Tyler Eifert's season debut for Bengals might be derailed by another injury

Tyler Eifert's 2016 season is still stuck in neutral. He just can't get on the field.

Eifert, who injured his ankle in the Pro Bowl, missed the Bengals' first four games while recovering from that injury. And now, in the lead up to what most expected would be Eifert's season debut, he suffered yet another injury.

This time it's his back.

He didn't practice on Thursday, so it's not looking like the Bengals will have Eifert on the field this week when they take on the Cowboys in Dallas -- though there's still a chance.

For that to happen, though, Eifert will most likely need to practice first.


Obviously, the bad back is not a welcome development for the Bengals. A year ago, Eifert hauled in 52 passes for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns -- the fourth most among all pass catchers. Due to that incredibly high touchdown count, he also became a fantasy superstar, a title that's now slipping away from him.

So, how will the Bengals replace him? To this point, they've primarily relied on C.J. Uzomah, who leads the team's tight ends with 11 catches and 144 yards. Tyler Kroft has added three catches and 35 yards.

In other words, they've failed to replace him, though that hardly matters when A.J. Green is tearing apart defenses. But even when Green has functioned like one of the league's best wideouts, the Bengals can't seem to score in the red zone.

As NFL.com pointed out, the Bengals rank last in red zone efficiency after the first four weeks.

From a fantasy perspective, neither Uzomah nor Kroft are worthy of starting against the Cowboys, who rank 10th in points allowed per game and near the middle of the league in terms of yards allowed. The Cowboys might allow the third-most fantasy points to tight ends (according to ESPN), but neither Uzomah nor Kroft is scoring with enough frequency to warrant serious consideration. Neither has scored a touchdown this season.

Instead, a streamer like Bears tight end Zach Miller might be a better option, as CBS Sports' Jamey Eisenberg wrote about here.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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