In Dynasty, there are certain players that tend to hold more uncertainty, or are more divisive than others. The Dynasty Outlook series takes a deeper dive into those players that the RotoHeat community noted as the guys they are most interested in hearing about. We will look on a player-by-player basis at their immediate outlook, future outlook, and current value. Engage with 1,300+ passionate dynasty players and let the RotoHeat content team know what topics YOU want to hear about by visiting our RotoHeat Facebook page.
While the Cincinnati Bengals may or may not be a good football team in 2020, they do have quite a few intriguing pieces for fantasy football that could be mainstays in for the foreseeable future.
Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, A.J. Green, & Tyler Boyd
Each of the aforementioned players figure to be fantasy relevant next season, and most likely will be impactful players for a number of years. Let’s take a closer look at each of these players and see what type of production we may expect in 2020.
At this point, Burrow is more of a projection than anything else seeing as he has never played a snap in the NFL. However, most football fans are familiar with the historic production from his Senior season at LSU, and Burrow is widely expected to be selected #1 overall by the Bengals in the NFL Draft in April. While Andy Dalton is still on the roster as of this writing, it is expected that the Bengals will move on and hand the keys to Burrow from Day 1. According to NFL Research, Burrow compiled an 11-1 record with 320+ yards and 32-4 TD:INT ratio against top-10 teams in his career, and PFF credited him with 60.2% adjusted completion percentage on deep balls. Burrow should get an opportunity to shine, but expectations should be tempered as a rookie, especially with a potentially shortened offseason due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mixon may be one of the top-3-5 running backs in the NFL talent-wise, and his first few seasons in Cincinnati have been outstanding, all things considered. After back to back 1,100+ yard rushing totals in 2018 and 2019, Mixon may be poised for an even greater breakout in 2020. Running behind the 26th ranked run blocking offensive line in 2019 according to Football Outsiders, Mixon should see some better blocking with the return of 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams, as well as the assumed addition of another offensive line starter from the 2020 NFL Draft. Mixon averaged over 111 rushing yards in games where he saw at least 17 rushing attempts, a threshold he met in 8 of his last 9 games in 2019. Assuming Mixon keeps his bellcow role in the Bengals offense, I expect him to continue to produce top-12 fantasy running back stats, with potential to crack the top-5.
Coming off a completely lost season, Green enters 2020 as a bit of a mystery. A.J. will be 32-years old when the 2020 NFL season kicks off, and will have missed his last 20 games due to lower-leg injuries. When healthy, Green has shown his ability to be an alpha receiver, averaging over 1,200 yards in seasons where he has played at least 13 games. Unfortunately, that has not occurred since the 2017 season, which feels like decades ago. IF Green can stay relatively healthy in 2020, he will be playing with potentially the best quarterback he has ever had in the NFL and should resume his alpha role in that offense.
A beneficiary of a third-year breakout, Boyd was given an extension prior to the 2019 season and for the second straight season, was able to have success as the focal point of an A.J. Green-less passing offense. Having now notched back to back 1,000 yard seasons and averaged 83 catches in those seasons, Boyd should benefit from an improved offense overall and the hopeful return of Green to pull defenses away. I expect Boyd to continue to be a chain mover and reliable mid-low fantasy WR2.
Cincinnati Bengals Fantasy Assets – Beyond 2020
Unless you are playing in Super Flex leagues, Joe Mixon is by far the most valuable fantasy asset on the Bengals, beyond 2020. I currently have him under the Christian McCaffery, Saquon Barkley, and Ezekiel Elliott tier of fantasy running backs, but expect him to remain in the 4-7 range of my rankings for the next few years. With an improved offensive line, a developing, talented quarterback, and bell cow usage, Mixon is poised to be a fantasy stud for the next few years. One thing to watch may be his contract situation, as he is entering the final season of his rookie contract and may be looking for an extension. That could lead to a holdout, as well as a change of scenery beyond 2020.
Joe Burrow is an extremely intriguing fantasy asset, as he appears to be the real deal and is entering a situation where he should be surrounded by some talent. If he continues to excel at the next level as we saw at LSU, he could become a mainstay in the top-7 of quarterback rankings. The only concerns one may have for his future are his age (he will be 24 by the end of his rookie season) as well as his explosion as a Senior being mainly tied towards the creativeness of Joe Brady’s offense. If coach Zac Taylor and company cannot utilize Burrow’s skills to the fullest extent, A.J. Green appears to be washed, and Mixon leaves in Free Agency, all of a sudden a team flush with weapons could be looking at a reset on their rebuild.
A.J. Green has the most uncertainty beyond 2020, and is the one I am least confident in providing fantasy relevant stats in years to come. The lower-leg injuries he has suffered late in his career and the sheer amount of games he has been forced to miss are extremely concerning. Since Green wins with his route running, size, and IQ, he could be a player that ages gracefully and doesn’t show diminished skills until much later in his career. However, that is not a risk I am willing to take.
Tyler Boyd has been everything the Bengals have needed the last two seasons, with AJG missing a majority of that time. While I believe Boyd is better suited as the #2 option in an offense working out of the slot, he has shown the ability to carry #1 wide receiver duties if called upon. Tethered to a young quarterback in a familiar situation, Boyd looks to be a safe fantasy option for the foreseeable future and a consistent fantasy producer as he enters his prime.
Other than A.J. Green, each of these Bengals fantasy assets appear to be on the upswing in value. You would be hardpressed to pry Mixon away from the current owner without paying a hefty price, but he is a player I would be looking to pivot to if you own Zeke perhaps. We have seen the quick downfall of Todd Gurley and to a lesser extent, Melvin Gordon, and Elliott could be just behind them based on his career workload and current contract. If you can send him in a trade and receive Mixon +, that would be a great move to consider.
Burrow will widely be viewed as the 1.01 or 1.02 in Super Flex rookie drafts, and a popular second round rookie selected in 1 QB leagues. If interested in acquiring, the smart play may be to wait until during his rookie season, where he most likely will be experiencing some rough patches especially if the offseason program is cut considerably short.
For me, Tyler Boyd is firmly in the WR-20ish range in my dynasty rankings and as I mentioned before, a good fantasy WR2 option. Depending on owner preference, you may be able to trade Lockett for Boyd + and get younger in the process. I would be willing to take him around the Jarvis Landry’s and Calvin Ridley’s of the world in startup drafts.
If I am a contender, A.J. Green would be a great add this offseason in hopes he can remain healthy for the majority of the 2020 season and return solid fantasy production. If he happens to return fantasy WR2 numbers and can be had at WR3 prices, you will be happy you made the trade. I would be willing to part with a 2020 2nd round pick if I am a contender, and if I am an owner not contending I would also sell for an early second round pick in this deep rookie class.
The Cincinnati Bengals 2020 Dynasty Outlook is somewhat promising, which may surprise you considering the state of the team. However, even ‘bad’ real life teams can churn out valuable fantasy assets, and the Bengals are a prime example.