2019 Fantasy Football: Cincinnati Bengals Expanded Team Outlook

Shawn Childs

Cincinnati Bengals Team Outlook

In this Cincinnati Bengals Team Outlook, I will focus on each key aspect of the franchise: coaching, the draft, free agency, offensive line, schedule, defense and of course, each relevant Fantasy Football at the key positions: QB, RB, WR, TE and K.

Bengals Coaching Outlook

The Bengals lost their way on defense, which led to most yards allowed in the NFL and 106 more points allowed (455) than 2017 (349). They failed to make the playoff for the third straight season leading to Marvin Lewis getting the ax after compiling a 131-122-3 record over 16 years with Cinci and seven playoff appearances (0-7). The Bengals brought in Zac Taylor to hopefully save the sliding franchise. Taylor helped Jared Goff make a step forward as the Rams’ QB coach in 2018. He only has five seasons of coaching experience in the NFL with his highest ranking job being the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Dolphins in 2015. Zac has a lot to prove with his short resume.

Offensive Coordinator

Last year Cincinnati finished 26th in the league in offensive yards gains and 17th in points scored (368). They improved offensively by 78 points from 2017 (290 points scored). The Bengals brought in BrianCallahan to run the offense. Over the last three years, Callahan worked as the quarterback coach from the Raiders and the Lions. He has nine seasons of experience in the NFL at the age of 34.

Defensive Coordinator

Lou Anarumo had been a coach in the NFL since 2012 (eight seasons) while working as a defensive back coach every year except a few games as the interim defensive coordinator for the Dolphins in 2015. Anarumo spent well over 20 years coaching in college with his highest job coming as the defensive backs coach for Purdue for eight seasons.

Bengals Free Agency Outlook

Cinci didn’t sign one player of value to add to their offense over the winter. The only player added was third string QB Brad Kaaya. They lost TE Tyler Kroft, TE Matt Lengel, T Jake Fisher, and T Cedric Ogbuchi. No player would be considered a lost asset.

The Bengals added two players to their defense – DE Kerry Wynn and CB B.W. Webb. Both players will compete for backup roles. Cincinnati lost DE Michael Johnson, LB Vontaze Burfict, LB Vincent Rey, and CB Darqueze Dennard. Johnson failed to record a sack last year after recording 37 sacks over the previous seven years. Burfict had talent, but he tends to play on the dirty side of the game while struggling to stay healthy over the last five seasons. In 2013, Vontaze made 171 combined tackles with three sacks, seven defended passes, and one Int.

Cincinnati Bengals Draft Outlook

Cincinnati had ten draft picks in the 2019 NFL Draft with three coming in the fourth and sixth rounds.

With the 11th overall pick, the Bengals invested in OT Johan Williams. He comes to the NFL with an excellent combination of technique, athletic ability, and work ethic. He projects to be a winning run blocker with success in pass protection. Williams needs to prove his worth defending speed/power rushers on the outside. Overall, Johan is an excellent upgrade to this offensive line while expecting to start at left tackle.

In the second round, Cinci tried to upgrade the TE position by drafting Drew Sample. His best asset early in his career will be his blocking skills, which helps improve the run game. Sample needs development in his route running, but he does have a feel for open space in his pass patterns with the wheels to test a defense if given a free run downfield.

Drew Sample

LB Germaine Pratt was the choice in the third round. Pratt brings speed and strength to the linebacking position. Germaine will add value in pass coverage plus have the skill set to attack the QB when asked. He’ll work from sideline to sideline, but Pratt has to improve his hands to defeat bigger bodies in traffic along with working on his technique.

With their three selections in the fourth round, the Bengals add QB Ryan Finley, DT Renell Wren, and G Michael Jordan.

Finley comes to the NFL with the mindset to read defenses and offers a good feel for the pocket. Unfortunately, his ability to deliver the ball on time with accuracy isn’t where it needs to be at this point of his career. He needs to get stronger and improve his production vs. top competition plus show growth in his TD production in the red zone.

Wren looks the NFL part as an anchor run defender with some value rushing the QB, but he lacks vision and technique with questionable hands. Two of his shortfalls can be coached up. Experience and pregame work will help his ability to see a developing play unfold. Renell is quick off the snap but falls short in production.

Jordan could develop into a second exciting piece to the Bengals’ offensive line. He has the foundation skill set to be a beast in a quick hitting run game. His first step isn’t where it needs to be a move blocker in space. Michael has experience at both center and guard. His overall development has plenty of room for growth along with the frame to add more bulk. Jordan does need to get stronger to win more battles in the trenches.

In the sixth round, Cinci drafted a pair of RBs (Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson) and LB Deshaun Davis.

Williams lacks NFL size (5’8” and 206 lbs.), but he does run with power with sufficient speed (4.51 40 yards dash). His short area quickness isn’t ideal, but he does run with patience with the ability to make defenders miss. Trayveon works hard in pass protection with value in the passing game. His one lacking trait is vision in tightly blocked plays.

Anderson could work as the goal runner for the Bengals in 2019. His game hinges on his power with a good feel for open space in tight quarters. Rodney doesn’t have a secondary burst while having a history of injuries. More of a “take what’s given to me player” than a difference maker while lacking the foot quickness to change gears in tight quarters.

Davis needs a clean run to the ball carrier while lacking the change of direction skills and vision to play on passing downs. He does play with strength while being a bit undersized (5’11 and 235 lbs.). His decision making can lead to big plays against him.

With their last pick in the seventh round, the Bengals took CB Jordan Brown. He’s athletic with a feel for coverage after going to college as a wide receiver. His vision needs work, and Brown will be challenged in the deep passing game. Jordan tends to play soft, which doesn’t work on the defensive side of the ball. With more experience, he may develop into a rotational defender on passing downs.


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Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Line Outlook

The Bengals ranked 21st in the NFL in rushing yards (1,682) last season. They gained only 4.7 yards per carry with 13 rushing TDs and 16 runs over 20 yards. Game score led to only 22.4 runs per game. Cinci finished with 3,290 yards passing (24th) with 27 TDs and 13 Ints. Their offensive line allowed 37 sacks and 71 QB hits.

LT Jonah Williams

Williams should take over a starter in his rookie season forcing Cordy Glenn to shift right tackle. Williams will go grade the run and pass blocking with strength in his foundation skill set. His biggest challenge will be defeat speed rushers on the outside that offer follow through in power.

Update 8/9/2019: The Bengals lost their top 2019 draft pick for the season in July with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The injury invites more risk in both the run and pass game.

LG Michael Jordan

Jordan isn’t a lock to start, but the ceiling of the 2018 talent at guard on the Bengals wasn’t very high. Cinci may decide Jordan has more value at right tackle. Either way, his path to the NFL points to upside with more growth. In his first season, Michael will add value in a quick attacking run game, which works well with Joe Mixon as the starting running back.

C Billy Price

Price was expected to be an instant upgrade to this offensive line, but he missed six games last year due to a foot injury. He’s a power player with an attacking style, which is another win for Joe Mixon in 2018. Price should develop into one of the better centers in the game. His next step is improving his base pass protection while letting attack pass rusher come to him. Cinci drafted him in the first round in 2018.

RG Clint Boling

Boling has been a seven-year starter in the NFL after Cinci added him in the fourth round in 2011. When at his best, Boling was a league average player with more strength in pass blocking. Last year his run skills declined, which is why I expect a downgrade in position. Over the previous three seasons, Clint’s game has shown more fade than upside.

RT Cordy Glenn

Glenn struggled in his first season with Cinci, especially in run blocking. The Bills drafted Glenn in the second round in 2012. From 2013 to 2016, Cordy was one of the better left tackles in the game. Cinci acquired Glenn in a trade in mid-March in 2018. Glenn has been injured in each of the last three seasons with each issues taking away from his upside. A move to right tackles should be in the cards this year.

Cincinnati Bengals O-Line Outlook

Cincinnati has a pair of young first-round draft picks plus two other options on the offensive line that have a chance to grade above the league average. If their young talent emerges in 2019, the run game could be much improved helping the efficiency in the passing game as well. Possible top ten offensive line if all key players emerge.

Update 8/9/2019: After the Johan Williams injury, Cinci hopes to fill the void at left tackle. This offensive line will struggle to be league average after the loss of their top draft pick 2019.

Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Schedule Outlook

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The above data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing touchdowns (TDS).

This information is based on 2018, which will work as our starting point for 2019. We’ll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We’ll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.

  • LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2018.
  • Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL.
  • Adjustment is based on the 2018 league average and the 2018 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat category and the basis for the strength of schedule.

Other than two tough matchups vs. the Ravens and a pair of below-par games against the Steelers, Cincinnati has a favorable schedule for their rushing offense. They have two outstanding games (ARI and MIA) plus four other mid-tier contests (OAK, NYJ, and CLE X 2).

The Bengals have a tough schedule for their passing offense with most of their struggles coming in five games (JAX, BUF, ARI, and BAL X 2). Their only game with a slight edge comes vs. the Jets.

Cincinnati Bengals Offense Outlook

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The Bengals would like to have success running the ball to keep their defense off the field. Last year they gained 4.7 yards per carry, but Cinci averaged only 22.4 rushes per game. The change of coaching staff should transition this offense to a run-first style. If they run the ball well, the passing game should naturally open up.

Quarterbacks

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Andy Dalton

Over 11 starts, Dalton went 5-6 with 2,566 passing yards, 21 TDs, and 11 Ints. He gained 7.0 yards per pass attempts, which was his second-lowest rate since 2012. His offensive line did a better job limiting the damage in sacks (21). Andy passed for over 300 yards in two games while delivering two games of value in TDs (4 and 3). He gained fewer than 200 yards passing in three of his last six starts. His success ended in Week 12 due to a broken right thumb.

The Bengals’ offense has two viable upside WRs in A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd plus pass-catching talent at RB. Dalton has only once average over the league average in passing attempts with his only season with an edge in TDs (33) coming in 2013. At this point in his career, Andy can only be considered a low-grade QB2 with game management skills. I expect him to finish with about 3,700 yards passing with 28 combined TDs thanks to some value as a runner in the red zone.

Update 8/9/2019: With A.J. Green expected to miss two to four games at the minimum in the regular season, Andy Dalton slides ever further down the quarterback rankings. His upside is now only a league average player with more risk than reward.

Jeff Driskel

With Andy Dalton injured, the Bengals turned to Driskel late in the season. Over five starts, Jeff passed for 764 yards with five TDs and two Ints. His completion rate (58.6) over this span wasn’t an edge while taking three sacks or more in four contests. He chipped in with 81 yards rushing on 19 carries. Comparable player to Dalton, but his long-term future in the NFL will come as a backup.

Ryan Finley

Over his seasons at NC State, Finley passed for 10,501 yards with 60 TDs and 25 Ints. His completion rate improved each season (60.4, 65.1, an 67.4) while adding more length to his pass attempts (8.1) in 2018. In his college career, Ryan rushed for 382 yards on 214 carries with five rushing TDs. Future backup QB once he improves his decision making in the red zone.

Other Options: Jacob Dolegala

Running Backs

Joe Mixon

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Despite missing two games, Mixon finished in 10th in R scoring PPR leagues. The Bengals gave him 280 touches (20 per game), which led to 1,464 combined yards with nine TDs and 43 catches. Over the last four games of the year, Joe gained 453 combined yards with three TDs and ten catches. He had four games with over 100 yards rushing and three other contests with over 100 combined yards.

Mixon gained an impressive 4.9 yards per rush, but he struggled to find space in the passing game (6.9 yards per catch). His two missed game came from a right knee injury that required minor surgery in September. I like the players added to the offensive line over the last two seasons, which invites further growth in the run game. His next step is a push for 325+ touches with 1,800 combined yards with double-digit TDs and 60+ catches.

Update 8/9/2019: The loss of left tackle Johan Williams does downgrade Joe Mixon for me. The injury to A.J. Green also hurts the explosiveness of the Bengals' passing game. Mixon isn't a slamdunk in 2019, but he'll still get plenty of touches to earn Fantasy points. More of a late second-round Fantasy option in PPR leagues than a target on the 1/2 turn.

Giovani Bernard

Bernard has been in the NFL for six seasons, but he’s only 27. Last year he struggled to gain yards in both the run game (56/211/2 – 3.8 yards per carry) and the passing attack (35/218 – 6.2 yards per catch) while missing four games with a knee injury. Over his career in the NFL, Giovani has 265 catches (44 per yard) while gaining over 1,000 combined yards in his first three seasons in the league. Tough to dismiss him completely, but the torch at RB in Cinci has been passed to Mixon. Only a handcuff with a chance to get between 100 and 150 touches if the Bengals’ offense takes a step forward in 2019.

Trayveon Williams

In his three seasons at Texas A&M, Williams flashed impact value in two years. He gained 6.8 yards per rush leading to 1,148 combined yards with eight TDs and 19 catches his freshman year. In 2017, Trayveon saw his yards per rush fall to 4.6 with a slide in overall production (990 combined yards with eight TDs and 20 catches). Last year he regained his explosiveness (6.5 yards per carry), which led to 2,048 combined yards with 19 TDs and 27 catches on 298 touches. This season he’ll start the year as the third-string RB for Cinci.

Other Options: Rodney Anderson, Quinton Flowers, Darrin Hall, Jordan Ellis

Wide Receivers

A.J. Green

Green played well over his first eight games (45/687/6 on 76 targets), but a toe injury cost him close to the remainder of the season. His catch rate (59.2) came in short for the second straight year (52.4 in 2017). Green had five catches or more in seven games and six games of value (6/92/1. 5/69/3, 4/78/1, 6/112, 7/117, and 5/76/1). His success over a full season would have led to 90 catches for 1,374 yards and 12 TDs or 299.4 Fantasy points in PPR leagues (an eighth-place finish in 2018 at WR). Green has been injured in three of his last five seasons with his failure coming in even years. Top 10 WR in talent, but his lack of stats will lead to him falling in the WR rankings in 2019. A floor of 85+ catches for 1,200+ yards with double-digit TDs if he plays a full season.

Update 8/9/2019: Green suffered an ankle injury in late July that required minor surgery. He'll have five weeks to heel, but I expect him to miss two to four games in the regular season. More of a six-round draft pick now in PPR leagues while still offering downside risk if his recovery doesn't go as planned. I'll downgrade his projects to 65 catches for about 1,000 yards and seven TDs.

Tyler Boyd

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Boyd flashed upside in his rookie season in 2016 (54/603/1), but a poor sophomore year (22/225/2) due to six missed game led to him being overlooked on draft day last season. Over 14 games last year, Tyler caught 76 of his 108 targets for 1,028 yards and seven TDs. A right knee injury cost him the final two games of the season. Boyd played great over a three games stretch early in the year (23/323/2) with follow-through in four other games (7/62/2, 9/138/1, 7/85/1, and 6/97).

His hands and route running give him an edge. Last year wasn’t a fluke, but he’ll be a little more erratic if the Bengals do run the ball better in 2019 and A.J. Green stays healthy. Start the bidding at 80+ catches for 1,000+ yards and midlevel TDs.

Update 8/9/2019: Tyler Boyd will get a bump in targets early in the year helping his expected Fantasy value. Possible jump to 90+ catches for 1,100+ yards.

John Ross

Ross missed the entire 2015 season in college with a torn left ACL, which came after low production in his freshman (16/208/1) and sophomore (17/371/4) seasons while showcasing some value as a runner (12/93/1). In his redshirt junior year, John offered an excellent combination of short-area production and home run ability. He finished with 81 catches for 1,150 yards and 17 receiving TDs plus eight rushes for 102 yards and a TD.

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Ross will threaten the defense with each step he takes. John can beat a defender in a blink of an eye. His biggest challenge will be beating physical CBs off the line of scrimmage, which will restrict his value in TDs in the red zone, but his skill set will lead to winning fades and slants at the goal line.

Ross is a playmaker after the catch with instant value in the return game. His next step is becoming a more efficient route runner where he needs to vary his tempo. His acceleration reminds me of Dante Hall with a much better receiving skill set. Ross had surgery to repair a torn labrum after the 2017 NFL Combine where he ran 4.22 seconds in the 40-yard dash. John is an exciting player with plenty of injuries in his career.

After two seasons in the NFL, Ross fails into the bust column. He missed all but three games in his rookie with no catches on two targets. Last year he caught 21 of his 58 targets for 210 yards, but he did score seven TDs. His next step is staying healthy while adding more value on more downs. This season he’s only a late-round flier while sliding further down on the depth chart after the emergence of Tyler Boyd.

Update 8/9/2019: Ross just can't stay healthy, which makes him almost impossible to chase in the Fantasy market. In early August, John is battling a hamstring injury.

Josh Malone

Malone was Cincinnati’s second pick in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. He’s another WR with plus speed (4.40 in the 40-yard dash in the 2017 NFL Combine). After being a top receiving talent out of high school, Josh turned in a mediocre career over three seasons at Tennessee (104/1608/14), but he did show growth in his junior year in 2016 (50/972/11). In his rookie season, Malone caught only six of his 17 targets for 63 yards and a TD with emptiness in 2018 (1/12 on five targets).

Other Options: Alex Erickson, Cody Core, Auden Tate, Hunter Sharp, Stanley Morgan

Tight Ends

Tyler Eifert

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Injuries crushed Eifert again in 2018. Over the first four games of the season, he caught 15 balls for 179 yards and one TD on 19 targets with his best success coming in Week 3 (6/74). His downfall last year was a broken right ankle. Tyler played only 14 games over the previous three years, which led to 48 catches for 619 yards and six TDs on 71 targets. Eifert was a fun ride in 2015 (52/615/13 on 74 targets) when he appears to be on the rise. He’ll enter the season at age 29 leaving Fantasy owners with a big guess of his value and upside.

If healthy, Tyler will be the top TE on the roster while adding more dynamics to the passing game, especially in the red zone. TE2 flier if the summer training reports remain positive.

C.J. Uzomah

Last season Uzomah led the Bengals’ TEs in catches (43) and receiving yards (439). He scored three TDs while averaging four targets per game. C.J. didn’t gain over 55 yards in any game. He scored over ten Fantasy points in PPR leagues in two contests (6/54 and 4/49/1). Boring type TE option that only works as a bye week cover or short-term injury fill in if he’s getting starting snaps.

Drew Sample

Based on his college resume (46/487/5) over four years, a Fantasy owner can’t expect Sample to be player of value this draft season. Drew improves the blocking game, which will ultimately help the run game. His best success at Washington in college came in his senior year (25/252/3).

Other Options: Mason Schreck, Cethan Carter, Jordan Franks, Moritz Boehringer, Andrew Vollert

Kicker

Randy Bullock

Over 79 games in his career in the NFL over six seasons, Randy has been successful in 82.8 percent of his field goal tries. In his rookie season, he missed nine of 22 chances from 40 yards or more. Randy showed growth his next season (30-for-35) with stable value from 50 yards or more (4-for-5), but he failed to land a full time kicking gig in 2015 and 2016. In his career, Bullock is 8-for-17 from 50 yards or more with eight extra-point kicks missed in 109 chances over the last four years. In his two seasons with the Bengals, Randy made 37 of 43 his field chances with three of six going through the uprights from 50 yards or more. Only a waiver wire option with occasional playable value.

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Bengals Defense Schedule Outlook

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Cincinnati has four games (SEA, LAR, and BAL X 2) vs. teams that expect to have success running the ball. They have four matchups (ARI, OAK, and PIT X 2) that underperformed running the ball in 2018.

The Bengals have a favorable schedule for their passing defense. They have seven contests (SEA, BUF, JAX, ARI, MIA, and BAL X 2) against teams that struggle to pass the ball. Their biggest test will come vs. the Steelers in two games plus the Rams and the Patriots. Pittsburgh’s passing game does take a hit with Antonio Brown no longer on the team.

Bengals Defense Outlook

The Bengals allowed the fourth-most rushing yards (2,204) in 2018, which was created by volume (29.1 rushes per game). Ball carriers gained 4.7 yards per rush with 15 runs gaining over 20 yards. Cinci gave up 17 rushing TDs.

Their pass defense fell to last in the NFL in passing yards allowed (4,414) with 32 TDs and 12 Ints. Receivers gained over 40 yards on 13 plays. Cinci finished 34 sacks.

Cornerbacks

In his first season with playing time in the NFL after being drafted 24th in the 2016 NFL Draft, CB William Jackson posted high marks in his pass coverage ability. Last year he finished with growth in tackles (41), but he didn’t record a sack or an Ints while posting similar results in defended passes (13). Jackson missed all of 2016 with a torn pectoral muscle in his chest. William needs to improve his tackling skills. His decline is play last year wasn’t helped by weakness at the first and second levels of the defense. I expect Jackson to be an edge in coverage.

Dre Kirkpatrick hasn’t developed into a top corner after the Bengals drafted him in the first round in 2012. Over the last four seasons, he has 49 combined defended passes with 212 tackles and four Ints. Kirkpatrick is a much better player when the Bengals’ defensive line is closing the passing window with their pass rush. His season ended in December with a bum right shoulder. Dre continues to miss too many tackles while being a liability in coverage vs. top WRs and QBs.

Over the last two seasons, Darqueze Dennard stepped up his game leading to success in run support and open field tackling. Last year Dennard did allow too high of a completion rate, but most of the plays went for short yards with minimal damage in TDs. Last year he battled a calf injury. In May, Darqueze had minor knee surgery.

Safeties

Shawn Williams was a disaster in many areas in 2018. He missed too many tackles while allowing a few TDs. On the positive side, Williams picked up 110 combined yards with one sack, five Ints, and nine defended passes. At best, a league average player with help at the second level of the defense for linebackers.

In his first season in the NFL Jesse Bates added value in run support with more wins than losses in his open field tackling. Bates was an asset in all areas, which led to 111 combined tackles with three Ints and seven defended passes. Jesse has the speed and short area quickness to handle his responsibilities in coverage. He plays with an attacking style that will perform well when moving toward the line of scrimmage. Jessie can struggle in the open field when asked to change direction and make tackles. His ball skills grade well while owning the vision need to have success at safety in the NFL.

Jessie Bates

Linebackers

Preston Brown was expected to be a nice addition to the Bengals’ defense in 2018 especially with plenty of talent on the defensive line. Unfortunately, Brown missed nine games with ankle and knee injuries. Preston had over 100 tackles in all four of his seasons in the NFL with growth each year (109, 120, 139, and 144). He can make plays in coverage (14 defended passes in his career with five Ints and one TD), but he rarely gets to the QB (one career sacks). Even with nice stats, Preston ranks a below average player at his position.

In his second year in the NFL after getting drafted in the sixth round, Jordan Evans improved slightly vs. the run, but he remains a liability in coverage. Evans will be on the bench on passing downs, but Cinci can’t hide him on coverage if an offense wants to pick on him on early downs. His upgrade should come in this year’s draft (Germaine Pratt). Pratt improves the speed on defense while upgrading the passing defense.

Nick Virgil set a career high in tackles (84) while adding three defended passing. Virgil missed ten games over the last two seasons. His game has risk in all areas. Cinci hopes Malik Jefferson can make a step forward after seeing minimal playing time in 2018. Jefferson looks the part of starting linebacker in the NFL with his speed and power, but his lack of vision and anticipation leave him a step behind the best players in the game at his position. In college, his speed made up for his slow reaction time. Getting better as a player, but he needs to see things before they happen to be a factor in the NFL.

Defensive Line

Geno Atkins remains one of the top passing rushing interior linemen in the league. Over the last four seasons, Atkins has 40 sacks while averaging over 40 tackles per season. His run defense has been a battle between league average and elite in his career.

The other interior lineman in the starting lineup will come from Andrew Billings and rookie Renell Wren. Billings projects as an early-down run defense with minimal value in sacks. Wren will help as well vs. the run while adding more upside attacking the QB. Renell needs more development in his game to make an impact at the next level.

Carlos Dunlap played great vs. the run last year while adding 47 tackles and eight sacks. Dunlop remains an asset on the defensive line, but he can underperform against the run in some seasons. Jordan Willis was unimpressive in 2018 when given a bump in playing time. In his rookie season, Willis works well as a rotational player against the run.

Sam Hubbard was a much better player in his rookie season (39 tackles, six sacks, and two defended passes), but he did have some risk vs. the run. Hubbard plays with awareness the line of scrimmage, which helps offset his lack of impact athleticism. He’ll hold his own against the run while lacking the speed or power to offer impact value attacking the QB. Sam is more of a steady part to the puzzle on defense who will control his small piece of real estate on the field. His ability to work hard on every plays ups his playable value.

This defense is much better than its 2018 results. With better play on offense, Cinci will be able to attack the QB with enough talent to slow down the run game. They have one weakness in coverage with some interesting young players to fill the expected gaps in 2019. Viable second Fantasy defense than my surprise at times this season. The first goal this year if fixing the weakness vs. the run.

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