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Buy, Sell, or Keep: Cincinnati Bengals Offense

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Three out of the last six Superbowl losers have failed to make the NFL playoffs in the following year. Will the Cincinnati Bengals flourish or fall? Who are the Buy/Sell/Keep candidates from the Cincinnati offense?


Buy

Joe Mixon, RB

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Joe Mixon was a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He would have been a first-round pick but fell due to character concerns. Mixon is just 25 years old and will turn 26 in July. He became the leader in the backfield as a rookie and has held the position since.

Other than in 2020 when he had a right foot injury that ended his season after six games, Mixon has not missed more than two games in a season. As a rookie, Mixon played in 14 games and started seven. He had 178 carries for 626 yards and 4 TDs. Mixon also chipped in 30 receptions for 287 yards.

In his second year, he had 237 carries for 1,168 yards and 8 TDs in 14 games. In those 14 games, Mixon also delivered 43 receptions for 296 yards and 1 TD. In 2019, his third year in the league, he played in all 16 games and had 278 carries for 1,137 yards and 5 TDs while also having 35 receptions for 287 yards and 3 more TDs.

Mixon’s Best and Worst Years

The last two years were both Mixon’s best and worst. In 2020, Mixon suffered a right foot injury in Week 6. This injury ended his year after all kinds of setbacks. In his six games, Mixon was on pace to set a new touch record for himself. He had 119 carries for 428 yards and 3 TDs while also having 21 receptions for 138 yards and another TD.

Last year was Mixon’s best year as a pro. He delivered with 292 carries for 1,205 yards and a whopping 13 TDs. Mixon became a favorite in the passing game also with 42 receptions for 314 yards and 3 more TDs.

Defenses can not stack the box anymore against the Cincinnati Bengals and Mixon will be the beneficiary. There are three pro bowl type wide receivers that the defenses have to pay attention to. Buy Joe Mixon all day long. He is not as expensive as the other top five RBs and he will deliver top five for at least two more years.

Sell

Ja’Marr Chase, WR

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Ja’Marr Chase exploded onto the scene in his rookie year after being selected in the first round of last year’s NFL draft. After several drops in the passing game during the pre-season last year, many experts questioned how good Chase might be after sitting out his final year at LSU due to Covid.

Chase answered those questions by setting two rookie receiving records. The first is the single-game yardage rookie record of 266 yards in week 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He also set the season rookie record for yards receiving with 1,455 yards. After being reunited with his college QB, Joe Burrow, Chase delivered 81 receptions to obtain those 1,455 yards and 13 TDs. However, those 81 receptions were good enough for just a tie at #20 in receptions in the league.

Chase … leads?

Chase led all Bengal WRs in catches, yards, TDs, and drops. Tee Higgins had 74 receptions for 1,091 yards and 6 TDs. Tyler Boyd had 67 receptions for 828 yards and 5 TDs. This was the lowest output by Boyd in his six years. Chase didn’t just lead the Bengals in drops — he led the entire NFL in drops.

I believe Chase caught the NFL off guard with his poor pre-season. They did not roll coverage his way to start the year, and Chase took advantage of it.

Chase was third in the NFL with 651 yards after catch. He had TDs of 50 yards, 42 yards, 34 yards, 70 yards, 82 yards, 32 yards, 72 yards, and 69 yards. 8 out of his 13 TDs were 32 yards or longer. You would think that with these statistics, he had week-winning numbers for your fantasy team every week.

Chase was not as consistent as his closest ranked WR in almost all 2022 dynasty rankings. Justin Jefferson delivered seven 100+ yard games in 2021, while Chase had just five 100+ yard games.

From Week 8 forward, the NFL started to figure out Chase as he only had three weeks where he scored more than 14 fantasy points. Jefferson only had five games all season of less than 20 fantasy points. How is Chase ranked ahead of Jefferson in any rankings?

With Chase ranked number one in numerous publications, use his value to set up your squad for success in 2022 and beyond. You can get a comparable WR and another stud piece right now. The hype is real and you need to take advantage of it and sell, sell, sell.

Keep

Hayden Hurst, TE

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Hayden Hurst is entering his fifth year in the league. He was selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens but was traded to the Atlanta Falcons in 2020. This spring, Hurst signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent after former TE C.J. Uzomah signed with the New York Jets. His contract is a one-year deal at $3.5 Million. It is a “prove it” deal to get paid next year.

Hurst’s best year was 2020 with the Falcons. He had 56 receptions off of 88 targets for 571 yards and 6 TDs. Hurst has averaged 37 receptions for 380 yards and 4 TDs per season over the last three years while missing just four games.

Uzomah is leaving 49 receptions for 493 yards and 5 TDs behind for Hurst to pick up. Those numbers are very attainable for Hurst as he already delivered that type of year in 2020. With this Bengals offense and all the weapons surrounding Burrow, Hurst could be a sneaky good sleeper to provide double-digit fantasy points every week in tight-end premium leagues.

You can do worse than keeping Hurst on your roster for 2022. This 28-year-old TE will deliver a top 12 performance in 2022 and get a new multi-year contract as his reward. Keep him on your rosters for this year and reap the rewards.


Thank you for checking out the latest article in the Buy/Sell/Keep series! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @OldMan_FF and @IDPGuys (we have offense, too), and please check out our website at idpguys.org.

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