2018 Fantasy Football - Cincinnati Bengals - Team Moves





By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Each offseason brings change to NFL rosters, and those changes often have fantasy implications. Below, I lay out the changes at the skill positions and how those moves impact the fantasy status of the new roster.


2017
    QB: Andy Dalton, A.J. McCarron
    RB: Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill, Brian Hill
    WR: A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, John Ross, Josh Malone
    TE: Tyler Kroft


2018
    QB: Andy Dalton, Matt Barkley, Logan Woodside
    RB: Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, Mark Walton, Brian Hill
    WR: A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, John Ross, Josh Malone, Auden Tate
    TE: Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft




Pre-Draft Offseason:

The Bengals let Jeremy Hill walk, but he was barely a part of their offense last season, so it isn't a big change. Joe Mixon will get the lead-back duties, and the Bengals director of player personnel said that Mixon would be their bell-cow back this season. That will keep Gio Bernard in relief duty instead of in a stronger role as the third-down back. He will have those opportunities, but Mixon appears like he will as well. The current depth chart does give Bernard a pretty nice backup gig though, as he would be the main beneficiary if Mixon were to miss time. When Mixon was out for three games last season, Bernard averaged 103 yards, five receptions and scored two touchdowns in three games. Bernard likely wouldn't keep that up for 16 games, but he has the ability and should remain a good bench player, while Mixon will get his shot, and that means Mixon has a chance to be a strong fantasy play this season.

The wide receiver position hasn't changed, which probably isn't a good thing. A.J. Green remains one of the best in the league, but he can't do it by himself, and with Andy Dalton throwing him the ball, there is not much upside to push him back into being a top-five fantasy wide receiver. He has that ability of course, but he hasn't been a top-five wideout since 2013. Injuries haven't helped, but I'd be hard pressed to push him back into the elite fantasy range under his current circumstances.

Marvin Lewis looks to have stunted John Ross's development, plus I don't think Dalton is the best quarterback for Ross. He still has potential, but I'm very much waiting to see more with him in an offense that would rather run the ball.

We've seen Andy Dalton play into fantasy relevancy in the past, and it usually coincides with a healthy offense, both on the line and pass catchers. Tyler Eifert has been a big boost to Dalton's numbers in the past, but injuries have kept Eifert off the field in three of his five seasons. The Bengals have kept Eifert around, however, and will give him another shot this season. He'll need to produce if Dalton is to have much fantasy upside this season.



Post-Draft Update

The Bengals did end up upgrading their offensive line and defense early in the 2018 NFL Draft. It wasn't until the fourth round that they picked an offensive player, running back Mark Walton. Walton has good potential, but he is in the Giovani Bernard mold and likely will be third on the depth chart and not see much work with Joe Mixon leading the way.

The Bengals added quarterback Logan Woodside and wide receiver Auden Tate very late in the draft. Both players have ability and could make a training camp splash, but aren't likely to see any playing time this season.

With upgrades to the defense and offensive line, we could see the Bengals' average defense improve enough to get Joe Mixon more work in closer games, as Gio Bernard will be used in come-from-behind scenarios.



2018 Fantasy Outlook:

Stud: A.J. Green

Solid: Joe Mixon

Sleeper: Andy Dalton, Tyler Eifert



For more recommendations, check out WalterFootball.com's Fantasy Football Rankings.




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