Coach: Zac Taylor
OC: Brian Callahan
QBs: Andy Dalton, Ryan Finley, Jeff Driskel, Jacob Dolegala
RBs: Joe Mixon, Gio Bernard, Trayveon Williams, Rodney Anderson, Darrin Hall, Jordan Ellis, Quinton Flowers
WRs: AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Cody Core, Josh Malone, Alex Erickson, Auden Tate, Hunter Sharp, Stanley Morgan Jr, Ventrell Bryant
TEs: Tyler Eifert, CJ Uzomah, Drew Sample, Mason Schreck, Jordan Franks, Cethan Carter
2019 Draft (offense only):
Round 1, Pick 11 – OT – Jonah Williams – Alabama
Round 2 , Pick 52 – TE – Drew Sample – Washington
Round 4, Pick 104 – QB – Ryan Finley – NCST
Round 4, Pick 136 – OG – Michael Jordan – Ohio State
Round 6, Pick 182 – RB – Trayveon Williams – Texas A&M
Round 6, Pick 211 – Rodney Anderson – Oklahama
2019 Undrafted Free Agents (fantasy offense only):
QB – Jacob Dolegala – Central Connecticut State
RB – Darrin Hall – Pittsburgh
RB – Jordan Ellis – Virginia
WR – Stanley Morgan Jr – Nebraska
WR – Ventrell Bryant – Temple
Key Offseason Additions (fantasy offense):
Training Camp Preview: Rookies 7/24, Veterans 7/26
The Marvin Lewis era is finally over in Cincinnati! They hired first time head coach Zac Taylor, previously the quarterback coach for the Rams. He was with the Rams in 2017 as the assistant wide receivers coach, and before that, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Cincinnati. He was with the Miami Dolphins from 2012-2015 and served as the assistant quarterbacks coach before moving up to offensive coordinator in 2015. Taylor’s offensive coordinator will be Brian Callahan, previously the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2018. Callahan served as the quarterback coach for the Lions in 2016-17, and as an offensive assistant for the Denver Broncos from 2010-15. Taylor is 36 and Callahan is 34, so it will be super interesting to see what new ideas these two can cook up year one. The defense should be among the league’s worst and the offensive line is not much better. This is usually the recipe for a juicy fantasy passing team so don’t overlook these Bengals players below.
Andy Dalton is returning from a torn ligament in his thumb that occurred against Cleveland in Week 12. Dalton was actually playing fairly well in 2018, posting his second best QBR of his career. All off-season reports are that Dalton looks great and is ready to go in this new, quicker paced offense. He’ll be a QB2 in 2QB leagues and most likely has streaming capabilities for us in redraft leagues. If the new Taylor/Callahan offense is successful at being a quicker paced offense, we just might see some new career highs from Andy Dalton in 2019. With the Bengals having one of the worst defenses in the league this year, this could allow for a high number of pass plays as the Bengals play catch up or get into some shoot-outs.
All eyes will be on Joe Mixon taking a step forward this year and possibly entering the “elite” tier of running backs. Mixon finished as the RB10 in PPR leagues last year, averaging 17.4 points per game. He also finished fourth in the league with 1,168 rushing yards, which is extremely impressive considering the weaknesses on the offensive line and poor game scripts from the terrible defense. Perhaps the most impressive stat from Mixon’s 2018 season is that he did all of this while only playing in 14 games. Looking at 2019, the Bengal’s drafted OT Jonah Williams with their first round pick out of Alabama. This was going to be a positive for Mixon and the Bengals as a whole, but Williams will be likely missing his entire rookie season because of shoulder surgery. To make matters worse, veteran guard Clint Boling announced his retirement after missing all of the spring workouts because of a blood clot. Mixon was good enough to over-come poor offensive line play last year, but now the Bengals are down 2 of their projected starting offensive lineman. I still like Mixon as an RB1 for 2019, although his upside seems capped now. His current ADP is likely his ceiling, so I might look elsewhere if I’m at the beginning of round 2. I am into the idea of trying to get Mixon as your RB2 if you can. Giovani Bernard is the backup, and early camp reports are saying that they want to get him more involved this year, perhaps getting 10-12 touches per game. This would also be a negative for Mixon. The Bengals also drafted two running backs this year, Trayveon Williams out of Texas A&M and Rodney Anderson out of Oklahoma. We’ll watch these two in training camp and preseason games.
AJ Green suffered a torn toe ligament and played through a groin injury last season. He was playing at a WR1 pace the first 8 weeks of the year until the toe injury sidelined him for a few weeks. He tried to come back Week 13 but re-injured himself early in that game. Green is now 31 years old and coming off of two injury plagued seasons. Many are hesitant to take him with these two major concerns. I’m optimistic on Green for 2019, mainly because we get a slight discount on the WR1. He’s going in the third round of drafts right now and could pay off big dividends. The new offensive system should benefit the Bengals offense as a whole and AJ Green was still playing at a high level last year. Behind Green, Tyler Boyd enjoyed a third year breakout season last year. He finished as the WR15 in PPR leagues, but his production actually dropped off after AJ Green went down. This was also because Andy Dalton got hurt Week 12. If we are expecting the 2019 Bengals to run a McVay style offense, Boyd should be expected to produce at a WR2/3 level for us this year. After the top two, John Ross is the most intriguing option. A fresh start with a new coaching staff could be just what he needs. I’m open to snagging Ross as one of my last picks in redraft leagues. He was able to catch 7 TDs last year and should be seeing the field a lot more in year three. We’ll monitor the rest of the WR group that includes Alex Erickson, Josh Malone, Cody Core, Auden Tate and UDFA Stanley Morgan Jr.
The Bengals resigned TE’s Tyler Eifert and CJ Uzomah this off-season, while letting Tyler Kroft walk and sign with Buffalo. They drafted Drew Sample in the second round out of Washington. Sample is one of the better blocking TEs from the draft and should be able to act as an extra lineman right away. He basically fills Kroft’s role from 2018. As for fantasy, I’m not sure I’m very excited to try another round of Tyler Eifert, but his ADP is cheap. If you wanted to wait and snag him as your TE2, I’m fine with that. Just make sure you have someone ahead of him. Uzomah has proved himself as a capable pass catcher and would step up in Eifert’s place if and when injury occurs. Monitor Drew Sample in camp and preseason to see if he’s turning heads with is pass-catching abilities.
2017-2018 Stats Below: