As the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Los Angeles Chargers this weekend, they’ll have plenty of players with major fantasy football implications.
More so than ever, the Cincinnati Bengals possess a roster that is packed with big-time fantasy football contributors. A promising rookie quarterback, star running back, and exciting cast of wide receivers puts the club in a position to capture the attention of the landscape. As you set your lineups, here are the players you should include among your starters and those you should leave on the bench.
QB Joe Burrow- Sit
Last year, Kyler Murray finished top-10 in scoring. Joe Burrow certainly has the same kind of upside and the array of weapons surrounding him should help him piece together a performance similar to his fellow first overall pick.
However, if you have the luxury of starting a more established quarterback this week, do it. The Chargers’ secondary is no joke and they also possess a deadly pass-rushing duo that will be going up against a suspect Bengals’ offensive line.
Not to mention, Burrow is coming off an unprecedented offseason with no preseason games. For the timing being, there are safer options.
WR A.J. Green- Sit
Starting A.J. Green week one is a gamble, but if you even drafted him in the first place you’re probably already playing a risky style. In that sense, it’s hard to keep him out of the starting lineup.
Still, Green hasn’t played in a year and a half and he missed much of the preseason with a hamstring issue. Plus, there’s a good chance he’ll be on a pitch count as he makes his way back into the full speed of things.
Much like Burrow, if you have the luxury to wait and see how things play out for him in week one, it’s safer to do so.
WR Tyler Boyd- Start
As previously mentioned, Los Angeles wields a pair of scary defensive ends in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. That, in combination with the state of the offensive trenches in Cincinnati, makes it safe to assume that the gameplan will involve getting the ball out of Burrow’s hands quickly.
Tyler Boyd’s playing style is perfect for that kind of offense. His quick, crisp movement in short to intermediate routes should allow him to get plenty of targets.
Further solidifying his status as a starter is the rapport he built with Burrow throughout training camp. The two connected often and Boyd arguably turned into the rookie signal-caller’s favorite target.
RB Joe Mixon- Start
As the saying goes, a young quarterback’s best friend is the run game. The Bengals have the ability to turn that phrase into a reality as Burrow attempts to complete his transition to the NFL.
Joe Mixon should get plenty of carries to help ease some of the pressure off of his new QB. After all, Cincinnati just paid him $48M to be the bell-cow running back for them.
There have also been indicators all offseason that the offensive coaching staff is planning on getting him more involved in the passing game this year, an aspect he excelled in during his collegiate days. Starting Mixon is a no-brainer.
Bengals D/ST- Start
Tyrod Taylor is a respectable option at quarterback but he likely won’t light up the scoreboard come Sunday. In his last full season starting for Buffalo, he averaged 186.6 passing yards per game and just under a touchdown per contest.
Combine those stats with the fact that a number of Taylor’s offensive linemen are questionable, along with one of the Chargers’ top receiving threats, Mike Williams, and there’s enough evidence to suggest Cincinnati’s defense could have a strong showing week one.
To top it off, the Bengals have a number of exciting kick-off/punt returners in Darius Phillips, Alex Erickson, and Brandon Wilson.
Bengals Fantasy Football: Start/Sit week one
WR John Ross- Consider starting in a deep league
John Ross exploded in last year’s season opener for two touchdowns and 158 receiving yards. It was evident that Zac Taylor had specifically game-planned for the speedy wideout and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do so again this year.
Ross is known as more of a deep threat but he has developed quite the knack for making plays in the red-zone as well. In 2018, he led the team in red-zone targets and found pay dirt five times when the ball came his way inside the 20.
If you’re in a deep league or are thin at wide receiver, Ross is a sneaky target that could wind up scoring big points.
WR Tee Higgins- Sit
Although Higgins should see plenty of playing time in his debut, there are just too many other options for the offense to turn to. There are safer routes to go and until Higgins emerges as one of Burrow’s favorite weapons, he should stay on the bench.
WR Auden Tate- Sit
Auden Tate really connected with Burrow throughout training camp, making a number of spectacular catches as the weeks passed. Rest assured, Tate will get his opportunities against the Chargers.
However, it’s hard to justify starting him unless you’re really in a pinch. There are too many other receivers out there that will receive more targets, making them a safer bet. Tate could have a handful of games where he comes up big in fantasy this year, it just comes down to predicting which games they’ll be.
TE C.J. Uzomah- Sit
Last year, Zac Taylor didn’t utilize his tight ends in the passing game much and there’s been no indication he’ll change that moving forward.
RB Giovani Bernard- Sit
Giovani Bernard has been underutilized for the past several seasons and with Mixon snagging a massive contract extension, it’s difficult to believe Bernard will see enough of the field to justify putting him in the starting lineup.