There’s a chance that this has more to do with Auden Tate’s Week 14 injury than anything else, but, last Sunday against the Patriots, Zac Taylor seemed to abandon the 11 personnel approach that has been so highly incorporated into the Bengals’ offense in 2019. In fact, John Ross played only 37.9% of Cincinnati’s offensive snaps in the 34-13 loss as the team’s WR3, with the Bengals instead choosing to lean move heavily on 12 personnel with their trio of tight ends all finishing the contest with at least 32 snaps logged. Is it weird that Cincinnati is choosing to beef up its blocking and run its offense through Joe Mixon? It is not. However, the fact that Taylor has decided to do this simultaneously to former co-worker Sean McVay having the same epiphany in Los Angeles in pretty funny. At least it is to me.
Anyway, the Bengals’ receiving corps has a much easier matchup in Week 16 as the squad gets set to square-off with the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. No team has surrendered more touchdown passes to opposing WRs on a per game basis than Miami has this season (1.8), while the Dolphins’ secondary is also fresh off conceding a whopping 10.7 yards per target to the Giants’ stable of wideouts in Week 15. Still, the question of volume looms. Miami’s defense is as susceptible on the ground as it is through the air and Cincinnati just mustered a 50.8% rushing rate in a contest it lost by three scores. Will Taylor ever actually need to go away from Joe Mixon? Will he ever want to?
Fantasy Football Analysis, Cincinnati Bengals WRs Tyler Boyd, John Ross and Alex Erickson
The only one of these wide receivers that feels like a must-play is Boyd. While the production has definitely wavered week-to-week, Boyd’s averaged an impressive 9.6 targets in Andy Dalton’s 10 starts this season. He’s also likely to see an uptick in his red zone opportunities, with the aforementioned Tate - who leads the team with 14 such targets - currently on injured reserve. With Tyler Eifert, Giovani Bernard and Mixon all still viable options in the passing game, I simply don’t see enough volume to trust either Ross or Alex Erickson, though the latter would be your desperation FLEX play in a super deep format.
Start Boyd. Sit Ross. Sit Erickson.