- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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While Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. start unveiling their early 2015 draft boards, ESPN senior fantasy football analyst Matthew Berry has already started breaking down his early fantasy football rankings.
Yep, before you know it, you and your friends will be meeting at your favorite neighborhood bar to start picking your teams.
How many Cincinnati Bengals might end up on your fantasy team(s)? That's what Berry is here to help you figure out.
Like he mentions in his top 200 rankings for the coming season, don't hold these up as gospel for now. They can and most likely will be changing often between now and the start of the season. There are still a number of unknown variables, including the impact of Ray Rice's off-field troubles on his play this season, and the pending season-long suspension Browns receiver Josh Gordon is facing.
For now, though, a few familiar Bengals names have cracked the top tier of Berry's rankings.
From there, the Bengals have a drop-off until No. 107 overall, where rookie Jeremy Hill appears as Berry's 38th-best running back option. Receiver Marvin Jones then appears at No. 112. He's followed by running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who was ranked 169th overall, and the 71st running back available.
You can't forget defense when it comes to fantasy football, and the Bengals have the league's fourth-best for fantasy purposes, Berry says. The defense ranked 180th on the overall rankings.
Remember, these rankings are all about fantasy value. It doesn't mean Berry thinks Green is the fourth-best receiver in the league or that Bernard is the 12th-best ball carrier. It means that when it comes to fantasy production, that's where they rank. One might expect Bernard to be slightly higher among running backs, but it seems Berry is bracing for the possibility that Bernard will be sharing more of the backfield load this season with Green-Ellis and Hill.
One noticeable Bengals omission from the rankings was quarterback Andy Dalton. He didn't crack the top 200, and as a result wasn't one of Berry's top 15 quarterbacks. That could speak to the production the running backs are expected to have this season as part of an offense that will have more of a run-first attitude.
Last year, Dalton ranked sixth among all players in fantasy value. Passing for more than 4,200 yards and throwing 33 touchdown passes, and having nearly 200 yards rushing and a pair of rushing scores helped Dalton have such a high value.