2024 Cincinnati Bengals Fantasy Preview

A detailed fantasy football breakdown of all 32 NFL squads

Ja'Marr Chase

2024 Cincinnati Bengals Fantasy Preview

A year after winning the AFC North, Zac Taylor’s squad struggled out of the gate before a winning October put them back in contention. Then they lost Joe Burrow before another unlikely win streak had the Cardiac Cats on the verge of the AFC playoffs. Nearly overcoming that adversity was a testament to Taylor’s coaching. With Burrow back, the Bengals project to be contenders in 2024.

Burrow’s poor play was largely to blame for Cincinnati’s 1-3 start. However, things clicked in Week 5. During the team’s four-game win streak, he topped 22 fantasy points three times. Ultimately, Burrow’s campaign ended in Baltimore with a right scapholunate ligament tear.

Last season stands out as an anomaly on Burrow’s resume. He was an elite fantasy signal-caller in each of his previous two campaigns and the 2024 Bengals should rely on the pass even more. Expect Burrow to contend for overall top-5 numbers this season.

Ja’Marr Chase saw a dip in production but it wasn’t due to lack of volume. Chase absorbed a career-high 145 targets in 16 games. Chase’s 24.5% target share was also the highest of his career. Considering the uncertainty in Cincinnati’s receiving corps and assuming we get a fully healthy Joe Burrow under center makes Chase one of the safest picks in fantasy and every bit worthy of a top-3 overall selection.

Tee Higgins was franchise-tagged but has been at an impasse with the team. Higgins is one of the better WR2s in the league but wants the chance to shine as the top dog. Assuming he returns to the Bengals, Higgins will be plenty motivated to play for a lucrative long-term contract.

The Bengals also used the 80th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Alabama WR Jermaine Burton. Burton has good size and speed and is more of a downfield playmaker than Tyler Boyd. The rookie is an intriguing late-round fantasy sleeper, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Higgins.

Taylor employed a committee approach to the tight end position. No TE exceeded 50 targets last season or ranked inside the top 30 fantasy scorers. The club signed Mike Gesicki to presumably take over as the starter. However, fourth-round Iowa rookie Erick All is a dark horse to win the starting role and emerge as a waiver-wire asset.

With Joe Mixon traded to Houston, Zack Moss takes over as the team’s lead back. Moss filled in admirably for Jonathan Taylor last year, averaging a career-high 10.0 PPR points per game (23rd). Taylor likes to include his backs in the passing game, so Moss is a sneaky bet to be a solid RB3/flex option.

Second-year rusher Chase Brown got a chance to contribute late last season and could play his way into the mix.

Quarterbacks

A pair of injuries bookended an erratic 2023 campaign for Joe Burrow. A July calf ailment resulted in a rusty start. Then, Burrow got healthy and averaged 21.4 fantasy points per contest during the team’s 4-1 stretch through Week 10. Ultimately, a wrist injury ended Burrow’s season in Week 11. He’s expected to be fine for 2024 but that mid-season stretch of a healthy Burrow is what piques our interest. With the addition of Jermaine Burton and Mike Gesicki plus the loss of Joe Mixon, the Bengals will rely on Burrow more than ever. He’s firmly in the conversation to be a top-5 fantasy option and the discounted price makes him a solid mid-round value. ADVICE: Safe QB1.

Running Backs

Zack Moss filled in admirably for Jonathan Taylor last season. He was so effective that he continued to have a weekly role in Indy’s offense. Now, it appears that Moss will open the season atop Cincinnati’s depth chart after the Bengals shipped Joe Mixon to Houston. Mixon was used as a workhorse, inviting some optimism that Moss could potentially see 250-plus touches in a solid Bengals attack. Chase Brown will also work into the mix, but Moss’s tackle-breaking ability and solid receiving skills make him the favorite for early-down work and short-yardage opportunities. ADVICE: Excellent sleeper candidate in the middle rounds.

Joe Mixon and his 78.9% opportunity share are gone. In his place, the Bengals signed Zack Moss to a relatively modest contract. The expectations are that Cincinnati will move to a committee backfield. Moss has always shared time and we saw snippets of what Brown could do in the second half of 2023. Brown averaged 5.8 yards touch and 4.2 yards after contact. He’s got that breakaway ability that will make him a nice change-of-pace option from Moss. The split could be closer than many think, with Brown acting more as an RB1B than RB2. That makes Brown an appealing ‘dead zone’ target. ADVICE: Dead zone sleeper extraordinaire.

Wide Receivers

Touchdowns matter and no wide receiver has drawn more weekly red-zone targets than Ja’Marr Chase, who earns 1.64 per game. And part of that came in a trying 2023 season that saw the Bengals hobbled by injuries to QB Joe Burrow. The combination of Burrow and Chase is one of the top duos in football, with league-winning upside. Even with Jake Browning playing 469 snaps, Chase still ranked top 30 in yards per route run (2.2), contested catches (11), and missed tackles forced (17). He’s an elite option primed to make a run at the overall WR1 if Burrow stays healthy for 17 starts. ADVICE: Locked-in first-round WR with No. 1 overall upside

Rib and hamstring injuries cost Tee Higgins five games last season. Joe Burrow’s health-related struggles also played a factor in Higgins having his worst fantasy performance in 2023. However, he’s now healthy and entering a contract year fully intent on grabbing that bag. Even in a down year, Higgins still had four top 10 weeks and was top 20 in air yards share (35.9%) and yards per reception (15.6). The biggest concern about Higgins is his unwillingness to play on the franchise tag as he seeks a long-term extension. Ultimately, he will be plenty motivated to suit up and ball out. ADVICE: This is a great opportunity to buy low on a strong WR2 but with some risk of being overdrafted.

One of the top late-round sleepers, Jermaine Burton moves right into the slot role vacated by Tyler Boyd, who had six consecutive WR3 or better finishes with the Bengals from 2018-2022. Burton is a better athlete than Boyd, boasting 4.45 speed and has inside/outside flexibility. Burton has excellent burst and is a terror against man coverage. That makes him a terrific fit in a lineup with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the perimeter. Burton is likely to outperform his ADP by at least three rounds, making him one of the top sleepers to target. ADVICE: Must-have late-round sleeper who is walking into a top-40 role right away

ADVICE: A DFS hero in the regular-season finale, Iosivas will compete for WR4 duties in a Cincinnati offense that could again post top-10 numbers. Even if he remains entrenched as the Bengals fourth wideout, Iosivas could find his way onto the weekly streaming radar.

Tight Ends

ADVICE: The Bengals will utilize multiple tight ends but Gesicki looks like the best bet to lead the group in targets

ADVICE: The Bengals may have found a real sleeper in Michigan TE Erick All, a speedy, downfield playmaker who wins in contested catch situations and has elite yards-after-catch ability. All is a dark horse to emerge in the second half of 2024.

Place Kicker

The loss of Joe Burrow hurt Cincinnati’s offense, but McPherson’s numbers were right in-line with the production we saw in his first two seasons. With Burrow back and the addition of Jermaine Burton, the Bengals will contend for top-10 scoring numbers. That keeps McPherson in the conversation as a potential top-10 fantasy kicking option for 2024.

Defense/Special Teams

Second-round DT Kris Jenkins and third-round DT McKinnley Jackson will help fortify a struggling unit that dropped to 31st in the NFL last season. The Bengals forced 26 turnovers and had a solid 44 sacks, but ranked 26th versus the run and 28th against the pass. Cincy has a long way to go before it can be viewed as a fantasy-relevant stop unit.

 


Other 2024 Fantasy Football Previews

Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Commanders

Baltimore Ravens

 


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About Jody Smith 501 Articles
With over a decade of winning experience, Jody is a well-known fixture in the fantasy football community. He was named Fantasy Pros’ **Most Accurate Ranker** previously and was the site’s Top NFL over/under totals picker with a record 65% accuracy in 2020, while also ranking 5th in the country with a 55% against-the-spread hit rate. Jody has written for many sites over the years including Pro Football Focus, FantasyPros, CBS Sportsline, FantasyData, and is a regular contributor to the Fantasy Index magazine expert’s poll, draft, and auction. Jody’s experience ranking and projecting player performance will help prepare the Fulltime Fam for their big draft days as well as answers they can trust on Sunday for those ever crucial Who Do I Start questions.