The 2021 Cincinnati Bengals boast of one of the NFL’s most fantastical offenses. Last season’s team generated the second highest success rate in a neutral game scenario (68%) with a healthy Joe Burrow under center. They have since added the 5th overall pick Ja’Marr Chase and a talented pool of talented players.
Burrow led the NFL in passing attempts per game (40.4) in his rookie season and placed third in Fantasy points expected per match (23.0) behind only Dak prescott and Josh Allen. However, neither team has scored fewer fantasy points compared to expectations (-120.2), which means one thing: a positive regression is ahead.
Any team that offers top-tier passing volume deserves to be heavily targeted. With a healthy terrier at the head of the prosecution, this offense is expected to see a boom in 2021.
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2021 team preview
The Bengals’ defense couldn’t stop anyone in 2020, and things don’t seem to be going much better this year. This offseason, Cincy has lost two of his best defensive players to cornerback William Jackson III and edge defender Carl Lawson. At the start of the season, the Bengals have PFF 31st ranked linebacker unit, 15th secondary and 25th defensive line.
Going through the volume alone won’t necessarily do the job. Burrow needs to be a more efficient passer in year two, and his advanced metrics as a rookie paint the picture of a quarterback who has shown signs of promise.
He was excellent in 1st year on casts up to 20 meters, ranking sixth in the PFF pass mark. Through Seth Galina from PFF, Burrow’s PFF passing score from a clean pocket, first / second down score, and negative pitching percentage have all ranked first in rookie quarterbacks since 2006.
These are the quarterback’s sticky metrics. Meanwhile, go deep – where Burrow wrestled the most in 2020 – tends to vary more from year to year.
Burrow’s on-target percentage (21%) ranked second in the league on aerial throws over 20 yards, and those plays resulted in a 58.0 rating for the passer. It was not all Burrow’s fault, as the targeting AJ Green Nuked his overall numbers. With Green out of the picture and replaced by the best deep threat in college football, Ja’Marr Chase, don’t be surprised to see Burrow’s deep ball improve dramatically in year two.
It was a Tough start for Burrow at training camp. TThe Bengals quarterback described his summer struggles as “mentalâMore than physical – that’s a bit to be expected for a QB who just had major knee surgery just nine months ago.
Don’t overreact and erase this Bengals offense – it’s essentially the AFC North’s version of the Dallas Cowboys. Fantasy editors are expected to buy the drop on Bengals players after lackluster summer reports. The most recent and low-key drumbeats outside the camp suggest Burrow and offense improve.
Joe Burrow said he wanted to feel comfortable in the pocket. It was one of the last stages of his pre-season recovery. Burrow, today: “We’re ready to go now.” pic.twitter.com/T77Zufj8R6
– Ben baby (@Ben_Baby) August 18, 2021
Still, there will inevitably be growing pains at the start of the regular season, which is why Burrow is not a draft-worthy quarterback in typical overhaul formats. – even though it falls to # 12 in my quarterback ranking. He will fight in the first three weeks against formidable defenses in the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bear and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Don’t lose confidence from the season’s point of view, and make sure to target it when it’s dropped on the waiver thread. In weeks 4-6, Burrow shoots absolute lay-ups against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Until then, expect Burrow and his company to be full blast.
The Bengals 25th offensive line poses potential problems, but they have taken the necessary steps to move closer to the bottom-five average in 2021. Jonas williams is solid, having earned the 12th best pass blocking rating on true passing sets in his first season in the NFL after missing 2019 with injury. The team added right tackle Riley reiff in free agency.
The weakness of the line is more on the inside, which has a greater influence on the running game than the passing game. The perception behind the Bengals of having an offensive line that will crush Burrow has been overstated due to his injury last year.
If anything, the offensive line will limit the Bengals’ ongoing attack. Still, running backs who see a cow bell volume level are the ultimate asset. Four running backs saw at least 300 hits in 2020, and they all finished in the top eight fantastic running backs. Joe Mixon would have been fifth on the list if he had remained healthy.
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