The first six weeks have been rough for the Bengals, and at this point I hope you didn’t invest too highly into any of their players on your fantasy team (speaking as a guy who paid a pretty penny for Joe Mixon in his auction draft).
If there is one positive we can take away as fantasy players who are also Bengals fans, it is that we can just play the people who face Cincinnati. At least then it doesn’t hurt as bad... right?
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars: This isn’t anything new so far this season. Whatever running back is playing the Bengals needs to be in your lineup. Cincinnati gives up 28.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (tied with the Dolphins for most in the NFL), according to Fantasy Pros. Fournette has topped 100 total yards the past three games and aside from one game has had at least four catches a game. He is the safest of plays this week.
Gardner Minshew II, QB, Jaguars: Minshew had a rough outing last week against the Saints, but the Bengals defense isn’t close to that same caliber. The Bengals give up the fourth most points to opposing quarterbacks, and this week they will be without William Jackson III and Dre Kirkpatrick. The only thing that could hold Minshew back is if Jacksonville gets out to a big lead and loses the need to throw the football.
D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars: Remember how I mentioned the Bengals will be without their two starting corner backs? Right, that makes Chark a must play. He has caught a touchdown in four of his six games, and he has been Minshew’s favorite target all season. Since Minshew took over as the full-time starter, Chark has received at least seven targets in four of the five games.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: If we are being honest with ourselves, Boyd is probably one of the only playable Bengals right now. Even with that being true, he is still capable of having games like he did last week where he only caught three passes for 10 yards. The bright side? He still had seven targets, which is his second lowest total of the season and only the second time all year he has had less than 10 in a game. Volume is keeping the Boyd fantasy ship alive.
Dede Westrbook, WR, Jaguars: Westbrook is listed as questionable, so make sure you check his status before the games on Sunday. Westrbook has been right behind Chark in receiving stats for the Jaguars. The major difference being Westbrook only has a single receiving touchdown this season. Against a shorthanded Bengals’ secondary, that could change this week.
Good but not great
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: Mixon has a great matchup on paper, but the reality is this offense hasn’t done a good job of getting Mixon going. Some of that is on him, but the vast majority is bland running plays, and an offfensive line that just can’t win one-on-one battles. Mixon remains to sit firmly in the flex/low end RB2 area in fantasy, which is a huge disappointment for fantasy players who ended up investing a lot into him.
Jaguars defense: Cincinnati hasn’t been a turnover machine, but they do have a habit of giving up plenty of sacks and struggling to score. If all else fails, streaming whatever defense that is playing the Bengals is never a bad bet. They have only reached 20 points twice this season.
Auden Tate, WR, Bengals: Tate had a career game with five catches for 91 yards last week. He is a great flex option this week, and probably for however long A.J. Green stays out. It is hard to trust this offense for much of anything in fantasy, but Tate has had at least six targets a game the past four weeks, and after Boyd, he has become Andy Dalton’s main target.
James O’Shaughnessy, TE, Jaguars: He is a touchdown dependent play, but I would rather play him over any of the Bengals tight ends. O’Shaughnessy has caught touchdowns in two of his past three games.
Just sit them
Bengals’ tight ends: Between Tyler Eifert, C.J. Uzomah and Drew Sample, there just hasn’t been much fantasy relevance. The fact Cincinnati has the three in a weird three man rotation has bottomed out all of their value. It doesn’t help when players like Alex Erickson are getting more snaps than them. Eifert is your touchdown dependent play, but he only has one this season along with a handful of misses in the endzone.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: The only way I’m play Dalton is if you have a quarterback on a bye in a two quarterback league. You can’t convince me there isn’t a better option on your waiver wire. Dalton’s ceiling without Green is not worth the risk with where his floor is.
Bengals defense: Why would you even think of doing this? Do you play in some weird two defense league? Even then I’d rather take the 0 than risk the negative.