The Cincinnati Bengals have a new coaching staff who should breath life into their fantasy assets. I breakdown who your targets should be by tiers.
Tier 1 – Draft Targets
RB – Joe Mixon
2018 Stats: 237 Carries/1168 Yards/8 Touchdowns/55 Targets/43 Receptions/296 Yards/1 Touchdown
Mixon quietly had one of the best seasons in the league last year for the Bengals. He nearly doubled his rushing output from his rookie year and was one of the lone bright spots on an otherwise mediocre Bengals offense. Despite an early season injury, Mixon played some of his best football down the stretch as he turned in three 100-yard rushing performances over the last month of the season. He was especially spectacular in Weeks 13 and 14 when he averaged 25.85 PPR points over the two games.
I am bullish on Mixon’s outlook this season because of new coach Zach Taylor who was part of a staff in Los Angeles that unleashed Todd Gurley. Mixon is a special talent and is a true three-down back who Taylor will make the centerpiece of the offense. Barring injury, I have a hard time projecting Mixon to do anything but improve on his numbers from 2018. Like James Conner, I am thrilled to get Mixon – who is just 22 – at any point in the 2nd Round.
2019 Projection: 254 Carries/1208 Yards/9 Touchdowns/65 Targets/49 Receptions/358 Yards/4 Touchdowns
WR – AJ Green
2018 Stats: 77 Targets/46 Receptions/694 Yards/6 Touchdowns
Green is coming off a torn toe ligament that cost him seven games for the Bengals in 2018. He also turns 31 later this month. Those two things aren’t exactly music to a potential fantasy owner’s ears and its fair to wonder what type of asset he will be moving forward. On the positive side, Green averaged a healthy 15.1 YPC last year and his six touchdowns came despite the missed time. Stretched out over a full season, Green would have approached a 90/1200/10 line which would have landed him in the top-12 among receivers in PPR formats.
Green’s value in 2019 will come down to health and while he wasn’t a full participant in mini-camp, he says he will be ready went training camp opens. Taylor’s impact should be a boon to his production so Green could have a rebound season at a discount. He is also going into a contract year which never hurts from a motivational perspective. Because of the unknowns with his health, concerns about his age, and Andy Dalton, (heh) a more conservative approach to projections is necessary. Personally, Green isn’t a player I will be targeting as his current 3rd Round price tag is a little too rich for my taste.
2019 Projection: 139 Targets/79 Receptions/1150 Yards/8 Touchdowns
WR – Tyler Boyd
2018 Statistics: 108 Targets/76 Receptions/1028 Yards/7 Touchdowns
I have been watching Boyd since his days playing for the Clairton Bears, a Western Pennsylvania small school powerhouse, so his progression to legitimate NFL receiver isn’t a surprise to me. Boyd had a nice bounce back in 2018 and is one of the better draft day values going right now, especially in PPR leagues. The common misconception with Boyd is that he thrived only due to AJ Green’s injury last year but that is far from the truth. In the eight games when Green was healthy, Boyd turned in this stat line:
- 66 Targets/49 Receptions/620 Yards/5 TDs
That’s 17.6 PPR points per game which would make him the WR13. At his current late 6th Round ADP, he is a player I will absolutely be looking to own. Just 24, if we can get a full 16 games out of Boyd, we could be looking at 90+ receptions.
2019 Projection: 133 Targets/87 Receptions/1112 Yards/9 Touchdowns
Tier 2 – Depth Players
QB – Andy Dalton
2018 Statistics: 226-365/2566 Yards/21 Touchdowns/11 Interceptions
Putting Dalton here is almost entirely based on those of you in a 2QB or SuperFlex league. In those formats, Dalton can be considered a low-end QB2, albeit one that is shaky. He is coming off a 2018 where he ended the season on IR and there have been some rumblings that he might not make it through this season as the starter.
I wouldn’t go near him in a one-QB league although Zac Taylor’s arrival is worth mentioning. If Taylor can do for Dalton what Sean McVay did for Jared Goff it might spark somewhat of a career renaissance but with Dalton turning 32 in October I am not investing much here. Maybe he can be stream-worthy but it would be a big surprise if he was much more.
2019 Projection: 335-544/3378 Yards/28 Touchdowns/15 Interceptions
WR – John Ross
2018 Statistics: 58 Targets/21 Receptions/210 Yards/7 Touchdowns
Ross was a statistical wonder in 2018 as he scored a touchdown on 33% of his receptions. Despite that, the former first round pick has largely underwhelmed in two seasons. However, hear me out on him being a potential late round target. The Bengals have found success with receivers in their third season, starting with Mohamed Sanu:
- Mohamed Sanu: 56/790/5
- Marvin Jones: 65/816/4
- Tyler Boyd: 76/1028/7
When you combine that with the Rams (with Zac Taylor) reasonably supporting three receivers, there is some cause of for optimism. Ross will be locked in a battle with Auden Tate, Cody Core, and Alex Erickson for the third wide receiver spot in Cincinnati, largely taking him off most fantasy radars. I think he is worth monitoring during training camp as he will be given every chance to produce.
2019 Projection: 89 Targets/45 Receptions/524 Yards/2 Touchdowns
Tier 3 – Rotational Players
RB – Giovani Bernard
2018 Statistics: 56 Carries/211 Yards/3 Touchdowns/45 Targets/35 Receptions/218 Yards
I struggled with what to do with Bernard. On one hand, he lit up OTA’s and it sounds like he could be used creatively within the Bengals offense. On the other, he may need a Joe Mixon injury to be truly relevant. His value is primarily in PPR leagues where he can perhaps find some flex appeal during bye weeks.
2019 Projection: 48 Carries/197 Yards/2 Touchdowns/57 Targets/47 Receptions/304 Yards/1 Touchdown
RB – Trayveon Williams
2018 Statistics: Rookie in 2019
Williams was a 6th Round pick out of Texas A&M and his appeal for 2019 is likely limited being behind Mixon and Bernard. Williams is on the smallish side (5’8/205) and only ran a 4.51 at the combine but he totaled over 2,000 yards in his junior season. Still, he is just a year younger than Mixon and barring an injury is unlikely to make a huge impact this year.
2019 Projection: 14 Carries/92 Yards/0 Touchdowns/10 Targets/7 Receptions/56 Yards/1 Touchdown
TE – Tyler Eifert/CJ Uzomah
I put both of these guys here just to make mention of the fact that Eifert is coming off another injury so I would avoid him. Uzomah turned in a 43/439/3 line last year and he just turned 26. Taking a late round flyer here in deeper drafts is certainly worth the pick.
For the IDP tiers of Cincinnati Bengals click here.