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Rapid Reaction: A.J. Green Franchised by Bengals (2020 Fantasy Football)

Mar 16, 2020

A.J. Green missed the entire 2019 season.

A.J. Green will be back in a Cincinnati Bengals uniform in 2020 – but he didn’t spend much time in one last season, and his latest significant injury has fantasy owners no doubt concerned entering this offseason. Here are our analysts’ thoughts on the Bengals franchising their enigmatic wide receiver:

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Q1. What is the fantasy football impact of A.J. Green remaining with the Bengals?

We knew this was expected with Green, though it’s now official. Him returning to an offense that had Auden Tate posting fantasy-relevant numbers on a weekly basis should be fun, especially when you consider he’ll have No. 1 pick Joe Burrow throwing his way. If Green comes back fully healthy, it’s not out of this world to believe he can be a top-12 fantasy receiver once again. Even better, you’re able to draft him as a WR3 according to early ADP. This is stealing.
-Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL)

Most appeared hopeful that A.J. Green would be on the move this off-season, perhaps to the Jets where he would be peppered with targets or to an offense with a Hall of Fame QB like Green Bay or New Orleans. Perhaps we will have both, however, in Cincy. It’s too early to call Joe Burrow a Hall of Fame QB, but he did just have the greatest season in NCAA history and he comes into an up-tempo offense that will be in shootouts all season long. Rather than having to learn a new offense, Green should thrive with Burrow in these fast-paced games, and let’s not make the mistake of assuming he’d see any fewer targets despite the presence of other quality wideouts.
-Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)

A.J. Green being franchise tagged by Cincinnati shouldn’t surprise us. With the Bengals in prime position to add Joe Burrow to the mix, they need to give him every weapon that they can. Whether Green chooses to play under the franchise tag is a totally different question…it’s a waiting game for fantasy football until we receive more clarity on that situation.
-Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL)

Not that this was all that surprising, but it’s a neutral or slightly positive move for Green. The Bengals’ system is one where wide receivers can certainly post fantasy-relevant numbers, and that should be especially true with Joe Burrow likely at the helm. Green’s talent is undeniable – it’s all about his health. If he is fully healthy, he’ll almost certainly provide strong WR2 numbers as his floor, with upside for more.
-Dan Harris (@danharris80)

Q2. Who else is impacted by Green’s signing from a fantasy perspective?

The signing of Green has a domino effect on the entire offense, as it limits the targets the other wide receivers can get. It has an extremely negative effect on Auden Tate, who’ll now have to wait to come onto the field until they run 4WR sets. Some may believe it negatively impacts Tyler Boyd, but that’s not the case. Boyd actually had better numbers with Green on the field in 2018.
-Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL)

It is always difficult to rank any rookie quarterback in the top 12 fantasy options unless they are a pure runner like Kyler Murray, Robert Griffin III or Cam Newton. Burrow can run the ball too, though, and he is a superior passer to all three. Keeping A.J. Green helps him enough to put him on the fringe of the top 12 QBs from the get-go. This does hurt Tyler Boyd and John Ross quite a bit, however, but should provide more red-zone opportunities for Joe Mixon.
-Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)

John Ross and Tyler Boyd are obviously impacted, but potentially in a positive way. Green commands defensive attention when he’s on the field, which only opens things up for Boyd and Ross. Dynasty owners of Boyd & Ross should be happy with this news and should be rooting for Green to play under the franchise tag in 2020.
-Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL)

Green’s presence will make Burrow a better fantasy option than he otherwise would have been, but it has a negative impact on Auden Tate, who had risen to borderline fantasy-relevance last year. Tate will likely be (justifiably) ignored in drafts now. Tyler Boyd shouldn’t see much of a change in value, as he’s shown he can have success even with Green on the field.
-Dan Harris (@danharris80)

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