The Duel

John Ross Injury Update Could Make Auden Tate a Fantasy Football Sleeper in Week 5 Against Cardinals

Jason Schandl
San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals
San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals /
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Week 4's "Monday Night Football" game against the Pittsburgh Steelers brought no shortage of problems for the Cincinnati Bengals. They looked terrible on both sides of the ball, giving up 24 points to a Mason Rudolph-led offense and scoring only three points of their own. Andy Dalton got beat up to the tune of eight sacks. And having an impact beyond just the one game, they've lost John Ross to a shoulder injury for the near future.

With A.J. Green also injured, Ross and Tyler Boyd had stepped up as the Bengals two top pass-catchers in 2019. Ross missing a month will be a huge blow to the offense.

Despite making an early exit on Monday, Ross still ranks ninth among all wideouts with 48.8 standard-scoring fantasy points in 2019. He has seen at least six targets in all four games, and his 32 targets overall are second on the team, only behind Boyd.

In his absence, Auden Tate will step up on the outside. Tate is third on the team with 18 targets this season, with six coming in Week 4. He played a season-high 91.3 percent of the Bengals' offensive snaps in that game, on the field for only one fewer than Boyd.

Tate may prove to be a downgrade from the former ninth-overall pick in the offense, but thanks in part to a terrific matchup, he could be a great replacement for fantasy football players, particularly in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cards play at the league's fastest pace and they're one of only two teams allowing double-digit adjusted yards per pass attempt (10.0) to opponents in 2019.

Tate doesn't have the pedigree or downfield ability of Ross and his record-setting 40-yard dash time, and he doesn't find himself in an especially encouraging offensive situation. Opportunity is king, though, and the Bengals' offense should provide him plenty of that, having attempted the NFL's fourth-most passes (166) through four games.

With a boost from his Week 5 matchup, Tate will have a good chance to turn that opportunity into production, making him an intriguing sleeper option on WR-needy fantasy teams.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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