Cedric Benson NFL Stats
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Cedric Benson NFL Game Log
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Free Agent Team Injury Report
Benson will look for a chance to catch on with a team and could have some value if he lands in the right situation.
The Bengals re-signed Benson after he ran for 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns last season, once again acting as the team’s workhorse. Benson might be the least explosive starting back in the NFL, as he averaged an ugly 3.5 YPC and recorded just two carries for 20-plus yards over 321 rushing attempts. Benson is one of the most boring picks, but barring a complete collapse after back-to-back 300-carry campaigns, he does have a nice floor in Cincinnati. The Bengals would likely use him as a feature back once again, and he was given 62 carries in the red zone last season, including 20 at the goal line (though he only converted six into scores). Just realize there’s not much upside, as he finished outside the top-15 fantasy RBs despite getting the fifth most touches.
It took five years, but Benson finally became
fantasy relevant last season, when he ran for
1,251 yards over 13 games. He still doesn’t
contribute in the passing game, and despite
getting more than 300 carries, scored just six
touchdowns. Part of that was his fault, as he
lacked explosion, producing just one rush of 40-
plus yards. The other part was simply bad luck,
as Cincinnati gave him just five opportunities at
the goal line, but that number should improve in 2010.
Benson has become a better running back
with age, but let’s not confuse him with a Pro
Bowler. He’s a plodder who isn’t elusive and
rarely makes defenders miss in the open field.
His 4.2 YPC mark last season was actually a
career high, and the utter lack of receiving ability
really puts a cap on his fantasy potential. But
just getting the opportunity is half the battle,
and the volume should certainly remain, as
there’s no doubt Benson is the Bengals’ workhorse.
There will be backs with higher ceilings
taken after Benson, but few offer this kind of
After signing with the Bengals midseason last year, Benson ran for a career-high 747 yards over 12 games, including 282 rushing yards over the final two. Still, he offers little as a receiver and got just 3.5 YPC, so his performance remained well below average. Benson too often goes down on first contact, rarely breaking any tackles. The Bengals didn't draft a running back until the sixth round and even released Chris Perry, so Benson looks like the team's starter. With the addition of Andre Smith and the return of Carson Palmer, the offense should have little trouble improving, but Benson's skill set is limited. He signed a modest two-year, $7 million deal in the offseason, which means Cincinnati could bring in competition for carries at some point.
Finally given the Bears' job as feature back,
Benson responded with a miserable 2007, gaining
a paltry 3.4 YPC before an ankle injury mercifully
ended his season in Week 12. He doesn't
possess the requisite speed to run away from defenders,
struggles to break tackles and has terrible
hands, so Benson is facing an uphill battle to
be a major contributor in 2008. An arrest during
the offseason didn't help matters, either. Chicago
brass seems to be having a hard time admitting
its mistake of drafting Benson fourth overall,
and coach Lovie Smith said in May that the job
is Benson's to lose. But with the more talented
Matt Forte now in the fold, we think Benson's
looking at a timeshare at best and could very
well lose the job outright in camp.
Benson finally gets the full-time job he’s coveted in Chicago’s backfield after Thomas Jones’ departure, but for the most part, he’s largely disappointed when on the field. He’s averaged just 4.1 YPC on 224 career carries and has been a complete non-factor in the passing game, which means he could give way to Adrian Peterson or rookie Garrett Wolfe on third downs. One positive for Benson was his short-yardage work, as he punched in all five goal-line carries for scores last year.
In what looked like a possible serious injury at the time, Benson ended up only suffering a sprained MCL during the Super Bowl, which means he healed in plenty of time for offseason activities. Benson might not be a star NFL running back, but he’s in the right situation to succeed. On a Chicago team with one of the league’s best defenses, the running game will be asked to protect leads in poor weather. Now it’s Benson’s job to take advantage of the opportunity.
The Bears first round pick in 2005, the 5-11, 220-pound Benson is a powerful back who possesses just enough speed and elusiveness to be a threat in the open field. He spent most of his rookie season watching Thomas Jones from the sidelines until a knee injury derailed even the possibility of a competition. However, Chicago has a lot invested in the youngster and the team will look for ways to get a return on that investment starting this year. If one of those ways involves finding a new home for Jones before Week 1, and his knee injury didn’t rob him of that extra step he needs to be effective, Benson’s value will soar.
Taken fourth overall in this year’s draft, Benson has decent size (5-11, 222 pounds) and runs with good power between the tackles. He’s not a burner, running a 4.55 40, but he’s quick enough to get outside, and can cut back when lanes open. Benson has good hands as a receiver out of the backfield, but he’s not much of a route runner, and he’s not going to create big mismatches in the passing game. Chicago coach Lovie Smith tabbed incumbent Thomas Jones as the team’s starter this spring, so it looks as though Benson will start as a backup, albeit one who shares carries and likely gets the nod at the goal line. As such, we’d rather have Benson than Jones, who is more versatile, but a little smaller and not quite as suited to short-yardage work. At this point, Benson looks like a better pick in touchdown-heavy leagues than performance ones, but that could change in training camp.