The Bengals struggled without AJ Green last season. Tyler Boyd stepped up to fill the role, but there was no one to fill in Boyd’s role. It became apparent how shallow the Bengals’ wide receiver depth chart was which was why they drafted Tee Higgins with their 2nd round pick after selecting Joe Burrow with the #1 pick. There are questions about how Higgins’ lack of athleticism compared to other draft class receivers will play out. But what Higgins lacks in athletic ability, he makes up for in his size and ability to come down with the ball. He showed time and time again at Clemson just how talented he was. His ability to go up and beat out defenders while also showcasing his ability to run after the catch is what the Bengals liked when they drafted him. He is one of the few rookie receivers to have a possibility of starting right away, so the question is, should you draft him?
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Higgins looked monstrous in his last two seasons at Clemson. He had 59 receptions in both years with over 900 yards in each. In 2019, his 1,167 yards ranked in the top 20 across the nation, and his 13 receiving touchdowns were top 10. We saw the success he had leading the team when Clemson made two College Football Championship games and even a ring in 2018. Being the number one receiver on arguably the best team in the nation brought some attention. What will be interesting is how Higgins will fit into the Bengals’ offense.
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There are few rookie wide receivers that have the chance to start right away. The NFL is flooded with great wide receivers, but Higgins found his way on to a team that is not in that situation. He is listed as the WR3 right out of the gate on a team that normally showcases three wide receivers on the field. With AJ Green on the outside and Tyler Boyd in the slot, it only makes sense that Higgins would play on the other side of Green. He is a receiver that has instant value because of his potential starting role. He will be getting action very quickly with a chance to build up points over time. I don’t see him topping a healthy Green or Boyd, but with Joe Burrow as the new quarterback, things could get interestingly better in Cincinnati.
Auction Value: $0
Higgins’ ADP is very low which has its reasons. The Bengals have historically been very bad offensively and I am one to completely stay away from them with maybe an exception in the past for AJ Green, but now I would not even touch him. There currently is no reason to really believe that anything will dramatically change. While yes, Higgins will most likely be starting, he is the third receiver on a bottom tier offense. The drafting of Joe Burrow raises some eyebrows, but no one can predict how good he will be. Look at Kyler Murray. Murray struggled on a bad offense which is why the Cardinals decided they needed to bring in some extra talent. The Bengals do not have that additional talent to help Burrow. Higgins is the only new player with Burrow. While it is possible that these two rookies have a connection, there really is no way to determine that it will be worth it yet.
Tee Higgins wins with his absurd catch radius and ball skills. His ability to separate isn’t on par with Jeudy or Lamb, but his ability to climb the ladder and win down the football field is impressive.pic.twitter.com/z4nNW46E9v
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) February 16, 2020
Getting into Higgins’ floor, he is going to at least be your typical third receiver on any offense. He will get maybe 2-4 targets a game. There will be some games in which he will not see anything. It will be a guessing game early in the season with a new rookie quarterback. He will have his game or two in which he will have his moments, but I would not put his floor very high. You have to remember that Higgins is on the Bengals who are in full rebuild mode. This may be the season in which the Bengals see change, but until we see it, it is hard to believe.
Higgins’ floor as well as his ceiling revolve around him being the WR3. While it may be unlikely that the Bengals break out as a team, there is the chance. Let’s say that Burrow continues his collegiate dominance into the NFL and is able to lead the Bengals’ offense. Who is gonna lead the team in receptions? It’s AJ Green. Coming in second will be Tyler Boyd. Higgins really has no way of getting enough receptions to produce crazy value even if Burrow were to pan out the way they hope he will. I don’t see him getting double-digit receptions in any game. The only way he will become valuable is if the Bengals learn how to score touchdowns and he is the receiver of the majority of them. At best, Higgins will be a touchdown-dependent receiver this year. It is his value down the line that makes his dynasty value rise.
Cincinnati Bengals Offense
With AJ Green being injured for the majority of the season, it is hard to fully judge their offense, but it is not good. They have a 1,000-yard rusher in Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd stepped up as the top receiver the past two seasons. Andy Dalton is out as the starting quarterback and first-overall selection Joe Burrow is in. AJ Green should be back and ready to return as the top threat for opposing defenses. But really the only set-in-stone player for the Bengals is Joe Mixon. Burrow, Green, Boyd (now being downgraded again with Green coming back), and Higgins are all question marks going into 2020. There is no certainty beyond Mixon of what the offense will look like in terms of how it will produce.
— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) June 17, 2020
Strength of Schedule
The Bengals have it pretty easy this year in terms of who they play. Based on last year’s win percentages, they have the 6th easiest schedule in the league. Being a team that finished last season 2-14, it is very surprising to me that they found a way to make their schedule that easy when they are the easiest team to play against. As for Higgins, they face the 20th hardest schedule for receivers, meaning they have it easier than more than half of teams. The problem is that he has two cemented receivers ahead of him that have both led the Bengals in receiving before. Higgins will have to work hard to prove that he deserves as many targets as both of them.
To conclude, Higgins has the talent to rise through the ranks and become a top receiver, but he, unfortunately, found himself on the Bengals. With the Bengals being full of question marks going into 2020, I prefer to stay away from them. He could be an excellent stash on the bench if anything were to pan out for him. If you have any confidence in the Bengals’ offense, Higgins would be a good late-round flier. It all comes down to your confidence in Joe Burrow turning around the Bengals.