Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd Start/Sit Week 16: Can You Start Either Bengals WR vs. the Steelers?

Ja’Marr Chase's injury opens the door for other Bengals WRs to take advantage. Can you start Tee Higgins or Tyler Boyd in Week 16?

With the loss of QB Joe Burrow earlier this season, fantasy football managers began to mourn the fantasy goodness of the Cincinnati Bengals’ WRs. Without the talent of Burrow on the field, most of the Cincinnati weapons were expected to take a hit, even the superstar Ja’Marr Chase.

Things went from bad to worse for Chase when he went down at the end of Week 15 in the game against the Minnesota Vikings. He left the game and quickly appeared on the sidelines in street clothes, and fantasy managers worried that they may have lost him. Chase’s status remains uncertain, but at this point, it looks like he might miss this week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday.

If Chase misses the game, the other Bengals WRs will see an uptick in targets, but that doesn’t automatically make them startable in fantasy. Can you start Tee Higgins or Tyler Boyd in fantasy this week?

Should You Start Tee Higgins in Fantasy This Week?

Being a Higgins manager this year has been tough. He had a horrendous Week 1 but got your hopes up with a WR3 finish in Week 2 of the regular season.

Then it became bad, with games missed due to injury punctuated by a good game. He has steadily improved in the last three matchups, finishing as the WR7 in Week 15 against Minnesota.

Higgins is a scary start if Chase plays, even in a decent matchup against the Steelers — he can always break your heart again — but if Chase is sidelined, the conversation changes. Higgins slides right into the WR1 position in Cincinnati, and we all know he has the talent to make that big play; we all saw him contort his body last week to get the ball over that line.

Last week, Higgins played 87% of the snaps and caught four of his eight targets for 61 yards and two TDs. He is the WR21 in PFN’s Consensus Rankings this week, and if he is on your team, I think you need to start him; he should at least return WR2-caliber numbers against a Steelers team that looks to be falling apart at the seams.

Should You Start Tyler Boyd in Fantasy This Week?

With Higgins’ anticipated ascension with Chase out, the same happens for Boyd. Boyd rises up the pecking order, but that does not make him a must-start in fantasy this week. He is the WR66 in PFN’s Consensus Rankings this week and is more of a dart throw in a deeper league format.

Boyd has only had three games this season where he has finished as the WR25 or better, and none of them were last week when the team lost Chase at the end of the game. I do expect Boyd to be targeted more with Chase missing time, but he has only had one game this season with double-digit targets.

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In the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer, PFN’s Consensus Rankings say that Higgins is the player to start. His projected 11.5 points include a projection of 54.7 receiving yards on 3.8 receptions. This outperforms the projection for Boyd. Boyd is projected to have 6.2 fantasy points on 2.2 receptions and 28.7 receiving yards.

My ranking for the two Bengals WRs aligns with the consensus. Higgins has shown the ability to step up when called upon, and Boyd just really has never been able to demonstrate it. If you are deciding between the two Bengals on Saturday, Higgins is the one that should go in your starting lineup.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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