Cincinnati Bengals 2021 Fantasy Preview

Cincinnati Bengals

2020 Record: 4-11-1

2021 Over/Under: o/u 6.5

2021 Divison Odds : +1200

2021 Super Bowl Odds: +10000

As you prepare for the fantasy season, whether it be your home league, a big money squad or with us at Champions Round, we want you to be as prepared as possible heading into the season. And most of all we want to see you win! 

The Cincinnati Bengals come into the 2021 season without expectations of winning a ton of games, but with a ton of hype offensively and in fantasy football. Joe Burrow is back healthy, the offensive line is revamped and they have one of the youngest and most dynamic groups of wide receivers in the NFL. 

The Bengals defense should again be one of the worst units in the league, but thus far through training camp reports say that the defense is outplaying the offense. That is either a really good sign for the defense or a pretty alarming pattern for the offense. 

So what should we expect from the Bengals this season? In theory this should be a fairly dynamic offense, led by Burrow, Joe Mixon and the trio of Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and rookie Ja’Marr Chase. I don’t foresee the Bengals winning more than 7 games, but they could be involved in some of the most exciting games of the year.

Champions Round “JUICE” Projections

2021 Expected Record: 7-10

2021 Expected Points Per Game: 23.3

2021 Expected Points Allowed Per Game: 26.6

QB

Joe Burrow - Rank: QB12

JUICE Projections: 433-656 Passing, 66% Completion, 4633 Passing Yds., 26 TD, 11 INT; 252 Rushing Yds, 2 Rush TD

Burrow was off to a very productive rookie campaign before tearing his ACL. The former Heisman winner is shaking off the rust from the knee injury and has reportedly had a poor camp thus far. That is somewhat to be expected from a young player recovering from a major knee injury. I expect Burrow to still be productive this season, though maybe not as productive as I had previously thought. Regardless, Burrow is going to playing from behind a lot, which is good for your fantasy teams. If you choose to punt on QB early in drafts, Burrow is the perfect late round QB to select. 

RB

Joe Mixon - Rank: RB7

JUICE Projections: 275 carries, 1155 Rushing Yds, 11 Rush TD; 51 receptions, 342 Receiving Yds, 3 Rec. TD

I may be higher than Mixon than anyone in the industry. First of all, he has almost no competition in the backfield and should dominate in terms of volume on the ground and through the air. Even if Mixon isn’t the most efficient running back on a yards per play average, he is a volume machine when healthy and the Bengals are going to feed him. And it’s not like he’s Eddy Lacy, either. The guy can fly when he gets into the open field and is very productive in the red zone. Mixon is definitely a first round pick in redraft leagues.

WR

Tee Higgins - Rank: WR13

JUICE Projections: 85 receptions, 1090 Receiving Yds, 9 Rec. TD

If I had to pick one Bengals receiver to draft in re-draft leagues it would be Higgins, followed closely by Boyd. Higgins was a monster towards the end of the last season, even without Burrow, and proved he can be a top flight WR in the NFL. Sure, there’s some concern that Higgins’ touches will be cut due to Chase’s presence. But I’m not too worried. Think of Higgins and Chase like Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb in 2020. Cooper was still an elite receiver, especially with Dak at QB. They’re both going to see a ton of targets.

Ja’Marr Chase - Rank: WR21

JUICE Projections: 86 receptions, 1038 Receiving Yds, 7 Rec. TD

I am incredibly high on Chase, especially in dynasty and best ball leagues. He was the best receiver I’ve seen in college football since Julio Jones. He dominated the SEC and is back with his former QB. However, word on the street is that Chase is struggling adjusting to the NFL game during camp. Remember, Chase sat out the 2020 college football season. It could just be rust. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chase get off to a slow start and then explode at some point during the middle of the season. But don’t expect a Justin Jefferson type season in Year 1 for Chase.

Tyler Boyd - Rank: WR44

JUICE Projections: 72 receptions, 772 Receiving Yds, 3 Rec. TD

Boyd is a great value in fantasy leagues this season. Most players in your leagues will assume that Boyd’s targets will be cut due to Chase’s presence and Higgin’s status as the top guy. I don’t think so. Boyd should still see a ton of volume in this offense, similar to the role Michael Gallup has in Dallas and JuJu Smith-Schuster has in Pittsburgh. Buy!

Auden Tate - Rank: TE108

JUICE Projections: 29 receptions, 331 Receiving Yds, 1 Rec. TD

I only mention Tate in this article because 1. He’s been reportedly tearing up training camp and 2. If someone gets hurt from the trio above, Tate could have a big role. In deeper leagues and best ball, he could be a valuable flyer.

TE

CJ Uzomah - Rank: TE36

JUICE Projections: 29 receptions, 316 Receiving Yds, 2 Rec. TD

Drew Sample - Rank: TE50

JUICE Projections: 23 receptions, 225 Receiving Yds, 1 Rec. TD

Will we see a breakout at Tight End for one of the Bengals? I don’t see it given the above receivers. However, Uzomah was productive when healthy last season. Perhaps he could have a decent season, but I wouldn’t be buying any stock here.

TL;DR 2021 Cincinnati Bengals

  • Joe Mixon has top 5 fantasy upside at RB
  • Tee Higgins over Ja’Marr Chase, but Chase will be great in second half of season
  • Look out for Auden Tate
  • Don’t be surprised if Burrow gets off to a slow start

Thanks for reading and good luck in your drafts! Next Up: the Cleveland Browns!