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Trae Waynes ruled out for Week 1, gives Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen a boost

The Bengals will be without a key cog in their secondary overhaul. We break down what it means for Vikings wide receivers in fantasy football.

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Trae Waynes (26) during training camp on the practice fields outside of Paul Brown Stadium in Downtown Tuesday, August 17, 2021. Cara Owsley/The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Cincinnati Bengals overhauled their secondary the past two offseasons but they will be shorthanded in their first game of the season. Cornerback Trae Waynes is dealing with a hamstring injury and head coach Zac Taylor told the media he will not play in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.

The current expectation is that Eli Apple get bumped into a starting role opposite offseason addition Chidobe Awuzie. Apple dealt with reported conditioning issues last season with the Carolina Panthers and only appeared in two games.

It’s been a rough couple years for Apple, and this could bode well for either Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen. One will face off against Awuzie and the other will get Apple. Considering Awuzie missed much of last season due to a hamstring injury and COVID-19, this is a compelling matchup if you have Vikings on your fantasy roster. If the Bengals offense can get going, this could turn into a shootout, but even if not, Kirk Cousins and his passing attack should be able to get busy against this defense.