Alex Erickson Fantasy: Start or Sit Bengals WR in Week 10?

Getty Alex Erickson of the Cincinnati Bengals

Week 10 was lining up to be Cincinnati Bengals‘ star wideout AJ Green’s 2019 season debut. However, after suffering a setback on his injured ankle earlier this week in practice, not only will we not be seeing Green take the field this Sunday, chances are we won’t see him in a team’s lineup until the start of the 2020 NFL season.

Despite the non-availability of Green this week, Cincinnati wide receivers have still garnered plenty of fantasy football attention. The key cog piquing fantasy owners’ interest? That would be little-known four-year pro, Alex Erickson.

Can the former undrafted pass-catcher continue his productive play this week despite a change at quarterback along with a matchup against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens? Let’s discuss.

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Alex Erickson’s Fantasy Outlook vs. Baltimore Ravens

From Week 1 through Week 5 of this season, Alex Erickson was virtually non-existant within the Bengals offense. Over that time span, the former Wisconson Badger averaged just 1.4 receptions and a meager 12.2 receiving yards per game while playing no more than 15 snaps in any contest.

However, following Week 5 the Bengals decided to make a shift in their receiving pecking order, having Erickson supplanting fellow wideout Damion Willis in three-receiver sets. From that point on Erickson has played an average of 55+ snaps per game. Since placing added faith on their wideout, Erickson has rewarded the Bengals with stellar production.

Erickson has averaged an impressive six receptions for 93 receiving yards over his last three games. Those numbers become even more eye-popping when you take into consideration just his two most recent performances. From Week 7 through Week 8 Erickson has averaged seven receptions, for 117 receiving yards and 18.6 fantasy points. That scoring output is good enough to make him the ninth-highest scoring fantasy player at his position over that time.

While he has played phenomenal of late, it is important to not just approach Alex Erickson’s fantasy outlook with a cup half-full approach. For starters, no matter how well Erickson plays, he is entrenched as the WR3 within the Bengals offense. Neither Tyler Boyd nor Auden Tate has played less than 90% of the team’s offensive snaps since Week 3, and they are without a doubt the team’s top two receiving targets out wide.

Secondly, we have to discuss the quarterback change in Cinci. For all the flack Andy Dalton has received over the years, most of which is deserved, he still managed to produce the ninth-most passing yards on a per-game basis this season. While Ryan Finley may end up proving to be an upgrade over Dalton, it’s highly unlikely that Zac Taylor puts the ball in the hands of his rookie signal-caller as much as he had with Dalton earlier this season. The Red Rifle totaled the third-most pass attempts on the year prior to his benching.

With all that being said, a matchup with the Baltimore Ravens has to surely pique Erickson’s fantasy owners’ interest. Baltimore has surrendered the 13th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. They’re also coming off a game where they allowed not one, but two wideouts to accumulate 10 receptions and 80+ receiving yards.

Receivers to have hauled in six-plus receptions against Baltimore this season average an impressive 16.68 fantasy points. Erickson has caught at least six passes in three consecutive games.

Should You Start or Sit Alex Erickson in Week 10?

Erickson’s fantasy value weighs heavily on the type of scoring format your league operates on. If you’re in a standard scoring league, Erickson is likely still in the WR4 range. The unknown at quarterback lessens the likelihood that he will rack up yards in bunches, or find his way into the endzone.

However, in PPR leagues, Erickson has worked his way firmly into the WR3 conversation. He has some slight bust potential simply because we don’t know the type of player Finley will be. Yet, Erickson has cemented his role within this offense, and if Finley and the Bengals play callers are smart, they’ll lean heavily on arguably the most QB-friendly option they have at their disposal.

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