The Cincinnati Bengals initially revealed the news that fans and many fantasy football owners had been waiting on. Star wide receiver A.J. Green was set to make his return to action in Week 10 against the Baltimore Ravens. The news came courtesy of Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, although it took a bit of a turn the very next day.
During Taylor’s recent press conference, he addressed Green’s status, who’ll also be catching passes from a new quarterback in rookie Ryan Finley when he returns from injury.
Finley is replacing recently-benched Andy Dalton, who’s dealt with his fair share of struggles while the Bengals are off to a brutal 0-8 start. Cincinnati is the only remaining winless team in the NFL after the Miami Dolphins knocked off the New York Jets in Week 9 to pick up their first victory.
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Update: A.J. Green Says He’s Unlikely to Play
In a surprising turn of events just one day after the comments made by Cincinnati’s head coach, Green admitted that it’s unlikely he’ll suit up in Week 10. According to The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., Green said his ankle is swollen and is “probably not” going to play.
This is a surprising shift, and makes Green’s fantasy outlook obviously get pushed back at least one week if he’s unable to go. With that said, the below information on his fantasy value will still apply once the wideout returns to action.
A.J. Green’s Fantasy Football Outlook in Week 10
While Green has been a near-lock to start for most fantasy players in previous seasons, he makes his return in an interesting spot. Green and Dalton, who’s thrown for 2,252 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, have built a strong rapport over the years, but the star wideout will now link up with the 2019 fourth-round draft pick.
Finley has never seen action in a regular-season NFL game, although he had a successful collegiate career and showed flashes of legitimate upside during the preseason. Through three games played this preseason, the 24-year-old signal-caller completed 73.4 percent of his passes for 414 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Green’s upside will only benefit Finley, assuming the two are able to connect early and often. The rookie quarterback played at both Boise State and North Carolina State, seeing the bulk of his action with the latter. During three seasons with NC State, he completed 64.5 percent of his passes while tallying 10,501 yards with 60 touchdowns and threw just 25 interceptions.
Is A.J. Green a Fantasy Start or Sit in Week 10?
Considering Green is a top-tier wideout when healthy and most fantasy owners have likely held him for the past nine weeks in anticipation of this game, the start-sit debate isn’t a tough one. The Bengals star has topped 1,000 yards in all but two seasons of his career, and only played 10 and nine games in those two years due to injury.
At age 31, there may be some concern over Green’s ability to continue to dominate and play at an exceptionally high level, but he hasn’t shown signs of a drop-off when on the field. Beyond that, while the Ravens boast a solid defense, they haven’t excelled against opposing wideouts this season, at least not from a fantasy perspective.
As Yahoo Sports details, the Ravens rank No. 13 overall in terms of most fantasy points allowed per game at 30.55. They’ve allowed an average of 193.4 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game. They’ve done a fine job keeping receivers out of the end zone, but the door appears to be wide open for Green to have a big stat line and tally plenty of catches, assuming he and Finley click early.
I’d start Green as usual in fantasy leagues and do so with cautious optimism that he’ll be able to top the 100-yard mark.