5-8, 4th AFC North
Can John Ross and Tyler Eifert Stay Healthy? - The Bengals have been a team with some tough injury luck over the last few years. Tyler Eifert showcased himself to be one of the best tight ends in football, but then has been dealing with costly injuries. John Ross was drafted last season, but was hindered by injuries and rarely used when healthy. If both stay healthy, this is a very interesting group. You already have A.J. Green, giving them three quality options. Ross’ speed gives them a new dynamic that they haven’t had. With the injury tag being next to their names most weeks, hopes are rather low.
What To Expect From An Improved Mixon Workload? - Joe Mixon struggled with efficiency last year, but finally got some of the depth out of the picture, putting Mixon in line for a full workload in 2018. Cincinnati rushed the fourth fewest times in 2017, but that is more due to the poor efficiency and playing from behind. These numbers should change a bit this year, and the overall outlook on Mixon is definitely more positive from last season. The term bell cow back has been thrown around, and for fantasy players, that is a term you like to here. With an improved offensive line, things are trending in the right way for Mixon.
Will The Offensive Line Moves Gel In Time? - This was one of the worst offensive lines in football last season, which led to a lot of sacks. They were bottom ten in protecting Andy Dalton, and also struggled to get anything going for the running backs. The Bengals went out and got Cordy Glenn from the Bills, and then traded Billy Price inside the first round. There is potential for this offensive line to move up in the rankings, and actually be one of the better lines in football. There is still some youth within, which is why it might take some time before we see any improvement based on last season.
Which Andy Dalton Shows Up? - The Red Rifle is coming off a poor season, throwing for under 3,500 yards and 25 touchdowns. While the touchdowns were not a career low, he did have another year throwing over ten interceptions. Dalton is now over the age of 30, and those 2012 and 2013 seasons seem so long ago. Dalton has the weapons to do some damage if they remain healthy, but does Dalton have the skills at his age to get things going again. Only throwing over 4,000 yards twice in his career, that might be a stretch to ask for in 2018, unless this offense clicks on all cylinders.
Will Heavy Road Start Derail Season? - The Bengals only won three of eight road games last season, and those wins were against Cleveland, Denver, and Baltimore. Those teams at the time were average at best. The 2018 season starts against Indy, who will be the least of their worries for the road games, but still a toss up with Andrew Luck back. They then face Carolina, Atlanta, and Kansas City, making it four away games before Week 7. There is potential danger here, given a home game against Pittsburgh is mixed in. The team moral could be down before the second half of their season even starts.