The Duel

John Ross Injury Update Could Limit Tyler Boyd Fantasy Outlook in Week 14

Zach Brunner
John Ross scores a touchdown in Week 2 against the 49ers.
John Ross scores a touchdown in Week 2 against the 49ers. / Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There has not been much to like about the Cincinnati Bengals in either real or fantasy football this season. But after Andy Dalton returned to the lineup to deliver the team it's first win last week, this passing game is once again relevant in the fantasy football world.

They get another weapon back this week, with speedster John Ross returning from IR. This adds to the offense's upside, but could hurt the fantasy outlook of top WR Tyler Boyd.

Widely considered a bust before the season began, Ross showcased the skills that made him the ninth-overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft during the first couple weeks of his third season. He grabbed 11 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns during the first two weeks, then cooled off afterwards, but still saw six targets in each of the next two games. He was averaging 16.2 PPR fantasy points per game.

An injury sent him to IR following Week 4, leaving room for other wide receivers to step up. Auden Tate has averaged 7.4 targets and 55.6 yards in Ross' absence, while Alex Erickson has averaged 6.3 targets and 49.3 yards over his past seven games.

Ross' return will be a huge blow to both Tate and Erickson, who lose all of their value for the fantasy football playoffs.

Boyd accounted for 23 percent of the Bengals' targets and 26 percent of the air yards (compared to 19 percent and 35 percent for Ross) in those first four weeks, which is only slightly below the 25 percent target share and matches the 26 percent air yard share he's seen from Weeks 5 through 13. A slight drop in targets does hurt his outlook, but it doesn't at all take him out of the conversation as a viable fantasy starter.

Accounting for Ross' return, Boyd is ranked as WR31 in our Week 14 PPR rankings, thanks in part to a downgrade against the Cleveland Browns, who have held opposing wideouts to bottom-12 PPR production. No other Bengals pass-catcher cracks the top 36 at WR for the week.

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