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Fantasy camp battles: Tee Higgins vs. John Ross ... vs. Auden Tate?

The Bengals top starters are set, but who will win out for that third receiver spot in 2020?

Wide receiver John Ross of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball in the third quarter of a game against the Cleveland Browns on December 29, 2019 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati won 33-23. Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Update September 4: Injuries have made Week 1 starts unlikely for Higgins and Ross. Tate has been able to develop chemistry with Burrow and appears to be the frontrunner to land the WR3 spot in. This could change when Higgins and Ross get up to speed though.

Update August 31: Ross has gotten off to a rocky start. The wideout hasn’t been able to get into much of a groove because of personal issues and a hamstring injury and is currently limited by an arm injury. Higgins hasn’t been back from a hamstring injury for long but has yet to distinguish himself from Tate in the race for the WR3 spot.


Update August 24: Ross has been activated from the reserve list after leaving the team following his son’s positive Covid-19 test. Higgins hasn’t gotten a ton of work, as he’s been dealing with a hamstring injury. Neither wideout appears to be the frontrunner for the WR3 spot at this point. Auden Tate has impressed while Ross and Higgins have been out of commission.


In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.

The Cincinnati Bengals are beginning a massive rebuild after finishing as the worst team in the NFL last season. They were able to secure LSU’s Joe Burrow with the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but it’ll take more than him to turn the franchise around. Burrow had an abundance of talented pass catchers at his disposal in his final collegiate season but will have to find new go-to guys as a pro.

Luckily for Burrow, A.J. Green is coming back for at least one more year. The seven-time Pro Bowl player is sure to become the top dog of the receiving corps after missing all of last season with a leg injury. He served as an escape outlet for Andy Dalton and can continue to do the same for a rookie quarterback if healthy.

Then there’s Tyler Boyd, who had a breakout season in 2019 and led the Bengals with 90 receptions for 1,046 yards and five scores. He’s likely to take a back seat to Green and serve as Burrow’s second option. However, the WR3 spot is up for grabs. There are a few players in the running to claim that sot.

The oft-injured John Ross tallied 28 receptions for 506 yards and three scores through eight games last year. The speedster has yet to establish himself as a consistent threat since he was selected as a top 10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He’ll be competing against 2020 second-round pick Tee Higgins. Many considered the 6’4” touchdown machine out of Clemson to be worth of a first-round pick, but will he be able to step in and become more consistent than Ross?

Verdict

Ross can’t seem to stay on the field and has struggled to catch the football. While Higgins isn’t nearly as explosive, his hands are much sturdier and his frame allows him to haul in circus-like receptions. Ross might have a good game here and there, but Higgins has more season-long value.