Every year there is a player who comes out of no where to dominate for your team in fantasy football. But even more often there are players who don’t quite reach expectations. It is hard to guess which guys will fall into which categories, but we can at least discuss who has the best odds of being a bust or sleeper next season on the Bengals’ roster.
From a fantasy perspective, here are the Bengals’ potential busts and sleepers in 2018.
Bust: John Ross, wide receiver
There is an important difference between being a fantasy football bust and an actual football bust. Ross could have a good season, but he still wouldn’t be a good fantasy option. Honestly, unless you play in a Cincinnati league the odds of Ross getting drafted before the the late rounds are pretty slim. You should still try and avoid him though. Why? The situation he will be in is not one that breeds fantasy success. He will have to play second fiddle to A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert (when healthy) for targets. Not to mention the Bengals will give Joe Mixon a ton of carries and touches as well. Unless injuries hit the Bengals hard, Ross just isn’t going to be a viable fantasy option week in and week out. He may have random nice games though, but it won’t come in a reliable way.
Sleeper: Giovani Bernard, running back
Bernard is often the forgotten back. However, he shouldn’t be in fantasy. He should be considered one of the more valuable handcuff running backs considering he will likely play about 30 to 40 percent of the Bengals’ snaps next season.
Two things working in Bernard’s favor are the Bengals’ improved offensive line, and coming into the season healthy. Remember when everyone thought he would have to start off the season on the PUP list because of how late he suffered an ACL injury the season before? He didn’t. Plus, he is really the next in line for receiving almost all of the snaps at running back if Mixon is unable to go for a game. He should be on your roster if you can get him at a good cost, especially for leagues that award points per reception.
Sleeper: Bengals D/ST
The Bengals defense and special teams were not good last season. They didn’t create turnovers and the special teams unit was often just plain bad. Teryl Austin has come in as the new defensive coordinator preaching turnovers, and he has the track record to prove he is bringing change in that aspect. Special teams will also have some interesting talent at the returner position that could yield better results than last year. Like maybe a touchdown or two.
Bust: Tyler Eifert, tight end
This one is a better safe than sorry sort of situation. Eifert is one of the best tight ends when healthy, but at this point we can’t trust him to be healthy. He is so far removed from his 13 touchdown season that nobody knows if he can even replicate that kind of production. There are other young tight ends out there who you can probably get for a similar value who don’t present as high of a ceiling, but can at least be trusted when it comes to their big-picture health. Eifert isn’t even a lock to be ready for training camp after missing nearly all of last season with numerous injury issues that forced him to have surgeries. Yup, plural.
Sleeper: Andy Dalton, quarterback
If you aren’t waiting to draft a quarterback then you are drafting wrong. Should you draft Dalton as your starting quarterback? No, but if you can snag him as a backup to a quarterback who you aren’t sure of, I’d do it in a heart beat. Dalton improved as the season went on last year, and he still ended up with 25 touchdowns.
Now the Bengals upgraded the offensive line, and it looks like the skill positions are in a great spot to take a leap forward. That could mean Dalton is in line for a pretty good fantasy season. I wouldn’t say he finishes top 10, but he could be close. If you can get that type of quarterback in the back half of the draft, it will do wonders for your squad.