2019 Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup: Cincinnati Bengals

The 2019 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, and it’s time for the next part of the NFL calendar. That’s right… massive, rampant speculation! They will go through drills in shorts, and we will endlessly project and prognosticate on their fantasy football futures. There are 78 guys who might have fantasy football relevance after their names were called in Nashville. Our goal with our Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup series is to give you a quick hit on every one of these guys. By the end, you’ll know these guys better than their mothers know them. Because it’s not like their mothers are necessarily good at fantasy football. 

The Cincinnati Bengals have a new head coach for the first time since before the United States invaded Iraq (the second time). The long-time fecklessness of Marvin Lewis is gone, and the renewed optimism of snagging a coach off the young-but-hopefully-fruitful Sean McVay coaching tree with Zac Taylor. The Bengals offense has some limitations: namely, their offensive line, and their quarterback. They added four guys to their offensive weaponry, but what role will they play in your 2019 fantasy football leagues? 

Round 2, Pick 52 overall – Drew Sample, Tight End, Washington 

After spending a first round pick on a (now injured) left tackle, the Bengals spent their second pick on a blocking-first tight end. He ran extremely few routes in college and had just 25 catchable targets last season. It’s noteworthy that he caught them all, but he came off as a rather lumbering brute when running with the football. He tested well at the combine, but he’s set up to be Tyler Eifert’s backup going into the season. Eifert’s backup is an extraordinarily lucrative fantasy football position to mine, however. The Bengals have traditionally used the tight end as a primary end zone weapon, and we’ve seen Eifert, Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah have fantasy appeal without being exceptional talents.  

However, this is a new offense, so luckily we can see how they will use Eifert for two or three games before he goes out for the season and they switch to Sample. If the Bengals use tight ends as they have in the past, and not as Sean McVay does (read: not at all), then Sample has some traits that show that he could be worthy of consideration if/when (let’s be clear… when) Eifert goes down as a TD-dependent desperation play. Don’t count on him being any sort of league winner, as he is reliant on carving a chunk out of a limited upside offense with two ball-dominant players (A.J. Green and Joe Mixon). 

TALENT 

OPPORTUNITY 

2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK 

Round 4, Pick 104 overall – Ryan Finley, Quarterback, N.C. State 

Ryan Finley has decent touch and accuracy when the pocket is clean, and he doesn’t have to worry about free rushers. The moment that changes, everything goes to pot. He has a solid, but unspectacular arm that provides decent zip on short passes but loses everything when he uncorks a deep one. However, he makes some truly boneheaded decisions with the football. Should he clean those up, his upside is a lankier Kirk Cousins, and he isn’t anything worth worrying about in fantasy football. He has one Rotoworld update since the draft, from The Athletic’s Paul Dehner, after watching Finley in mini-camp. “[He] looks bad.”

Well then. 

TALENT 

OPPORTUNITY 

2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK 

Round 6, Pick 182 overall – Trayveon Williams, Running Back, Texas A&M 

That noise you heard was Giovani Bernard looking into moving services as he realizes that his time with the Bengals is coming to an end. He received a stay of execution due to Mark Walton’s chronic knuckleheadedness that got him kicked off the team, but Trayveon Williams will be younger and cheaper, but mostly the same back as Giovani Bernard, if a bit rough around the edges. He’s a well-rounded back with slightly below average size (but a good build), who blasts through holes but has a limited top gear.  

Williams has limited upside in 2019 due to a crowded backfield behind Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard, but he is worth a stash in deeper keeper leagues and dynasty leagues as he likely takes over the Bernard role in 2020 and beyond. It’s possible that he gets some run at the end of the season so the coaches can see what they have in him, but that doesn’t make him draftable in fantasy football leagues. 

TALENT 

OPPORTUNITY 

2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK 

Round 6, Pick 211 overall – Rodney Anderson, Running Back, Oklahoma 

Anderson is coming off a torn ACL, so I don’t anticipate him hitting the active roster at any time this season. However, before tearing his ACL he was solid, with some great chunk plays on his college résumé. According to Pro Football Focus, one-of-five carries went for 8+ yards in 2018. That is some amazing consistency, but I doubt he makes an impact in 2019 due to the Bengals having the luxury of letting him hit the IR and ride it out until 2020. Before the ACL injury, he was better than Trayveon Williams, so this should make for an interesting camp battle next year. For fantasy football, however, we wait. 

TALENT 

OPPORTUNITY 

2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK 

Like what you see? Looking for more hot content like this? Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup pieces, here!

About Jeff Krisko

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