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Fantasy Football Info: The Bengals Need Andre Smith Right Away

Cicinnati Bengals Minicamp

Just about every fantasy football owner has heard the old saying, “it all starts up front.” Those words hold true for both the offense and defensive lines in football. If your quarterback does not have good protection he probably won’t find receivers down the field. If a running back has no holes to run through, he won’t be a valuable fantasy scorer.

Cincinnati lose key offensive linemen

The Bengals did not start the off-season very well as they lost two of their best linemen to free agency in February. Eric Ghiaciuc (Chiefs) and tackle Stacy Andrews (Eagles) had a combined 31 starts together on the Bengals o-line in 2008.

Philadelphia Eagles - Friday Mini-Camp
Beyond losing those valuable players, Cincinnati then went on after the draft and released former No.1 pick, left tackle Levi Jones. While Jones will be missed by some Bengal fans, he will also be missed on the field as well. Levi only started 10 games for in 2008 and missed time due to injury problems.

These losses combined for 60% of the Bengals starting offensive line in 2008. With this info in mind it has to be a concern to draft any player on this team in 2009.

Can the Bengals youth learn fast?

With the sixth pick in the NFL draft the Bengals selected a big, bad stud out of Alabama named Andre Smith. This powerful tackle stands at 6’4 and is a massive 335 pounds of man.

This season Andre is projected to start at right tackle as he fills the void left behind by Stacey Andrews. At least for Andre he will have a veteran right guard next to him in Andrew Whitworth.

Andrew only started 10 games last season and will be entering his fourth year in the league this season. What a year he is going to have in ’09 as on both sides of him, he has players that have ZERO games started in the NFL.

At center the Bengals are going with second year man Kyle Cook from Michigan State. Cook needs to prove that he can be a solid center in the pros and hopefully he learned a lot ridding the pine in ’08.

Cincinnati Bengals Mini Camp

Replacing Levi Jones is another second year man from Kansas in Anthony Collins. Anthony does have starting experience as he started six games last year, while Jones was out of duty. Obviously the Bengals like what they have in Collins or they would have signed someone better this off-season.

If the Bengals are going to have success as an offense then it will hing on the ability’s of Cook, Collins and Smith to weather the storm from defensive pass rushes at the pro level. Be it that they have to face the Ravens and Steelers four times a year, one has to believe this will be a tall order to fill.

The Bengals need to sign Andre right away

Just recently Andre Smith was interviewed by and said that he hoped he would be able to sign before camp.

So far Andre has been very focused and working hard to learn how to play right tackle (he played left tackle in college). There may be some issues with signing Smith as a quarterback was selected (Mark Sanchez) right in front of him at the fifth overall selection in the draft. Since tackles do not generally make as much as quarterbacks coming out of college, there will be much discussion in negotiations, about how much Smith should make.

In the end it will be the Bengals fault if they can not get this big man into camp in the coming weeks.

Fantasy Information on the Bengals offense

Cincinnati has very good momentum coming out of OTA’s. Chad Ochocinco is very focused this spring, as well as receiver Chris Henry. Running back Cedric Benson has finally found a team that works for him, as he’s been a joy for running back coach Jim Anderson to work with. Even Carson Palmer is starting to look sharpe after his arm problems from a season ago.

But as I noted at the start of this article, “it all starts up front” and for the Bengals star players to have success, they need their o-line. For every week Andre is not in camp you should probably drop the Bengals star players a round in your fantasy rankings.

At this point in time I see Chad as a early mid round pick in most fantasy formats. Carson should be one of the first backup quarterbacks to go in drafts and Benson is a mid round pick this year as well.

Cicinnati Bengals Minicamp

Written by Sean E. Douglas:

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