2024 Fantasy Football Overvalued, Undervalued & Sleeper: Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are a team in transition. They moved on from stalwarts Tyler Boyd (WR) and Joe Mixon (RB). It appears as though they are also on the verge of losing Tee Higgins, as he begrudgingly signed his one-year tender in June, and a Ja’Marr Chase contract looms on the horizon. With this team in transition, there are some significant mismatches in terms of value and likely fantasy football production. Let’s dive into the Cincinnati Bengals whose opportunities and price don’t quite match up this draft season.

Overvalued: Zack Moss, Running Back (RB28, Pick 88 Overall)

I am going to put this as gently as I can: there is nothing in Zack Moss’s history that indicates that he is anything but a roster clogger. Last year’s RB28 finish (12.1 PPR points per game) was the highest of his career last season with Indianapolis, and that was on the back of scoring seven touchdowns. He really doesn’t do anything difference-making as a running back, ranking 40th or worst in yards created per touch in three of his four seasons in the NFL, and peaking at 26th in breakaway run rate. He also doesn’t catch passes, getting just 75 targets across his four-year career. He just flat out is a league-average running back, and is more of a roster clog than anything else in fantasy football drafts. You can take Moss or take a shot on Raheem Mostert, who is one of the fastest men in the NFL & who scored 20 touchdowns last season. Sort of feels like an easy answer, to me.

Undervalued: Chase Brown, Running Back (RB37, Pick 115 Overall)

With so much of the Bengals’ passing game in flux, Chase Brown provides a bit of stability. While he toiled in Joe Mixon’s shadow last season, Brown should provide a lot more value in 2024 with Zack Moss blotting out a much smaller portion of the sun. Brown’s best trait is as a pass catcher, where he would be the better of the two between he and Moss. Every year, pass catching backs turn out to be some of the best return on investment in fantasy football thanks to targets being roughly 2.5x as valuable as rushing attempts. While Brown is a bit pricy for what he could return, I struggle to find another player on this roster that could fill the pass catching back role for the Bengals other than Brown.

Sleeper: Jermaine Burton, Wide Receiver (WR76, Pick 184 Overall)

Burton is a lot of fun to watch, as he is so quick on his breaks in and out of routes that even the best defensive backs can’t help but lose a step on him. He didn’t run a ton of routes at Georgia, but he was able to get open at all three levels. Unfortunately, his quick breaks out of his stems come at the expense of technician footwork, though it doesn’t seem to matter. He isn’t the fastest guy, though he’s still very fast (4.45 40-yard dash), which didn’t come into play on most routes, but it did make him susceptible to failure on 9 routes, where defensive backs could keep up with him unless he varied the cadence of his route. His best traits, however, are his hands. He has automatic paws, and he pairs them with the ability to catch the ball through contact, with tacklers bouncing right off of him at the point of the catch. Unfortunately, he struggles with YAC, though a lot of that comes with the fact that he was tasked with making so many crazy catches at Georgia.

2023 was a disaster for the Bengals thanks to the myriad of Joe Burrow injuries, but back in 2021 and 2022, when the Bengals were humming with three receivers, Tyler Boyd (as the WR3) averaged 110 targets, 74 receptions, 1060 yards, and 6.5 touchdowns between the two seasons. If the Bengals are humming, then Jermaine Burton will be a part of it. They took him with a day two pick to ensure a continuation of the Tyler Boyd role, and I firmly believe that they see Burton as that this year, with him blossoming into a Tee Higgins volume in the near future.

Every year, about 20% of the receivers taken in the first two days end up inside the top-36 at the position. They don’t always work out well for the whole season, but they put enough good games together to make you happy that you took them in your fantasy football leagues. I believe that Burton will be in that 20% this year, and you can get him very late in your fantasy football drafts. He’s WR76 off the board, and is someone that I want to take a late-round dart throw on in deeper leagues. In 10-team leagues, you can just keep an eye on him, but he has a great chance of finishing as a core part of your roster thanks to his impending volume.

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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