Dr. Roto: Cincinnati Bengals Team Preview
Daily Dr. Roto - July 24, 2018
Cincinnati Bengals Team Preview
Outlook: The Bengals just can’t seem to get out of their own way. When their offense is clicking, their defense plays like a sieve, and when their defense is stopping opponents, their offense can’t ignite. Something needs to give for them or they will find themselves hovering around .500 for yet another season.
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QB: Andy Dalton has shown flashes of brilliance, but for the most part he has been very much of a Fantasy journeyman. Dalton is usually better in best ball formats than he is in seasonal leagues, and he always seems to manage to have 2-3 bad games that hurt his Fantasy owners. There is hope this season that OC Bill Lazor will make significant adjustments on offense to allow the team to open its playbook. Sadly, I think this will be more rhetoric than anything. Dalton should only be drafted in two QB (or best ball) leagues until the team learns to play with more consistency.
RB: Part of the reason that Bill Lazor was brought in was how badly the team misused Joe Mixon in 2017. At the beginning of last season, the Bengals insisted on starting Jeremy Hill and barely gave Mixon enough reps. Then when they finally decided to play Mixon, game flow took over as the team was often playing from behind and Mixon could not put up big stats. This offense will revolve around Mixon in 2018 and that is a very good thing. He is a strong runner and a terrific receiver out of the backfield. If Mixon touches the ball 270+ times this season that will bode well for both the Bengals and his Fantasy owners. Gio Bernard is still in town and will be used primarily on 3rd downs and obvious pass catching situations. I still think that Bernard has some juice in his legs, but the team needs to commit to Mixon which could hurt Gio’s overall numbers.
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WR: A.J. Green is clearly the WR1 for the Bengals. He is Dalton’s top outside target and can put up huge games when he is in the zone. That said, Green’s numbers took a nose dive last season mainly because of the putrid OL play and the injuries that the team suffered on offense. With no Eifert in the middle and no John Ross on the outside, teams were able to double Green all over the field and reduce his effectiveness. Green is now a mid-second round pick and I think that is a fair point for him to be drafted. Brandon LaFell is the WR2 more in name than ability. If John Ross and Tyler Boyd show that they are worthy of more snaps, don’t be shocked to see LaFell’s numbers plummet. Speaking of John Ross, the sky is the limit for him—if only he can stay healthy. The team desperately needs his speed on the outside. Just his mere presence will open space all over the field. It will be fun to watch Ross in preseason. If he looks the part, it will help reshape the Bengals offense more than any other player on the field. Tyler Boyd is the WR4, but he seems to be still learning the route tree and he lacks the separation speed necessary to be an offensive threat. He will need an injury to LaFell or Ross to have any significant Fantasy value.
TE: I really want to like Tyler Eifert. He is a huge target with great hands who has a nose for the end zone. That said, he is ALWAYS injured and completely unreliable to play more than like six or seven games. I can live with someone taking Eifert in like Rounds 14-15 hoping to catch lightning in a bottle, but the days where he was an 8th or 9th round pick seem long gone. If Eifert is out once again, Tyler Kroft will get the bulk of the playing time. Kroft caught 7 TD passes last season (Dalton loves throwing to his TE) and played respectably well in Eifert’s absence.
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K: Randy Bullock is terrible, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him lose the job in training camp.
D: I think the Bengals as overrated for IDP purposes. DT Geno Atkins can still get to the passer and LB Preston Brown was brought over from the Bills to be the run stuffer, but outside of these two guys, no one really thrills me.
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