Dynasty fantasy football is our beloved stripped-down approximation of the NFL. We are the head coaches and general managers of our teams, choosing who stays or goes, and who plays or sits. NFL Training Camps are perhaps the best opportunity we have on the dynasty calendar to project how useful our assets will be in the coming season, particularly when it comes to managing the bottom third of our roster. The better you know the rosters of every NFL team, the more prepared you’ll be to execute the corresponding dynasty moves when camp news breaks. I’m mining all the beat reports, team websites, and post-practice press conferences to bring you a comprehensive overview of what’s going on this summer in all 32 training camps.
Our ninth stop on the 2017 DLF Training Camp Tour is with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are a team trying to bust through the glass ceiling. Perennial playoff contenders, but never a threat to go deep, the team appears to be dead-set on amassing enough offensive firepower to compete with the Patriots and Steelers in the AFC. This season, the team invested its first and second rounds picks in offensive skill players in the form of John Ross and Joe Mixon. The Bengals had arguably the best haul of any NFL team in the first two rounds from a dynasty fantasy perspective.
The offense is due for some positive scoring regression in 2017 in the passing game, after ranking 15th in the NFL in passing yards, but just 26th in passing touchdowns. The Bengals were 24th in total points, a ranking I expect to rise significantly this season due to their additional weapons.
Cincinnati rookies and veterans have been in camp since July 28.
Andy Dalton threw a career low 18 touchdowns in 2016 and was clearly impacted by the numerous games in which A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert missed. He did post the second highest yardage output of his career en route to a fantasy QB13 finish. If Dalton had simply matched his career seasonal average in passing touchdowns (24) last season, he would’ve been fantasy QB7. With Green and Eifert healthy, and the addition of Ross as a field stretcher, Dalton makes for an interesting dynasty buy-low candidate with sneaky upside. A possible issue to monitor: pass protection has been an issue so far in camp. Dalton was even sacked five times in a ten-play span recently.
The running back room is one of the more interesting scenes in the NFL right now. Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard have both been dynasty darlings at some point over the past three seasons, despite having incomplete skills sets. Mixon was billed as having the entire package and has not disappointed thus far in camp or in preseason action. You can see every Mixon touch from preseason week one here. Albeit against the opposing second team defense, Mixon shredded Tampa Bay, displaying balance, vision, power, and elusiveness in both the rushing and receiving games. I am eager to see him gets reps against opposing first team defenses in order to better gauge how his talent measures up, but preliminary findings point towards Mixon having what it takes to be a fantasy difference maker. This may be the lowest we see his dynasty ADP for the next several years. Both Bernard and Hill should remain dynasty relevant for the time being, as the touch splits have not been forecasted by the coaching staff to-date.
Tyler Boyd dynasty stock took a hit with the draft selection of Ross. With Brandon LaFell having a strong camp this summer and holding on to his starting spot, Boyd looks to be relegated to WR4 duties on a team with a strong tight end and multiple running backs with receiving upside. Boyd is in danger of becoming a stash-and-see player just one year removed from being a NFL second round pick. Ross missed the first two weeks of camp, but is now practicing with the team and is going “all-out” in 11-on-11 drills. Boyd was running as the WR3 in Ross’s absence, so it will be interesting to see how reps are split in the next two preseason games.
Eifert is reportedly 100 percent and has resumed his former red zone effectiveness. The dynasty TE4 is just one season removed from scoring 13 touchdowns and will be even more difficult to cover with defenses having to respect the speed and ability of both Green and Ross. His touchdown upside remains unrivaled by any tight end not named Rob Gronkowski, but Eifert is more attractive in standard formats since he is not a target hog.
Possible Cuts (among dynasty relevant players): none
Projected ADP Risers
Players Who Will Rise 1 or more rounds in startup ADP by the end of the 2017 Season: John Ross
Projected ADP Fallers
Players Who Will Fall 1 or more rounds in startup ADP by the end of the 2017 Season: Tyler Boyd
Waiver Wire Watch List (players with ADP >240): A.J. McCarron
A healthcare executive by day, Curtis is also a husband, father to three kids, and coach to many.
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