Introducing the Weekly Bengals Fantasy Football Aftermath Report! Whether the good guys in the Jungle pulled out the W or not – we take a closer look and who performed and who flopped in your fantasy lineups.
QB Andy Dalton
ESPN Pregame Fantasy Outlook: Dalton is due for some improvement in the touchdown department this season, as he posted the league’s fourth-best touchdown-per-attempt rate in 2015 while finishing just 24th in scoring efficiency last season. That said, Dalton has thrown a touchdown on just 2.9 percent of his passes versus Baltimore over his career, with just 12 scores over 11 career meetings in the regular season. Given the foreboding matchup metrics, Dalton is a risky QB2 option for the season opener.
Predicted: 18.8 Points
Actual: -3 Points ???
Our Grade: F
Notes: Abysmal. Horrid. Embarrassing. Shaky. Pick any 3 of these 4 and you are just starting to describe how Dalton looked in the first game of the year. This game was very reminiscent of the Thursday night game against the Browns, which was one of the worst performances in NFL history. We all know Dalton has a high ceiling, but he just might have the lowest floor of any QB in the NFL. When He’s on, he’s on and when he’s off, it’s like he dove off a cliff into an endless abyss. The Ravens had 5 sacks, a forced fumble, and 8 tackles for a loss. Expect Dalton to keep missing his mark unless this offensive line can get it together.
RB Joe Mixon
ESPN Pregame Fantasy Outlook: How many carries will Mixon get in his pro debut? No really, let us know if you have any idea. Despite being hailed as, arguably, the most complete back in the 2017 Draft, Mixon appears mired in a timeshare for snaps and touches with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard to begin the season. The Ravens surrendered the sixth-fewest rushing and 10th-fewest receiving yards to tailbacks last season, so Mixon is in the flex tier at the position given this blend of usage and matchup concerns.
Predicted: 7.9 Points
Actual: 2.4 Points ?
Our Grade: C
Notes: Joe Mixon got more carries, more targets, and more receptions than any of the other backs in week 1 and he did very little with it. He was the only back from week 1 to not average at least 4.0 yards per carry. This was the rookies first taste against a stout defense and a division rival. I expect his value to go up as the season goes on and he gets used to the pace at the next level. But as with Dalton, the running game can only do so much unless the offensive line can show up.
RB Giovani Bernard
ESPN Pregame Fantasy Outlook: Glowing camp reviews and the fact Bernard was in on half of Andy Dalton’s snaps in Week 3 of the preseason suggests Bernard is likely to resume a busy complementary role that has seen him average 14 touches and nearly 75 yards from scrimmage per game over his career in Cincinnati. These rates bump to 16.8 touches and 76 yards from scrimmage per game against the Ravens (over six career meetings), thus Bernard is a worthy flex option for those struggling to fill the position in deeper formats.
Predicted: 7 Points
Actual: 7.9 Points
Our Grade: B
Notes: Bernard was one of the few bright spots on offense from week 1. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry and had 1 reception for 39 yards and finished the game with 79 yards from scrimmage. This is promising for the 5th year back coming off an ACL injury that ended his season early last year.
WR AJ Green
ESPN Pregame Fantasy Outlook: Before going down with a significant hamstring injury in Week 10 last season, Green had accounted for nearly 38 percent of the Bengals’ receiving yardage — the highest rate in the league at the time — while somehow maintaining a 70 percent catch rate. Which is to say, Green is the rare superstar receiver capable of providing efficiency in the face of an immense workload. Since both meetings were late in the season, Green didn’t face the Ravens in 2016, but he’s a surefire WR1 against a Baltimore defense that ceded the fifth-most catches to receivers last year.
Predicted: 11.3 Points
Actual: 7.4 Points
Our Grade: C
Notes: AJ had 5 receptions for 74 yards on 10 targets. AJ Greens grade and production this week reflect little on his personal performance and more on Dalton’s and the offensive line’s performances. AJ was one good throw away from having a great week, like when he blew by the defender in the Second Quarter but Dalton missed the throw out of bounds. Green is still a top 5 Wide out in this league, expect him to have much better performances throughout the season.
TE Tyler Eifert
ESPN Pregame Fantasy Outlook: A significant portion of Eifert’s fantasy value stems from his ability to convert valuable opportunities near the goal line into touchdowns. Eifert ranks second in the NFL in touchdowns per game on targets within 10 yards of the end zone since 2015. The Ravens surrendered 79 catches to tight ends last season, 13th-most in the league. Heading into the season with no immediate injury concerns, it’s time to fire up Eifert as a high-ceiling TE1.
Predicted: 6.1 Points
Actual: .4 Points ?
Our Grade: D
Notes: Coming back from yet another injury, the one question on everyone’s mind is can Eifert stay healthy the entire season? 1 week down 15 to go. Due to Dalton’s Struggles Eifert was pretty much non-existent. If Eifert can manage to stay healthy, He should have some break out games this season but we’re the Bengals, so who knows what will happen. At this point, Eifert could trip on a twig and break his arm into a million pieces and it wouldn’t surprise. And as with the rest of the offense, we rise and fall with the QB play of Andy Dalton.
DST Bengals Defense
ESPN Pregame Fantasy Outlook: Cincinnati collected three interceptions and allowed just 29 total points in two meetings with the Ravens’ lackluster offense last season. A subpar pass rush (11th-lowest sack rate in 2016) limits the ceiling for this group in fantasy terms, but with a projected low-scoring division battle set to unfold in Week 1, there is at least some streaming value to consider with this D/ST.
Predicted: 8 Points
Actual: 4 Points
Our Grade: B
Notes: All in all our Defense played pretty well. Well enough to win. You take out the drive that started inside the Bengals red zone and this defense only surrendered 13 points. Given how much they were on the field due to 5 Bengals turnovers, that is a miracle. This defensive line has the talent to get after the quarterback. There’s a lot to be excited about on this side of the ball. It’s not a matter of if but when they blow up an offensive line.
K Randy Bullock
ESPN Pregame Fantasy Outlook: Outlook not available.
Predicted: 7.5 Points
Actual: 0 Points ?
Our Grade: —
Notes: He was basically there for moral support. Randy did not attempt to kick a single field goal or extra point in week 1. Five turnovers and a lack luster offense will do that. Randy had no choice but to play water boy for the day and cheer on his teammates from the sidelines. But a good water boy still gets 0 points for Fantasy at the end of the day.
Bengals’ Week 1 Fantasy “Startability”: 14%
All fantasy point scoring is based on Half Point PPR and 4 point passing touchdowns.