Regular-season football games are so close you could almost hear the sound of the roaring crowd inside Paul Brown Stadium. That also means that it’s time for fantasy football. Most fantasy football leagues kick off their season with a draft where some owners wisely build championship caliber teams and others create a laughable lineup destined for the league’s basement.
One of the keys to drafting a solid team is to have a good draft, by not reaching for players and by grabbing the best values who fall to you. It’s very tempting to select certain players who are boosted by a hype train or well known name, but ultimately what matters is their statistical production.
We are focusing on three Bengals players who have average draft positions that are lower than their fantasy scoring projections warrant. The projections I use are based on a composite of various sites such as Yahoo and CBSsports. I’m also assuming a 12 team re-draft league with standard scoring.
Dalton projects to be the 12th best fantasy quarterback this year, but is currently being drafted as the seventeenth quarterback. If you see him as your starter, this means you can grab him as a low end starter very cheaply when your opponents are drafting their backups. If you see him as a backup for your fantasy team, this means you can get a very good backup without investing a pick on your QB2 in the top ten rounds.
Dalton has a ton of offensive weapons around him, and if his offensive line can keep him upright long enough to get the ball to them, he could surprise with his passing numbers. Another thing to consider with Dalton is that even though he is not a “running quarterback”, he has 17 rushing touchdowns over the past five years. Those are hidden fantasy points that many people will overlook when drafting.
In fantasy football, defensive touchdowns rule the day for fantasy defenses. Unfortunately those are about as difficult to predict as a lightning strike, and often fantasy players will errantly draft defenses in an attempt to capture last year’s fluky touchdown scores, while ignoring the other, slightly more predictable, aspects of a fantasy defense such as points aginst, turnovers, and sacks.
As far as scoring defense goes, the Bengals have been one of the better scoring defenses in the NFL over the past few years, and with the additions of Kevin Minter, Andrew Billings, William Jackson, Carl Lawson, and Jordan Willis, there is no reason to think this scoring defense will suddenly get worse. And the afore mentioned Lawson and Willis should also have a big impact on sack totals for the Bengals this year – either by acquiring sacks, or keeping opposing quarterbacks from avoiding Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins.
The Bengals defense is going undrafted in many leagues, making them well undervalued.
With the elite A.J. Green on the roster, along with this year’s top 10 pick John Ross, and last year’s second round pick Tyler Boyd, Brandon LaFell isn’t really an exciting option in the minds of many. And that’s totally understandable, as he’s not going to suddenly produce like fellow former LSU Tiger Odell Beckham this year. While it’s easy to overlook LaFell, be careful not to totally forget about the Bengals’ leader in touchdown receptions last season.
LaFell is a veteran and their #2 receiving target this year. He projects to finish as a WR5 this year, which isn’t very enticing. But if you have deep enough benches on your fantasy roster, he will likely outproduce many of the late round receivers taken instead of him.
Which Bengals player will be drafted too late in fantasy leagues this year?
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