So what will happen when the Bengals give him more touches? If his body doesn’t give out, that would mean more production and more fantasy points. Bernard is an offensive weapon and should be used as such.
#3 – Antonio Brown
There was never any question that Antonio Brown was a good wide receiver. It’s just that nobody realized how good until last season. With Mike Wallace gone, Brown took his game to another level, finishing one yard shy of 1,500 and scoring nine touchdowns. Never mind the laundry list of highlight reel plays he made along the way. He now has the complete trust of his quarterback and offensive coordinator, who both will certainly aim to get him the ball as much as possible.
#2 – Ben Roethlisberger
Normally asked to play off the success of his defense, Ben Roethlisberger emerged as the driving force for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013. He didn’t set any career highs, but he may have had his best overall season with 4,261 yards and 28 touchdown passes. His maturation in the offense of Todd Haley is reaching a zenith, and hopes are it will carry even further with a healthier offensive line.
#1 – A.J. Green
He gets better every year, both in real life and in NFL fantasy leagues. A.J. Green is in the conversation for best receivers in the game as evidenced by his 1,426 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He has a quarterback that is going to throw him the football a lot and some new teammates that will start to peel away the almost constant double coverage he typically sees. That should lead to even more fantasy goodness.