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Dynasty Rewind – Cincinnati Bengals

Steven Pintado rewinds the season to take a look at the AFC Championship-bound Cincinnati Bengals.

Can Joe Burrow be THE Dynasty QB1? 

If we were talking this time last year, folks were not so high on Burrow after an up-and-down rookie season. Let’s not forget, he was coming off a significant injury with a nonexistent offensive line. Fast forward to now, and he has his team a win away from making the Super Bowl and arguably has the best core of talent surrounding him. Is Burrow on the path to jump into the conversation of the Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen of the dynasty world?  

Courtesy of Cincyjungle.com

In 2021, Burrow got off to a slow start by having just one QB1 performance in the first five games. The Bengals prevented Burrow from doing too much too early in the season. Burrow was the QB3 the rest of the season from week six and on with eight QB1 performances. Burrow was flying on all levels with fantastic performances, especially with two 34 plus fantasy point games during the final two weeks of the fantasy playoffs. Even early on in the season, he started the first eight games with two passing touchdowns in each game.  

The Bengals success landed in the hands of Burrow, especially if we wanted good fantasy performances from him. Below are Burrow’s completion percentage and TD/Into Ratio when the Bengals won and lost games. 

RecordComp%TDINT
Wins1073244
Losses6661010

The Bengals were a formidable opponent with Burrow’s success this season. He showed other outstanding achievements, including first in YPA at 8.9 and a second-best completion rate over 70%. The only concern with Burrow is he can be reckless when he scrambles at times; I’ve seen him take too many hits that didn’t look good. The Bengals need to go into the offseason and find Burrow some protection as he had combined 83 sacks in two seasons. If you saw the Titans game, he took nine sacks. 

Burrow could make the case as the QB1 dynasty quarterback. While he may not be as mobile as guys like Allen and Mahomes, he possesses the arm talent to be on par with them. He has better depth on weapons with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon. Most of his weapons are still under 26 and growing into stars. Burrow deserves to be a top-3 dynasty start-up quarterback right now. In SF leagues, he is someone I’ll be willing to give up multiple first-round picks to obtain with the potential he has.

Is it Time to Sell Joe Mixon? 

Mixon helped those Mixon truthers find reasons to celebrate after an impressive 2021 season. Starting in week six, Mixon and the offense started heating up as he was RB2 the rest of the season. He ran for a career-high in 1,205 rushing yards, 314 receiving yards, and 13 rushing touchdowns.

The most considerable improvement from that span was his passing game involvement. He started the first month of the season, averaging one target per game, but it jumped to 3.5 targets per game following week six. The unleashing of Burrow helped open up the offense, which led to Mixon uptake in production. 

Courtesy of DK Nation

Is this the time to make that move? It is a perfect time to get the highest value for a player. Mixon will be 26 years old by the start of the season. We know that running backs by the time they turn 25 are at the peak and start a sometimes quick downhill regression. Unless you are a true contender, then Mixon should be shopped around in leagues. Mixon has shown cases of injury problems in the past, and if you were a Mixon owner this year, you dealt with the questionable tag up until game time most weeks.  

Many owners might be reluctant to sell Mixon right now because there aren’t many running backs seeing a high volume workload. In dynasty, sometimes we’ve learned that running backs can go from 100 to 0 in a matter of a season, and we’ve seen him come off one of his most impressive seasons. This is why it’s an excellent time to get out on a high note then risk an injury or poor performances in the future. If I’m a Mixon owner, I’m looking to get a JK Dobbins or Travis Etienne plus for a guy like Mixon. 

Does Tee Higgins belong in the Top 10 Dynasty WRs like JaMarr Chase? 

The world is gushing over rookie sensation JaMarr Chase, but what do we make of the former second-round pick Higgins? He had a solid rookie season as the bigger-bodied potential WR1 for Burrow. As we got close to the 2021 season, the addition of Chase had fantasy owners nervous with the chemistry he and Burrow had already. For the first nine weeks, Higgins was WR 41, but he missed two games. Even in the other seven games, he only had one W 2 or better game. It seemed like Higgins would take the back seat in the offense. 

Courtesy of NFL.com

After the Bengals bye week, Higgins started heating up in the offense and finished the final seven games with four 100 yard outings. During the stretch, he and Chase were WR 1s in fantasy due to the progress in Burrow. As the second receiver in targets, he had a 64% chance of finishing as a WR 3 or better. He has big-play potential written all over his play style, and likely won’t see Chase’s number one coverage on the field as often.  

Over the last six seasons, 21 wide receiver duos have gained over 1000 receiving yards each in that season. Of those 21, just once did have a repeat season with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in 2020 and 2021. Only one other time has a duo reach 1000 yards twice within the six seasons with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans(2021,2019). Higgins and Chase are young elite talents who could break that impossible stat.

I believe Higgins is close to that Top 10; I’ve seen folks have him in there, and that’s perfectly fine. I think Chase’s presents keep him just outside of a WR 12-14 in dynasty right now. Higgins has the talent to put it all together more consistently next season, and then there is no doubt he could reach that top 10. Higgins is a buy anywhere in fantasy if you can at a reasonable price to pay. 

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