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This offense spams very similar passing plays, while using Joe Burrow's strengths as a pre- and post-snap processor with great accuracy. They don't use play action (31st) and checked down a ton last year (29th in aDOT) because defenses were rightfully scared of being mossed downfield by their giants. Despite spreading it around through the air, the Bengals still ranked 5th in short-yardage run success rate. If they can play with more 4th-down aggressiveness and/or get more big play runs (28th), then Cincy could be the highest-scoring offense in 2023.
3-WR Sets (2nd in snaps, 85% of snaps)
WR: Ja'Marr Chase --> Andrei Iosivas (R)
WR: Tee Higgins --> Trenton Irwin
SLOT: Tyler Boyd --> Charlie Jones (R)
TE: Irv Smith --> Drew Sample
RB Usage (6th in expected half PPR)
GOAL LINE: Joe Mixon --> Trayveon Williams
PASSING DOWN: Trayveon Williams --> Joe Mixon
Offensive Line (slightly below average)
LT: Orlando Brown (new average starter)
LG: Cordell Volson (mid returning starter)
C: Ted Karras (average returning starter)
RG: Alex Cappa (mid returning starter)
RT: Jonah Williams (mid, switching from LT)
Nothing has really changed with Joe Burrow's projection. He's been the 52nd and 35th overall player in fantasy points over replacement per game using Underdog Fantasy's scoring system since his ACL tear. Last year his rushing stats rebounded, going from 7.4 to 16.4 rushing yards per game and 2 to 5 rushing TDs. He's also accounted for 8% of all the 30+ fantasy point games at QB over the last two years, so there's a weekly ceiling to chase in addition to his layup-line floor. His interior OL all return, and the hope is that new LT Orlando Brown is an upgrade on Jonah Williams, who is penciled in to move to RT. It's at best an average OL but much better than his rookie year OL.
Ja'Marr Chase is only 23 years old, and he's already finished as the WR3 and WR5 in fantasy points over replacement per game on 87.5 yards per game. Chase missed some time last year, but he WRs in expected TDs per game where he was pacing for 11.6 scores on the year. Silly stuff... Tee Higgins is 24 years old and has finished 34th and 37th overall with Burrow. It's a shame he's a Round 2 selection because I'd like to draft Higgins more, but it's one round earlier than where he's been valued at for all three of his seasons... Tyler Boyd has been more efficient (9.0 YPT) over the last two years while operating as a clear No. 3 receiver, but his volume is certainly down, bottoming at 3.6 catches per game last year. Boyd finished 119th and 131st overall since Chase showed up, so he's a slight loss draft pick with two paths to contingent upside. This is a contract year for the nearly 29-year-old slot receiver.
The Bengals don't have a reason to throw to their TEs often. Hayden Hurst was the 218th overall player last year. C.J. Uzomah was 124th the year prior to that while scoring five times. Offseason signee Irv Smith is probably worse than both of them, evidenced by his $1.7M one-year contract. He doesn't have the size (6'2/242) to be an every down option either, so expect Drew Sample to mix in. I'm surprised Smith is the TE17 in ADP. I don't get it.
Joe Mixon dodged a release all offseason. He also decreased his snap competition after the Bengals only added 23-year-old 5th rounder Chase Brown (not a great prospect) to fill in for Samaje Perine, who had 4.9 expected scores and 51 targets as Mixon's complement last year. Mixon didn't rip off big plays last year and finished with 3.9 fewer TDs than he should've scored on his usage (it was his worst efficiency season), yet was the RB9 and 21st overall player in fantasy points over replacement per game. The snap share bros hate that Mixon doesn't play on obvious passing downs (which could change this year because of RB depth), yet fail to acknowledge how involved he is as a receiver on early down. Mixon set career highs in targets (75) and receptions (60) in 2022. He's a smash pick in Round 5... Brown is being drafted ahead of Trayveon Williams, who I think will be Mixon's insurance and passing down complement. Williams re-signed for just $1.0M without guarantees (problematic), but the leadership group likes his versatility. He was an SEC bellcow and has a career 4.2 yards after contact and elite 128.9 PFF elusiveness rating on 47 NFL carries, but just couldn't beat out Perine for the last few years. Chris Evans will likely stay in his special teams role.
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WR2 Ja'Marr Chase (2.1 overall) --> Buying
WR14 Tee Higgins (22.4) --> Fading
QB5 Joe Burrow (46.3) --> Buying
RB17 Joe Mixon (53.5) --> BUYING
WR52 Tyler Boyd (109.0) --> Buying
TE17 Irv Smith (150.7) --> Only in stacks
RB56 Chase Brown (181.4) --> Fading
RB75 Trayveon Williams (215.2) --> BUYING