Depth Chart Fantasy Impact
The Bengals keep the skill positions mostly intact from an offense that broke through in 2021. Cincinnati followed 4 straight years at 26th or worse in yardage by ranking 13th last season. The team finished 7th in scoring after slotting 29th and 30th the 2 years prior.
Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd return to lead the WR corps. There’s minimal change even among their backups, with former 7th-round pick Auden Tate the most notable departure.
QB Joe Burrow made it through a full season and the playoffs after tearing 2 knee ligaments in November of his rookie season. A lot will ride on him remaining healthy. Cincinnati continues to employ Brandon Allen – 56.2% completions and 6.1 yards per attempt through 3 years – as the backup.
The Bengals let lead TE C.J. Uzomah walk for a 3-year deal with the Jets in free agency. But they replaced him with Hayden Hurst on a 1-year contract. Hurst posted 3-year lows in receptions and receiving yards with Kyle Pitts joining him in Atlanta last season. He has also seen his yards per catch decline for 3 consecutive years. Hurst will already be 29 at the start of his 5th NFL campaign.
Cincinnati made its most significant changes on the offensive line. The Bengals improved their run-blocking vs. 2020 by Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus metrics last season. But the pass-blocking declined from an already-weak level. So the team imported former Cowboys RT La’el Collins and former Buccaneers RG Alex Cappa in free agency to further shore up the blocking.
In the backfield, 2nd-year RB Chris Evans could push Samaje Perine for the No. 2 role behind Joe Mixon. The starter saw his receiving role increase late last regular season and through the playoffs, but we’ll see whether that carries over into 2022.
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