2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: It's now or never for Andy Dalton and the Bengals

After 16 years and no playoff wins, Marvin Lewis is out in Cincinnati, replaced by 35-year-old first-time head coach Zac Taylor. The Bengals still have plenty of skill position talent, and their fourth-round pick of QB Ryan Finley might indicate it's make-or-break time for Andy Dalton to help this offense reach its potential.  

2018 Review

Record: 6 - 10 (22nd in NFL)
PPG: 23.0 (17)
YPG: 310.8 (26)
Pass YPG: 205.6 (24)
Rush YPG: 105.1 (21)
PAPG: 33.9 (18)
RAPG: 22.4 (26)

2018 Fantasy finishes

QB: Andy Dalton - QB24
RB: Joe Mixon - RB10; Giovani Bernard - RB52
WR: Tyler Boyd - WR15; A.J. Green - WR44; John Ross - WR86
TE: C.J. Uzomah - TE18

Number to know: 23.8

The average amount of running back carries in games where Taylor called plays in the pros and college. He fancied using multiple running backs in previous stops but has a do-it-all stud in Joe Mixon. Pair this tendency with an improved offensive line and a dangerous receiving corps that will keep defenses from crowding the line of scrimmage, and Mixon is in line for a very good season. 

2019 Offseason

"We feel like this offense starts with the ground game. If we can establish the running game, and the play-actions and the movements, and the screens and build off of that ... that's really where our success is going to come from. Andy (Dalton) has full control of this offense, he's done a great job buying in, understanding it and getting the younger guys up to speed. So, we really feel like he's a perfect fit for what we want to do on offense and he's going to do a great job managing it for us." - Zac Taylor

Head Coach: Zac Taylor (1st year - previously QB Coach, LAR)
Offensive Coordinator: Brian Callahan (1st year - previously QB Coach, OAK)    

Draft Picks 

1. (11) Jonah Williams, G
2. (52) Drew Sample, TE
3. (72) Germaine Pratt, LB
4. (104) Ryan Finley, QB
4. (125) Renell Wren, DT
4. (136) Michael Jordan, G
6. (182) Trayveon Williams, RB
6. (210) Deshaun Davis, LB
6. (211) Rodney Anderson, RB
7. (223) Jordan Brown, CB

Additions

OL John Miller, DL Kerry Wynn, DB B.W. Webb

Key Departures

QB Tom Savage, TE Tyler Kroft, OL Cedric Ogbuehi, DL Michael Johnson, LB Vontaze Burfict

Rankings and Projections

Player
Andy DaltonQB26QB22QB22
Joe MixonRB7RB7RB8
A.J. GreenWR10WR10WR10
Tyler BoydWR24WR21WR19
Tyler EifertTE26TE22N/A
Randy BullockK25K23K24
Bengals DSTDST28DST23DST30
 
Heath Cummings' projected offensive stats
QBAndy Dalton3,905 YD, 28 TD, 15 INT
RBJoe Mixon294 ATT, 1,264 YD, 9 TD; 66 TAR, 53 REC, 422 YD, 2 TD
RBGiovani Bernard34 ATT, 134 YD, 1 TD; 39 TAR, 28 REC, 208 YD
WRA.J. Green138 TAR, 81 REC, 1,209 YD, 8 TD
WRTyler Boyd121 TAR, 83 REC, 1,019 YD, 6 TD
WRJohn Ross61 TAR, 27 REC, 272 YD, 4 TD
TEC.J. Uzomah72 TAR, 47 REC, 467 YD, 4 TD

Biggest Question

Can Tyler Boyd replicate his numbers from 2018?  

Boyd played his best ball when defenses were focused on containing A.J. Green, leaving him free in the slot. It's unlikely defenses will change their plans, and it's very likely Boyd sticks in the slot under new coach Zac Taylor. The key here is Taylor's history in offenses that prioritize slot receivers. He had a tall one in Los Angeles (Cooper Kupp), a productive one in Miami (Jarvis Landry), and even utilized one heavily at the University of Cincinnati (Nate Cole). This tendency combined with Boyd's established success should make him a worthy Round 5 pick in PPR drafts.

One sleeper, one breakout, and one bust

Sleeper: Andy Dalton

Anyone who subscribes to streaming quarterbacks or is looking for a No. 2 passer should check Dalton out. He had 20-plus Fantasy points in half of his first eight games last year and 18-plus in six of eight. That's when he had A.J. Green on the field and Tyler Boyd emerging -- and it was in a basic version of the offense and a bad offensive line. With those issues fixed, Dalton could see his numbers climb. 

Breakout: Joe Mixon

This is to suggest Mixon will have a career year -- double-digit touchdowns and over 1,500 yards. He was close to that level last year, so what's changed? The offense should be ushered into the new century with new playcaller Zac Taylor, who was influenced by guys like Sean McVay. That should lead to a lot of touches. The offensive line has been bolstered, and even if the Bengals play from behind, Mixon should find numbers as a pass-catcher. He should go in Round 2, but if you end up taking him with a first-round pick, he'll make it worth your while.

Bust: Tyler Eifert

If you were expecting some words on why A.J. Green or Tyler Boyd will disappoint you, sorry. The new offense fits them well. But the new offense doesn't fit Eifert, who theoretically would serve as a mismatch tight end if he could stay healthy enough to actually play. He's played 14 games in the last three years and has some challenging matchups to begin the year (at Seattle, vs. San Francisco). You can do better with a late-round pick. 

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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