The Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock with a final 2-14 record. It was a bad year for the Bengals. They turned to Ryan Finley in a futile attempt to pin their problems on Andy Dalton. Unfortunately, it did not work for them. What about their fantasy football options? Let’s take a look back at a tumultuous 2019 season for the Cincinnati Bengals, and what we should remember about their players in 2020.
What to Remember from the 2019 Cincinnati Bengals Season
- Unfortunately, Cincinnati never planned for this iteration of the wide receiver corps. A.J. Green missed the entire season after being week-to-week for about half of it. The Bengals always had a kernel in their minds that they may get A.J. Green back. That doled out 148 targets to Tyler Boyd. Boyd ended the season as WR22 but succumbed to the weekly vagaries of the offense. He finished with just five games inside the top-30, and eight games outside the top-40. In the end, 39.1% of his half-PPR fantasy points came in just three contests.
- The Bengals thought it a great idea to bench Andy Dalton for rookie Ryan Finley. While Andy Dalton didn’t carry the Bengals offense to glory (19 points per game with him under center)… neither did Finley. The offense, as a whole, was the problem. Finley’s version of the Bengals averaged just 11 points per game. It was a systemic issue, mostly based around a subpar offensive line, and something to file away for Andy Dalton in 2QB leagues in 2020. Especially since he’s likely quarterbacking somewhere else.
- Joe Mixon didn’t have the season make of his acolytes hoped he would have in 2019. The Bengals offensive line was dreadful in 2019, mostly due to injuries and inexperience along the line. According to FootballOutsiders, only three teams had a higher percentage of runs stuffed behind the line of scrimmage than the Bengals. This issue compounded Joe Mixon’s natural tendencies into a major problem for Mixon. I’ll let Chris Harris explain Mixon’s gameplay style, as (1) he already did it and… actually just that. We saw with Joe Mixon what we saw from Le’Veon Bell in New York. A patient running with the stop-start style works well when the line is any good. When the line is terrible, it just turns him into a sitting duck. In other words, the running back successfully stops but never gets the opportunity to start again.
- Before getting hurt in week four and heading to injured reserve, John Ross ranked third in the NFL in receiving yards in the first three weeks of the season. After the first two weeks, he was in first, but he took on the Buffalo defense specifically designed to stop players like John Ross. Once he returned from IR, he did not get a lot of targets (five or fewer targets in three-of-four games), but he had a six-target, 84 yard game against Miami. While injuries sapped his season-long numbers, Ross increased his catch rate by over 15%. Granted, he got it to 50% on the dot, but that means there’s more room to grow.
- 2019 was a tale of two seasons for two injury-prone Bengals receiving options. A.J. Green never played a down after a July “4-6 week” ankle injury spiraled out of control and cost him five months. He wants to return to Cincinnati, and I expect them to work something out. On the flip side, Tyler Eifert played the first full season of his career. Eifert’s sixteen games in 2019 were more than his 2016, 2017, and 2018 campaigns combined. However, it didn’t matter much, as Eifert ended the season with just 43 catches, 436 yards, and three scores. He finished the year as TE20. He turns 30 around the season kickoff in 2020, so maybe he has a couple of decent years in him after injuries wiped out his 20s.
Check out the rest of the What to Remember series as it develops!
(Header Image Source: Andy Dalton on Twitter)