The Bengals offense took a big hit in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Washington Football Team in Week 11 when star rookie quarterback Joe Burrow had to be carted off the field with a knee injury. He took a low hit and stayed down while trainers checked on his left knee.
It looks as if the Bengals and Fantasy managers will be without Burrow for the foreseeable future. In fact, Burrow later tweeted:
Thanks for all the love. Can’t get rid of me that easy. See ya next year✊— Joey Burrow (@JoeyB) November 22, 2020
Burrow's replacement is Ryan Finley, who started three games for an injured Andy Dalton in 2019. Finley averaged just 158 passing yards per game last year and threw as many interceptions (two) as touchdowns. Finley is not going to be Fantasy relevant in anything but the deepest of two-quarterback leagues, but the drop down from Burrow to Finley will be felt across the Bengals offense.
We talk Burrow's injury, Taysom Hill's big day, a possible breakout for J.K. Dobbins and a revival of the Cowboys passing game. All that and more on the Fantasy Football Today in 5 podcast. Listen below and subscribe at Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts:
Tyler Boyd averaged just over 11 PPR Fantasy points per game in the three games with Finley last year. He would likely be the best Bengals pass catcher, but he'd be a No. 3 Fantasy WR, with Tee Higgins not far behind. Neither will be consistent options. A.J. Green emerged in Week 11 with his first touchdown, but he still looks like the third-best receiver on the team and there's very little chance Finley is going to support multiple starting wide receivers.
For now, Giovani Bernard remains the best Bengals running back. Just over 15% of Finley's throws last year went to running backs, and Bernard should dominate those targets. He'll be a No. 2 running back in full PPR and a solid flex where catches don't count. When (if) Joe Mixon returns, he'll be a borderline No. 2 running back in both formats.
As for Burrow, we'll hope for a 2020 return, but it might be more realistic to start hoping for 2021 training camp. The much-hyped rookie had been a high-end No. 2 quarterback in Fantasy this season, completing 65.3% of his 40.4 pass attempts per game for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He's shown us enough upside to believe he'll take a big step forward in his second season. This injury would not yet be enough for me to drop Burrow in my Dynasty rankings, where he's a low-end No. 1 quarterback.
If you're looking for a replacement for Burrow in re-draft, the first thing you'll want to know is the status of Teddy Bridgewater. P.J. Walker looked very good in his first career start Sunday, and the Panthers face a mediocre Vikings defense in Week 12. Of course, both Panthers would be behind Taysom Hill, who is rostered in just 63% of leagues.