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What A.J. Green’s eventual return will mean for Bengals receivers [UPDATE]

The Bengals hope to get A.J. Green back in action soon. We break down the fantasy implications for the wide receiver corps.

A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on September 22, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York.  Photo by Timothy T. Ludwig/Getty Images

A.J. Green injury status update, 10/17 7:42 a.m.

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green ended up not practicing on Wednesday after his coach said he would get in some work. Last week,Green sat out Wednesday practice, but then was listed as a limited participant on Thursday and Friday before being inactive for the weekend. This is a step back. He is rehabbing a training camp ankle injury that resulted in surgery. It is unlikely he plays this weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

A.J. Green injury state update, 10/16 2:31 p.m.

The Bengals are back at practice, and head coach Zac Taylor said wide receiver A.J. Green will practice, but not in full. Green was “very limited” in practice last week, so it is no surprise he would remain limited in Week 7. Taylor would not commit to anything for Sunday, but odds seem low that Green plays. If he is inactive, Auden Tate will continue to start opposite Tyler Boyd. Both are solid fantasy options against an inconsistent Jacksonville Jaguars defense that just traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

A.J. Green injury status update 4:25 p.m.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor met with the media on Monday and offered an update on wide receiver A.J. Green. Per Marisa Contipelli, Taylor said that Green is progressing but would not offer anything beyond that, simply saying “we’ll see” about his status moving forward. The 49ers first practice participation report for Week 7 will arrive Wednesday afternoon.

The Cincinnati Bengals welcomed star wide receiver A.J. Green back to the practice field in Week 6, a sign he is getting closer to returning to game action. Green has been sidelined since injuring his ankle in the team’s first practice of training camp. This past Thursday marked his first practice session since then, and he put together a pair of limited practices on Thursday and Friday.

The team ruled him out for Week 6, but he is making progress. The team returns to practice on Wednesday as they prepare to host the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 7. We’ll get the first practice report of the week that day, and odds are pretty good we’ll see Green listed as limited. The question now is if he’ll climb from definitely out to questionable status by Friday.

Fantasy football analysis, Bengals receivers

Whenever Green returns, there will be a host of questions to answer for the Bengals pass catchers. There have been rumors the team might trade Green since he is in his contract year and seems unlikely to sign an extension any time soon. If the team trades him, that clears up some playing time questions. But if they do not trade him, fantasy football owners will be wondering what this means for four notable Bengals receivers.

A.J. Green: He had his fifth straight 1,000-yard receiving season, but did miss a game with a toe injury. He turned 31 at the start of training camp, so age is certainly an issue to consider. His numbers dropped last year after monstrous 2016 and 2017 campaigns. Is he reaching the performance drop-off point, or could he rebound? For now he is likely a WR1 until he shows otherwise, but be wary.

Tyler Boyd: It looks like Boyd is building on last year’s 76-reception, 1,028-yard breakout season. He’s not finding the end zone nearly as much, but he’s a PPR machine for Andy Dalton. He potentially sees a slight dip in targets, but he remains a solid fantasy option week in and week out.

John Ross: He was finally having a breakout season before a clavicle fracture landed him on injured reserve. He won’t be back until December at the earliest, which is a shame considering how he was performing. Through four games he had 16 receptions for 328 yards and three touchdowns — looking like a huge playmaker with his 20.5 yards per catch average. When he returns, there is still room for that kind of playmaker, but he also had come back to earth after two strong starts. He’s got boom or bust potential.

Auden Tate: It has been a quiet, but improved year for the second-year former seventh round pick. He has 19 receptions for 261 yards and a touchdown and is seeing more work with Ross out. He will lose targets when Green returns, and given Boyd’s productivity, Tate could move from fantasy flex and cheap DFS option to non-entity to a certain degree.