Cincinnati Bengals Fantasy Breakdown
It’s a new era in Cincinnati and as usual there’s lots of uncertainty and upside. With a new signal caller at the helm things could be shaky but there will be plenty of opportunities for the talented WR core and stud RB Joe Mixon. Let’s dive into this fantasy breakdown of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Offseason additions: QB Joe Burrow (R),
WR Tee Higgins (R), RB Jacques Patrick, WR Mike Thomas.
Offseason subtractions: QB Andy Dalton,
TE Tyler Eifert.
Quarterback: 1st overall draft pick Joe Burrow has some fantasy owners grinning like the Grinch who stole Christmas, others want no part of the rookie signal caller. No matter how much you love Burrow, there’s no denying that he’s a one season wonder but what a wonder it was! He broke several records in what was the greatest season a college Quarterback has ever had including a ridiculous 60 passing touchdowns. Obviously Burrow is now a Cincinnati Bengal and is no longer an LSU Tiger but that doesn’t mean the fireworks are over. I personally think Burrow will struggle early in his career but with an ADP of #169 and an expert consensus rank of QB #20 there’s little to no risk here. With Burrow’s undeniable talent the sky is the limit for this 23 year old rookie.
Running Back: Workhorse RB Joe Mixon has gotten some flack for having a down year in 2019 but it actually wasn’t all that bad. He finished as the RB #13 only dropping 3 spots from the previous year and put up some solid numbers, 1,138 rushing yards for 5 touchdowns on 278 attempts which was tied for 5th in the league. He should improve on his receiving stats of 35/287/3 on 45 targets with more consistent QB play. I’m very high on Mixon and think he has a real shot at being a top #5 fantasy RB this season. It was extremely encouraging how well he performed through weeks 10-17 scoring 5 TDs on 167 carries for 817 yards for an average of 102.1 ground yards per game and a solid 4.9 YPC. However, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you the downside of the story. He’s had plenty of volume but has put up RB #2 or better numbers in only 57% of his games over the last two years. That’s a lot of outings with RB #3 production or worse for a guy that has a current ADP of #10. He also has stated that he’s prepared to hold out if he doesn’t get his extension. As the very wise Joey Fickle would say, “it’s just a negotiation strategy.” and it’s probably no cause for concern as it has been more recently reported that the Bengals have had “productive talks” with the 23 year old RB. There’s not much behind Mixon other than veteran receiving back Giovani Bernard and even he only got 83 touches last season.
Wide Receiver: This is actually a very crowded bunch but unfortunately injuries are a given and game scripts will most definitely ensure a pass heavy approach so volume shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Tyler Boyd was 7th in targets last season with 148, just 9 behind 2nd place Julio Jones. With a finish of WR #18 and a stat line of 90/1,046/5 he didn’t exactly capitalize on that volume. With better, more consistent QB play, Boyd could have been a PPR stud. Often injured superstar A.J. Green missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury leaving fantasy owners in a precarious situation. His current ADP is #68 so there’s still a fair amount of risk involved but the reward could be tremendous. According to head coach Zac Taylor, Green is “Fully healthy and working hard.” If Green could stay relatively healthy he could be one of the better steals of 2020 drafts. John Ross has proven himself to be an injury risk as well, he’s also a proven boom or bust type. In 2018 he caught only 21 passes but a third of those were for touchdowns! Last season he caught 28 passes but tallied 506 yards for an insane 18.1 yards per reception. If Ross can stay on the field and Burrow can connect with him, we could see some fantasy magic like the first two weeks of last season where Ross gained 270 yards and scored all 3 of his TDs. The speedster is a decent late round flier. Auden Tate had a mediocre sophomore season with 40/575/1 on 80 targets in 12 games. If he gets the opportunities again, his catch percentage could be much better with an upgrade at QB. Rookie Tee Higgins who was selected 33rd overall out of Clemson will most likely be in a depth role this season. Former undrafted WR Alex Erickson rounds out the notable options. Erickson showed he can contribute when called upon but won’t get on the field enough to be considered in fantasy. Other than Boyd and Green we’re dealing with late round fliers and some Dynasty potential.
Tight End: Tyler Eifert is now a Jaguar so C.J. Uzomah and Drew Sample look to be the beneficiaries. Uzomah started all 16 games in 2019 but only managed 27 catches for 242 yards and 2 TDs finishing as the TE #40. In 2018, when Eifert played in only 4 games Uzomah showed he can produce points finishing as the TE #18. He currently doesn’t even have an ADP so he could be a sneaky waiver wire add or a late round flier in deep leagues. Cincinnati spent a 2nd round pick on Drew Sample last year and he didn’t contribute much as a rookie. He played in 9 games, starting 2 but only caught 5 passes for 30 yards ending up on IR. He should be the number #2 Tight End for Burrow and co. in 2020.
Defense: Nothing to see here. This was the 31st D/ST last season averaging a dreadful 3.8 PPG. Even with some upgrades this offseason I wouldn’t trust this squad even if they have a great matchup.
The sky is the limit for 1st overall Joe Burrow and his weapon arsenal. Just make sure you don’t overpay for anyone here because even though there’s plenty of talent and potential, there’s also a very real chance that this could be one of the worst offenses in the league.