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Bengals Bytes (8/18): Fantasy threat

Tyler Eifert could be one of the best tight ends to own in fantasy again. The odds makers aren’t fans of the Bengals reaching the postseason. Joe Thomas tries to name all the quarterbacks he has protected.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Training Camp Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Cox fits Bengals formula drafted or undrafted
The media went gaga over first-round pick John Ross staying after practice to throw with quarterback Andy Dalton during training camp and with good reason. That’s a lot of star power putting in some overtime in an offensive league. But what if a rookie defensive player did it? Better yet, what if a rookie safety did it? Better still, what if an undrafted rookie safety did it?

Ken Anderson and Chad Johnson Among Legends to be Honored at Ravens and Texans Games
The Bengals regular season kicks off with back-to-back home games for the first time since 1983. Fifth Third Bank will make “Opening Week” a Fifth Third better with giveaways at both games. 10,000 fans at the Ravens game will receive an exclusive Bengals 50th season hat courtesy of Fifth Third Bank. Additionally, Fifth Third Bank will give orange rally towels with the 50th season logo to all fans at the Texans game as they enter the gates, while supplies last.

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert could have high fantasy value
Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert shows no signs of the two injuries that kept him out of eight games last year and lingered through June. The ankle he injured in the Pro Bowl following the 2015 season has healed, as well as a back injury that required surgery in December. Eifert looks like an new man.

Nickerson making own name with Bengals
One of the first linebackers off the Cincinnati Bengals bench in last week’s preseason opener against Tampa Bay was No. 56, beneath a “Nickerson” nameplate. Hardy Nickerson, Sr., wore that number for the Buccaneers for seven seasons from 1993-99, going to five Pro Bowls and being named All-Pro twice. Last Friday the number and jersey were that of his son, Hardy, Jr., who played 22 snaps on defense, third most among linebackers, and 12 on special teams, second most on the team.

Is this the team Bengals fans have been waiting for?
Of course, it’s way too early for predictions of the Super Bowl. But, looking at the makeup of this year’s version of the Bengals, one can make a valid argument for why they could be in Minneapolis come February 4. The moves made in free agency were minimal. Yet, the draft was one that caught fans and experts by surprise. The Bengals were able to snag quality players that will make an immediate impact and–quite possibly–make them an instant contender.

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Kroft showing improved hands
If you’re handicapping Cincinnati Bengals superlatives, there are some obvious favorites for MVP (A.J. Green), Rookie of the Year (John Ross or Joe Mixon) and Comeback Player of the Year (Giovani Bernard). But the leading candidate for Most Improved might come as somewhat of surprise. Tight end Tyler Kroft turned in several strong practices during training camp, flashing some impressive hands with some difficult catches, especially in the red zone.

Oddsmakers aren’t confident in Bengals, Browns postseason chance
Sports Betting Dime considers the Bengals and Browns non-contenders. The site gives the Bengals 3/1 odds to reach the postseason, while the Browns are 5/1. The only team with worse odds than Cleveland is the New York Jets. The Jets, at 49/1, are considered about the biggest playoff longshot in recent NFL history by most pundits.

AFC North Bytes

No timetable for Kevin Colbert contract extension, Art Rooney II says
Steelers president Art Rooney II said there is no timetable to sign general manager Kevin Colbert to a contract extension, similar to what the Steelers did last week with coach Mike Tomlin. In the past, Colbert has been given an extension shortly after the team extended Tomlin.

Joe Thomas Attempts to Name All 18 Browns Quarterbacks He's Protected
The Cleveland Browns have started 18 quarterbacks since selecting left tackle Joe Thomas in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft. Thomas can name all of them if you give him time. While filming a segment for ESPN's E:60, the 32-year-old, who will likely be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at some point, was asked if he remembers all the quarterbacks who have started for the Browns since his rookie campaign.

Random Bytes

Aaron Donald Holdout Reportedly Could Last into Regular Season
When the Los Angeles Rams open the 2017 season on Sep. 10 against the Indianapolis Colts, it's possible defensive tackle Aaron Donald won't be with the team as he continues to hold out for a new contract. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Donald and the Rams are "not particularly close to a deal" and his "holdout is threatening to last into the regular season."

Sean Smith Reportedly Arrested on Assault Charges from 4th of July Incident
Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith was reportedly arrested Thursday and charged with felony assault stemming from allegations that he was involved in a physical altercation with his sister's boyfriend July 4. He later posted $80,000 bond and was released from custody, per NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair.

NFL Preseason Week 2 Roundup: The NFL Continues to Have a Big QB Problem
Eventually the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to be smacked too many times in the face by a hard truth: Blake Bortles isn't a starting-caliber NFL quarterback. Maybe he'll be a fine backup somewhere, and someday. Or maybe that place should be Jacksonville, and the time should be now.