Cincinnati Bengals Rumors
The latest NFL news and rumors for the Cincinnati Bengals. Stay up-to-date on Bengals rumors, breaking news, player reports and whispered gossip from around the league.
John Ross Set to Open Season as Bengals WR2
August 5th | 2018
ESPN Bengals reporter James Rapien noted while covering the Bengals training camp recently that second-year wideout John Ross “has consistently lined up outside and Tyler Boyd has lined up in the slot for 99% of if not all of the snaps that they’ve been in.” Rapien also believes that “It seems like Ross will get every opportunity to be the outside WR on the opposite side of Green.”
Ross has had an up-and-down camp so far dealing with drops as another Bengals beat writer, Paul Dehner Jr., noted on Twitter, “John Ross just dropped what would have been a 26-yard touchdown pass. Been the issue dogging him all camp and offseason.”
Ross recently spoke with USA Today’s Cincinnati Enquirer and broke down about how rough his rookie season was:
“He flies through those months in seconds: Starting training camp late due to rehab, being thrown into the third preseason game in Washington, tweaking a knee in the preseason finale and missing the first week of the season and then fumbling on his first touch as a pro against Houston in Week 2.”
“It just started to go downhill from there,” Ross recalled. “I would run, like, across the field and be gassed. Oh, my God. I couldn’t. I just couldn’t hold myself together.”
The Bengals recently released veteran wideout Brandon LaFell which leaves the door wide open for Ross to take on the teams WR2 role, which he has been doing in camp. Ross has drawn praise from a fellow second-year teammate, Joe Mixon, who preached “John (Ross) is going to come along strong in this offense. I could put my life on it.” The Bengals led one of the worst offenses in the league last season. As the WR2 last year, LaFell drew 89 targets and managed only 52 receptions for 548 yards and 3 TDs. Ross is a different breed than LaFell, however. Ross was selected ninth overall in the draft last season and offers the team a serious deep threat as he showed off his speed at last year’s rookie combine with a record-breaking 4.22-second 40-yard dash. Ross has drawn early comparisons to DeSean Jackson from NFL.com’s draft profile and his best comparable player on PlayerProfiler.com is Mike Wallace. If Ross can get his hands to cooperate, his legs will do the rest this season. Ross offers big-game potential worthy of a late-round selection in best ball and deeper redraft leagues. In standard redraft leagues, Ross is likely best left on the waiver wire but he will be a name to keep a close eye on in the preseason and in the early weeks of regular season action.
Tyler Eifert is Back
July 30th | 2018
Less than a week ago, Tyler Eifert was placed on the PUP list to begin camp with a back complaint. A few days later and he has been passed fit to return.
Eifert spent a total of 4 days on the PUP list but on Monday the Bengals announced that both he and halfback Ryan Hewitt had passed their physicals and would return to the practice field. Upon his return, told reporters at camp that he’s feeling great and will be ready to go when the Bengals open their season against the Colts in a months time. His return gives Andy Dalton another solid option across the field and a huge presence in the redzone.
Injury has limited Eifert to just 10 games over the past 2 seasons, but when healthy, he is a touchdown machine and has enormous fantasy upside. In the 2015 season, Eifert broke out for 615 yards on 52 receptions, 13 of those being for a touchdown. Eifert is currently being drafted at an ADP of approximately 115 but has the potential to give fantasy owners high-end TE2 numbers. Anyone taking the chance on him has to be wary of the injury prone tag, and I wouldn’t be drafting him expecting those top numbers.
This also helps Dalton as Eifert’s touchdown prowess can only boost the QB’s numbers in that area. Last season, Cincinnati finished with 25 passing touchdowns, compared to the 31 touchdowns from Eifert’s 2015 season.
Tyler Kroft was trending upwards as a result of yet another injury set back to Eifert, but with this news his stock will obviously suffer. Eifert, Kroft and Hewitt provide the Bengals with a lot of depth and the tight end position and create a bit of a logjam.
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Andy Dalton Key to Bengals Offense
July 25th | 2018
Speaking in a recent interview, Bengals President, Mike Brown, had this to say about his quarterback, Andy Dalton: “Last year was not a good outing for him,” Brown said. “There are a lot of reasons for that. We have tried to address some of those. If he plays the way we know he can I have confidence he can play well. The key, the most important thing,” Brown said, “is how our quarterback plays.”
Director of player personnel, Duke Tobin, shared Brown’s sentiment, “We’re going to win or lose on how Andy plays and how the defense comes together,” Tobin said.
Andy Dalton took a big step backwards last year as the Bengals offense finished as one of the worst in the league. Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Dehner Jr. noted that Dalton’s yards per attempt and completion percentage dipped to the lowest since his rookie season. Dalton has never been considered a top-tier QB for fantasy purposes, but the guy did average 18.8 fantasy points per game as recently as 2015 when he was on pace for a career season before it got cut short due to a broken thumb. Dalton was also on track to finish as a top-10 QB in fantasy that season. While Dalton’s recent downturn in production can’t be ignored, he is still undervalued this season. Dalton has never ranked lower than QB18 in a season according to FantasyPros.com but is currently listed as the QB26 on the Fantasy Pros “Expert Consensus Rankings” and is going completely undrafted in most standard 12-team mock drafts. Dalton is still in the QB2 discussion and could be a bounce-back candidate if the Bengals offense as a whole is able to right the ship.
Joe Mixon Compared to Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy
July 20th | 2018
Joe Mixon was ranked as the 11th best running back in the league, according to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal in his recent running back rankings.
Rosenthal notes “By the end of last season, Mixon was trusting his blocks, finishing runs and popping off the screen as an elusive runner who is sometimes reminiscent of Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy.” Rosenthal also mentioned we could “Blame his (Mixon’s) 3.5 yards-per-carry mark mostly on the offensive line and a youthful desire to turn every run into a highlight.”
Mixon is one of the biggest question marks in the earlier rounds of fantasy drafts based on his disappointing rookie season. There are also plenty who see Gio Bernard as a threat to eat into Mixon’s overall workload this season. Rosenthal comparing Mixon to Bell and McCoy is a huge compliment however given the success the latter two have had in their careers.
It’s also worth noting that Rosenthal ranked Mixon above the likes of Melvin Gordon and Dalvin Cook, who were ranked at 12th and 13th respectively. Mixon wouldn’t have to improve much on the ground, as Gordon has succeeded in fantasy despite his notorious sub 4.0 yards per carry career total. Excessive passing game usage has helped carry Gordon through his career so far, along with a secure role in the red zone.
Mixon will likely be given every opportunity to succeed this season despite the presence of Bernard. High volume with average output is all you need sometimes to be successful for fantasy purposes. Mixon is currently a huge risk/reward pick in the late-second to an early-third round of drafts but he does carry some RB1 appeal.
Suggested Reads: Joe Mixon fantasy Outlook 2018
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