Fantasy Football: Which Bengals to draft and which to avoid

Cincinnati Bengals, Tyler Boyd (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals, Tyler Boyd (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals, Drew Sample (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

DON’T DRAFT: Drew Sample or C.J. Uzomah

Tight end hasn’t been the Bengals’ most productive position over the past few years and that shouldn’t change in 2020. With the departure of Tyler Eifert in free agency, Cincinnati’s tight end room looks weaker than it has since before the days of Jermaine Gresham.

Bengals’ tight end Drew Sample was drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but there has not yet been reason to buy into the second-year tight end. He did not have much receiving production in college and failed to see the field in his rookie year. Until we see Sample as a receiver, I wouldn’t touch him with a six-foot pole.

C.J. Uzomah is the other tight end in the Bengals’ likely duo in 2020, but his outlook is not much brighter. Uzomah’s most productive season was 2018, where he put up 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. While even his best season is not very impressive from a fantasy perspective, his numbers dropped even lower in 2019 to 242 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Low talent level at the position aside, head coach Zac Taylor’s offense does not feature the tight ends very heavily. Look at his mentor Sean McVay’s offense as an example. Los Angeles tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee have taken a backseat to the running backs and wide receivers. This same approach should be expected of the Bengals’ offense in 2020.

DRAFT: Cincinnati’s Defense/Special Teams

Defense/Special Teams may not be the most crucial part of a fantasy team, but a D/ST that brings in big points on a weekly basis can make the difference between missing the playoffs and going to the championship.

In 2019, the Bengals had one of the worst defenses in the league. However, in 2020, the unit has been completely overhauled. Free agents D.J. Reader, Vonn Bell, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander will all be key additions to what could be the most improved defense in the league.

Additionally, the Bengals completely revamped their linebacker unit in the draft, a position many considered the weakest on the team. Expect the Cincinnati defense to rack up a lot more sacks and interceptions in 2020.

Finally, the Bengals have a strong group of kick and punt returners. If Brandon Wilson and Darius Phillips get more return opportunities, owners of the Cincinnati D/ST could find themselves cashing in on a few kickoffs and punts returned for touchdowns, possibly giving them a much needed six points in crucial moments.