Bernard came through for the Bengals late last season when Jeremy Hill was on injured reserve and Joe Mixon was banged up. Bernard averaged 101.4 yards from scrimmage in five December games and scored two touchdowns. The multifaceted Bernard has been effective as both a runner and receiver during his five years in Cincinnati. As a receiver, he has a career catch rate of 74.9 and a career average of 9.0 yards per catch.
The Bengals have intimated that they’d like Joe Mixon to be a workhorse this season, suggesting that Bernard could have some scant touch counts. That was the case for much of last season, when he averaged 3.1 carries over Cincinnati’s first 11 games. Even if he can find his way into significant playing time, Bernard will be operating behind a below-average offensive line. Bernard has scored only nine touchdowns over the past three seasons.
The Bengals were once content to let Bernard share work almost evenly with Jeremy Hill, but now they want Mixon to be their lead back. Such plans often go awry, and Bernard is too versatile and productive to be written off, but it might take an injury for Gio to become a significant fantasy contributor in 2018.