By Connor Rigg
Zac Taylor’s first season as head coach of the Bengals did not go as planned. Star wideout AJ Green missed the entire season, and John Ross lost the majority of the season after starting the year off on fire. The O-line was in shambles, and the defense was awful.
This year Cincy drafted their franchise QB, and they return key members of their offense. The Cincinnati offense is a very sneaky unit to target in redraft and dynasty drafts. Let’s take a look at their skill positions and outlook for 2020.
QB: Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow was the Bengals first overall pick in the NFL draft. He had the greatest QB season in college football history and will look to replicate that success at the next level. I look for Burrow to put up high-end QB2 stats in his first year, but he could easily sneak into QB1 territory if the offensive line improves. He’s currently QB10 in dynasty startup drafts and a cornerstone for your fantasy teams.
RB: Joe Mixon, Gio Bernard
Joe Mixon finished last season 13th in PPR after a rough start. He seemed to catch on fire after the bye week and earned a workhorse role. I think Mixon retains the workhorse role in 2020 and could easily finish as a top 5 fantasy back, especially if he gets more involved in the passing game.
Gio Bernard is a reliable backup who is also a good pass catcher. He steals a few carries and targets from Mixon, but he isn’t a significant threat although he does possess workhorse upside when Mixon is banged up.
WR: AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Tee Higgins
AJ Green missed the entire 2019 season due to an injury. He played only nine games in 2018 and 10 games in 2016 in which he fell just short of his 6th straight 1,000-yard season. When AJ Green is on the field, he is a beast. Despite coming off an injury, playing alongside Joe Burrow can help him get back to WR2/WR3 territory if he stays healthy.
Tyler Boyd will manage the slot role on this Bengals team. He had his 2nd straight 1,000-yard season while catching 90 passes and scoring 5 touchdowns on 148 targets. I’m not sure he can get back to the 148 targets on a team with multiple weapons, but 125-130 targets aren’t out of the question. Joe Burrow loves throwing to his slot guys (ala Justin Jefferson), so Boyd could be in store for his best season.
John Ross is a burner and a playmaker. He’s just been injury prone since coming to the NFL. He’s flashed elite upside (7-158-2, 4-112-1, 6-84) and can get past any defensive back. Burrow has a cannon, and if he stays healthy, Ross will be an excellent sleeper to grab at the end of your drafts.
Tee Higgins was the Bengals 2nd round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. I don’t think he gets a lot of playing time this season due to the COVID-19 restrictions, but he will undoubtedly have a role in the 2021 season. Higgins looks to be the heir to AJ Green’s throne, once AJG is a free agent. I would leave him on waivers in redraft but is an excellent pick in dynasty drafts.
TE: CJ Uzomah, Drew Sample
Tyler Eifert is no longer on the team, so that means CJ Uzomah will be taking over the starting tight end position. Eifert drew 63 targets last season, but I don’t think all of those will go to Uzomah. Uzomah had 27-242-2 last season playing behind Eifert, and he will take a step forward with Burrow throwing him the ball. However, Uzomah is most likely the 5th option at best. He’s only a late-round dart throw.
Drew Sample will also gain more targets but isn’t worth drafting in redraft leagues.
Connor Riggs – Dynasty/Redraft
Ride or Dynasty