The Cincinnati Bengals will be one of the more interesting teams this season when it comes to fantasy football.
You know who the heavy hitters are in A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert, both of whom figure to be at or near the top of their respective positions when healthy and on the field. However, the Bengals may have a host of fantasy options this season with an offense loaded with talented playmakers.
With that in mind, we decided to rank the top Bengals in terms of fantasy football potential this coming season.
4. Andy Dalton
After a decent 2016 season that was marred by offensive defections and injuries, Dalton enters 2017 with a lot of upside as the leader of a loaded Bengals offense. In the wake of so many issues among the Bengals’ offense, whether it be the losses of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu or injuries to Eifert and Green, Dalton still had 4,206 passing yards and 18 touchdowns vs just eight interceptions, as well as some quality games in terms of fantasy output. A 91.6 passer rating was also his second-best in his six-year career behind his 2015 record of 106.3.
Expect that to become a regular occurrence in 2017, not to mention Dalton has quietly been a great value fantasy quarterback at times in his career. He finished 12th in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks last season. That came after Dalton finished 12th in fantasy points per game in 2015 (across all positions) before missing the final three games due to injury. Dalton’s best fantasy season came in 2013 when he ranked third among all quarterbacks.
But his 2017 group of offensive weapons is arguably the best he’s ever had, highlighted by the additions of first-round receiver John Ross and second-round do-it-all running back Joe Mixon.
Add in a healthy Eifert and Green with a great PPR back in Giovani Bernard, and this could be one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL next season. That’s why Dalton could become a top fantasy option at quarterback in 2017.
3. Tyler Eifert
When healthy, Eifert is the second-best fantasy tight end behind only Rob Gronkowski. In eight games this past season, Eifert caught 39 passes for 394 yards and five touchdowns. He also has 18 touchdowns during his last 21 games, an absurd rate for any tight end, which is why he’s usually near the top of fantasy tight end rankings when he’s healthy.
Problem is, health has not been on Eifert's side nearly enough though his first four seasons. In 2014 he hurt his shoulder before the season started and then dislocated his elbow in Week 1. In 2015, Eifert sustained a concussion and stinger that cost him three games.
Then an ankle injury in the 2016 Pro Bowl led to surgery, which helped keep Eifert sidelined in eight games last season. A lot is riding on Eifert's shoulders this season. Let your fantasy team be part of it at your own peril.
2. Joe Mixon
Mixon had all the makings of a fantasy superstar as a rookie. If we're talking just pure talent, Mixon is as good as any running back in this loaded rookie class. Last season with Oklahoma, Mixon recorded 1,274 rushing yards, 6.8 yards per carry and 10 rushing touchdowns. He also notched 538 receiving yards at 14.5 yards per catch and five touchdown grab on 37 grabs.
With 194 all-purpose yards per game, Mixon ranked among the top-five runners in the country. He has a world of potential and could quickly emerge as an RB1 if the Bengals give him a heavy workload this year.
However, the Bengals are notorious for bringing rookies along slowly. Both Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill didn't assume major roles in their offenses until later in their rookie seasons.
Speaking of, a healthy Bernard and Hill will almost certainly prevent Mixon from getting the majority of touches in this offense, not to mention may vulture several touchdowns.
All of this is why Mixon is easily the biggest boom-or-bust fantasy candidate in this offense. His ceiling is as high as anyone, but his floor is concerning enough that he probably shouldn't go high in fantasy drafts. However, I would, without question, rank Mixon as the top fantasy running back in this offense for both standard and PPR leagues.
1. A.J. Green
There's really no question who the Bengals' top fantasy prospect is. Green has been a fantasy stud every year he's been in the NFL. Green has averaged over 90 catches per season in the three years he played all 16 games in. However, Green has missed 10 combined games (including playoffs) over the last three seasons after missing just one game in his first three seasons.
Even so, Green is healthier and more consistent than most NFL receivers, so this shouldn't affect what slot you draft him at, which should be in the late first/early second round range.
But drafting Green in 2017 should be done with a little more caution than previous years. There's a lot of potential for him to not live up to his high draft status due to factors outside of his control. One of those is the offensive line, which could be a mess this year, thus making it harder for Dalton to hook up with Green.
There's also the fact that this offense - specifically the passing game - has the potential to be more balanced than it's ever been. With first-round receiver and top-10 draft pick John Ross joining the fray, this offense could easily be one that moves the ball effectively without Green having big games.
Saying all of this, Green should be drafted in about the same range as he has in previous years. He's still an elite receiver with the potential to take your fantasy team over the top.