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Sleeper Spotlight: Could Rex Burkhead Prove To Be A Viable Option?

Saturday, November 26, 2016 4:55
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Giovani Bernard lost for the season the focus has shifted solely on Jeremy Hill in the Cincinnati Bengals backfield.  That type of thinking would cause you to overlook Rex Burkhead, who figures to step in and assume the role vacated by Bernard.  The Bengals apparently believe that he’s capable of stepping up, as Geoff Hobson of recently wrote (click here for the entire article):

“All eyes are on Burkhead, Bernard’s good friend (and they’re all his good friend because Bernard is that kind of guy) because he’s the guy that is going to take his place as that jack-of-all-trades-third-down back that must catch run, catch, and block.

And there is enormous confidence in the 5-10, 214-pounds Burkhead. He’s an example of how deep the Bengals believe their roster is, a versatile sort promoted to slot receiver in the week between the 2014 regular-season finale and the Wild Card Game when Green couldn’t play with a concussion.”

Burkhead, a sixth round draft pick in 2013, has not seen many opportunities over the course of his 35 game career.  We’re talking 19 receptions (on 27 targets) and 19 carries, for a total of 237 yards and 2 TD.  Based on those numbers, what would make anyone think that he can be trusted?

It’s not like he gave the impression of being a PPR monster coming out of Nebraska, with 60 receptions over his four year career.  The scouting report coming out of the draft wasn’t all that promising either:

Burkhead is a high-motor, high-character back who does everything coaches ask of him. He possesses the quickness and strength to be a solid NFL reserve back capable of contributing in a committee. However, Burkhead’s 4.73 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine won’t do him any favors.”

There are opportunities for touches in Cincinnati, given the injuries, but the better addition is going to be Tyler Boyd as opposed to Burkhead.  He is going to play behind Hill and the upside just doesn’t appear to be there.  Maybe he has his moments, but on a weekly basis he won’t be trustworthy.  Leave him for only the deepest of formats.

Sources –, ESPN,

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