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Fantasy Football Projections: Cincinnati Bengals

2017 provided yet another odd Andy Dalton experience in the fantasy football world. Dalton’s completion percentage and passing yards were both the second lowest of his career and he failed to register a single rushing touchdown for the first time in a season. Still, he delivered 25 TDs which were the third most in his career and his 12 interceptions were pretty much normal for him. A fairly anemic offensive line led to the second-worst running game in the NFL and constant harassment from opposing defenses. This season Dalton has largely the same returning arsenal of weapons and the Bengals added Billy Price with their first pick of the draft to help shore up a mediocre offensive line. Dalton isn’t likely competing for elite status, but he does have the tools at his disposal to put him in starter conversations if you choose to wait on filling your QB slot till the end of the draft. He’ll likely finish as a Top 15 QB in fantasy, making him someone to keep on your radar in normal leagues and a must-own in two QB formats.

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The Bengals and fantasy owners will hope to see far better out of highly touted 2nd year running back Joe Mixon who failed to impress in his rookie campaign posting a lowly 3.5 YPC and only 4 TD over 14 games. The fact remains that Mixon is a cable three-down back and while Gio Bernard will get his share of touches, the Bengals will be willing to heavily feed Mixon. He is a RB2 with upside and should go off the board in the top 3-5 rounds. Bernard will suffer if Mixon takes that next step and fall into a more passing game/change of pace complimentary role where the Bengals have been prone to use him throughout his career. I would still imagine Gio will get around 150 touches with the bulk coming through the air making him a FLEX, bench stash in PPR leagues.

AJ Green once again plays the headliner role among Dalton’s targets this season. He’ll be a safe bet to eclipse 1000 yards and come close to double-digit TDs. There was a time that Green was in the conversation for top WR honors in fantasy football, but he’s only delivered more than 1100 receiving yards, double-digit TD and 85+ catches once in the past four seasons. Split out at wide receiver with Green will be some combination of Tyler Boyd, Brandon LaFell, and John Ross. LaFell will be 32 and his best seasons are behind him but Boyd and Ross offer some back-end fantasy opportunity. Boyd posted 54 catches for 603 yards in 2016 before getting hurt in 2017 and he’s expected to see plenty of time in the slot in 2018 which could make him a name to watch in PPR formats. Ross was a first round pick in 2017 but health kept him sidelined for the entire season. All reports are that he’s healthy and ready to go in 2018 and there is legitimate big-play upside here. He drew comparisons to DeSean Jackson coming into the league and his ability to take the top off offenses is still there making him a late draft stash and a potential breakout sleeper.

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At tight-end it gets murky. Tyler Eifert is as talented a playmaker as just about any of the top fantasy options out there but he simply cannot stay healthy. That inability to stay on the field opened the door in 2017 for the emergence of Tyler Kroft. Kroft broke out for 7 TD’s as the primary starter for Cincinnati and has legitimate scoring upside. At the moment, Eifert is on pace to open the season in healthy, but the Bengals will likely utilize Kroft as much as Eifert to keep both healthy all year. There’s going to be TD’s here and targets, and Eifert is likely to emerge as a fantasy asset, but it will be tough to trust either as your starter in Week 1. I’ll take Eifert late and handcuff him with another option to be safe.

As a whole, the Bengals are a potential powder keg of fantasy production that could explode on several fronts. Dalton, Mixon, Green, Ross, Eifert, Boyd, Bernard could all wind up helping you win your league if everything clicks under new full-time Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor.

2018 Projections

Andy Dalton QB 350 565 4050 27 12 100 2


Joe Mixon RB 250 1125 8 35 325 2 3
Giovani Bernard RB 85 375 2 40 375 2 1


AJ Green WR 85 1225 8 1
Brandon LaFell WR 35 400 1
Tyler Boyd WR 25 275 1
John Ross WR 35 425 3
Tyler Eifert TE 45 500 5
Tyler Kroft TE 35 400 4
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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker