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Cincinnati Bengals 2021 Fantasy Football Preview

Plenty of Bengals players are getting hyped-up in fantasy this year. But will they live up to their high billing? Here's a breakdown of the roster for this season.

It has been a long time since the Super Bowl, and remembering exactly how things left off last year can be a challenge. So, I’ll be writing up a fantasy preview for each NFL team to give us a quick refresher on what happened last year, and what changes took place in the offseason. All fantasy stats will be in ESPN scoring format unless otherwise noted.

If I missed any change or left out any big notes, throw them down in the comments for me!

What Did They Do Last Year?

The Cincinnati Bengals went 4-11-1, lost Joe Burrow to a torn ACL, and failed to show much improvement outside of some inspired play from Burrow and his receivers. 

Head coach Zac Taylor will have six total wins under his belt heading into his third season. Still, mysteriously, hope abounds.

Quarterback
OVR
Rank
PlayerGCOMPATTYDSTDINTATTYDSTDFFPFFP/G
25Joe Burrow102644042,688135371423173.717.4
43Brandon Allen590142925541327049.79.9
50Ryan Finley41732164121166119.24.8

Joe Burrow is the beginning, middle, and end of any article about the Bengals fantasy football or otherwise. As of the writing of this article, Burrow is throwing in OTAs and expected to be a full go once the season gets started. We have seen many other players hit similar recovery timelines, but it would be a mistake to assume Burrow will truly be back 100% mentally and physically from such a gruesome injury.

As unfair as it is, as Burrow goes so go the Bengals.

Burrow is being obscenely over-drafted, going off the board as the QB10, 7.06 (per FF Calculator). Burrow is going off the board ahead of Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Ryan Tannehill… This is insane. I have Burrow ranked as my QB16 for 2021.

Wide Receivers
PPR
Rank
STD RankPlayerGTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
2827Tee Higgins15107679086127.68.5194.612.97
2936Tyler Boyd151107984141137.519212.8
6874A.J. Green1610447523264.34111.36.96
140143Mike Thomas102113132117.31.730.33.03
144151Auden Tate822141500151.9293.63
156160Alex Erickson101712139010.61.122.62.26
201203John Ross2721701.70.93.71.85
215214Trenton Irwin121500.50.51.51.5

The A.J. Green era has ended, sadly, and how the end was handled by the organization stands as a testament to how truly woeful the Bengals organization is.

And so, the Ja’Marr Chase era begins.

Cincy’s receiver corps was pretty good before they drafted Chase with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Chase inheriting A.J. Green’s targets, as much as it pains me to say it, will be a step in the right direction.

Chase is going a little too early for me, his May ADP from Sleeper has him an ADP of 48. That’s the end of the fourth round for you math fans. Betting on rookie wide receivers to post historic numbers is a great way to go broke, so I’ll pass. Chase is our WR18 in our staff .5PPR rankings.

Related: Actually How Productive are NFL Rookies in Fantasy Football?

The real values in Cincy are with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, a redraft ADP of 85 and 97 respectively. Both of these receivers have shown an ability to play at the NFL level and both looked pretty good with Burrow already. This is where you should be taking shots on the Bengals if you’re going to take shots on the Bengals. Both players are top-40 fantasy receivers this year.

Running Backs
PPR RankSTD RankPlayerGATTYDSTDTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
3036Giovani Bernard16124416359473553111.16.9158.19.88
4949Joe Mixon611942832621138178.613.199.616.6
6766Samaje Perine11633013121166054.7565.75.97
102102Trayveon Williams62615705530016.72.821.73.62

Joe Mixon has a completely clear runway for fantasy liftoff! Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

We talked about this in depth on our podcast, so I’ll keep it brief. Mixon has an ADP of 16 (middle second round) on Sleeper, and the end of the second (RB13) on FF Calculator. This is the type of chance you want to take in fantasy. Drafting your second RB with a potential to finish as a top-3 back… it is going to be hard to pass on that. More to come on that at the end.

Tight End
PPR
Rank
STD RankPlayerGTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
3039Drew Sample165340349138.92.478.94.93
7170C.J. Uzomah211887114.77.422.711.35
8687Cethan Carter6755305.30.910.31.72
123123Mason Schreck110000000

Nothing to see here. Move along. 

The Schedule

Warren Sharp’s schedule work is top notch, and projects the Bengals with a middle of the road schedule looking at defensive opponents projected efficiencies. They have the 25th easiest (ie, hard) schedule looking at opponents’s projected win total. Ouch.

Additional Notes

We have no idea if Zac Taylor is a good coach or not. Taylor was a QB coach under Joe Philbin for four years in Miami (2012-2015), was offensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati for a year, and then he worked with Sean McVay for two years with the Rams, first as a wide receivers coach and then as a quarterbacks coach. The point being, this is not a very dynamic resume. 

Taylor may end up being very good as a coach, but he has no history of that going in to Year 3.

What Does It All Mean?!?! (AKA – Bold predictions)

There are too many signs pointing to Cincy being bad again for 2021 for me to spend up on premium assets like Joe Mixon and Joe Burrow. The Bengals are likely in for another high draft pick in 2022.

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Thanks to FFToday.com for hosting such great stats info!

Thanks to TheHuddle.com for their great Coaching Change Tracker