The Cincinnati Bengals already have a somewhat deep stable of fantasy football eligible options going into 2018. In the 2018 NFL Draft, they took a couple more. With A.J. Green, Gio Bernard, Joe Mixon, Tyler Eifert and… first round pick (he of one 2017 target) John Ross, it’s questionable whether either of these players will even see the field in 2018. If they do, are they worth picking up in your fantasy football leagues?
Mark Walton, Running Back, Round Four
Gio Bernard is looking over his shoulder and starting to pack his bags for his 2019 departure. Walton will be the designated change-of-pace back for Joe Mixon after this season. He has more jitters than the people who drink the newly recommended eight cups of coffee a day, but he trusts his blocking about as much as I trust the report that you should drink eight cups of coffee in a day. He’s a classic “dancing in the backfield back,” and lacks decisiveness, and went down on too many ankle tackles for the NFL. He’s a good ball catcher out of the backfield, which will likely be his role in the NFL.
As for 2018, he’s third in the depth chart, but given how the Bengals handle running backs, an injury to either Mixon or Gio means double-digit touches for Walton. In PPR, that could be enough for usable production. If you’re in a league deep enough to sit and speculate on a third-in-committee back, go for it. He could be a solid contributor down the stretch in case of injury, but given how Marvin Lewis uses rookies, they would be equally likely to go sign DeMarco Murray Adrian Peterson or something else stupid. Chances are that you end up cutting him before you use him if you draft him this year.
Auden Tate, Wide Receiver, Round Seven
Tate is a large man, landing in the 95th percentile in height & weight, and 92nd percentile in arm length. He’s a big guy, but his 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump were complete trash. Tate is never open, but he can go get it (provided he doesn’t have to jump too high) given his good hands. He’s also unlikely to make anyone miss after he comes down with the ball. He could be a red-zone weapon for Andy Dalton if he makes it onto the field, but his 2018 prospects pretty much end there. There’s a lot of buzz coming out of OTAs about Tate, and Bengals depth chart is a mess, but Marvin Lewis never plays rookies unless he absolutely has to.